1. Livingston Paogofie, DL
The 6’1″ 270lb senior from Arlington, Texas hasn’t lit up the defensive stat sheet, amassing just 34 tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles, during his time in Fort Collins. But he brings consistent effort to the practice field and to the field on game day.
Paogofie won’t ever be the flashy player along the defensive line. He’s going to be that grinder who does the dirty work individually, so the team can claim the reward. His work ethic is what places him on this list and this is something that can’t be measured. Even if his impact isn’t immediate to the eye, watch for Paogofie this season to see a player that does what needs to be done.
2. Mohamed Kamara, LB
The sophomore from Newark, N.J. makes this list based on his potential. The previous coaching regime saw enough in the true freshman to hand him four starts in the Rams final seven games last season. His single-game high was six tackles twice, once against San Diego state and again versus Air Force, where he also had a fumble return for a touchdown.
The reps Kamara earned as a freshman will prove beneficial. Both of the Rams presumed starters, Cam’ron Carter and Dequan Jackson, both earned playing time as true freshman and they have grown into the players they are today. If Kamara can learn from those two, as they did from Tre Thomas and Josh Watson, then he can become a great linebacker for CSU.
3. Keevan Bailey, CB
The son of the legendary Champ Bailey. Keevan however would prefer to make his own legacy and not live off the name of his father. He got off to pretty good start last season. In eight games, including one start, Bailey amassed 20 tackles, a sack, and an interception.
This season Bailey is expected to take on a bigger role. Rashad Ajayi and Marshaun Cameron are expected to be the starters, but Bailey won’t give up without a fight. With the departure of Brandon Crossley (transferred to SMU), Bailey will see more playing time, including in nickel packages and as a regular part of the rotation.