CSU Rams football signs 34 on early signing day – The Denver Post

Christmas came a few days early for Colorado State head football coach Jay Norvell and his staff.

Wednesday, 34 high school recruits and transfers signed letters of intent to join the Rams next season as CSU begins the project of filling the voids left by graduates and players who left the team either during the season or after via the transfer portal.

That portal produced eight of the Rams’ signees Wednesday. The other 26 are high school players who will be freshmen at CSU in the fall. Thirteen of the players plan to enroll early and can participate in the team’s spring practices.

“We just finished a season that’s not our standards,” Norvell said. “It wasn’t up to our standards and there’s a lot of things that we need to do to get better and improve. We played the bulk of the conference schedule with 59 scholarship players, very short-handed, wasn’t able to practice the way we wanted to. We went into this recruiting season really with a very big job ahead of us.”

Wednesday’s signing class includes players from 17 different states, including seven from California, seven from Texas and three from Illinois. Norvell and his staff also kept three players from having to leave the state in wide receiver Silas Evans from George Washington, offensive lineman Tanner Morley from Valor Christian and defensive lineman Javion Smith-Combs from Cherry Creek.

Norvell felt it was important to recruit Colorado in addition to scouring the country from coast to coast to find the right pieces for his team.

“It’s so important,” Norvell said. “And these are three dynamic players. I love Silas Evans. We go all over the country looking for a wide receiver like him. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s dynamic. Tanner Morley, a big, giant offensive lineman and Javion Smith-Combs has long arms, big hands, helped win a state championship at Cherry Creek. These three, they have a championship pedigree, and they are in-state players.”

Several recruiting services have called the CSU class the best in the Mountain West Conference and the jewel of the class could turn out to be running back Damian Henderson, an ESPN four-star recruit out of Los Alamitos Calif.

A three-sport athlete in high school, Henderson rushed for 1,744 yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior season.

“He’s a home-run threat,” Norvell said of Henderson. “He had multiple plus-200-yard games, really can play anywhere on the field. He has such versatile talents. He’s a very fast kid, but just super dynamic and we are really excited about adding a guy like him to our offense.”

More than half the class (18) are offensive players while the other 16 are defensive players. Of the offensive players, seven are lineman, a position the team needed to address after all the injuries to the unit last season. They also signed one quarterback, two running backs and five wide receivers.

But the group Norvell is most excited about is a trio of tight ends who signed. All three are 6-foot-5 or taller and will be counted on with the loss of starter Tanner Arkin to the transfer portal.

“The tight ends that we brought in is the best crop of tight ends I’ve ever had in my career,” Norvell said. “They’re all tall, they’re long, they’re athletic. They’re threats as receivers.”

On the defensive side, the class includes five linemen, three linebackers, four cornerbacks and four safeties.

Norvell is excited about the class, which is his first with a full recruiting cycle to work with and is looking forward to getting them on campus and beginning to work toward next season.

“It’s like Christmas for coaches when we have signing day because we get to add to our team,” he said. “We are very excited to add these 34 guys. It’s so much fun to coach when you have talented guys, and you can do things with them. It’s exciting. It really is exciting.”

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