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Favorite Football Players from Rocky Mountain Area 2023-2024

Over the 2023 season I was able to attend many different games spanning across the Rocky Mountain Region. I got a good look at numerous PAC-12, Mountain-West, and a couple of RMAC school’s. Below I have put together a list of which players stood out most to me from the games I attended.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOOTBALL PLAYERS!

Favorite Football Players from Rocky Mountain Area 2023-2024
Favorite Football Players from Rocky Mountain Area 2023-2024

20. Nolan Reeve, EDGE, Colorado School of Mines

2023-2024: 15 GP, 15 GS, 64 TKL, 13.5 TFL, 10.0 SK, 4 FF, 2 FR, 1 TD

Games Attended: COSO, SDAU

Reeve is a wiry 220 lb EDGE defender that brings a great tenacity to his different pass rush techniques. His ability to time the snap consistently and maintain good leverage when bending the edge allows him to reach the QB often. In 2023 he was a consensus D-II All-American, earning himself the RMAC defensive player of the year and a finalist spot the Cliff Harris Award (D-II’s top defensive player).

19. Cole Godbout, DT, Wyoming 

2023-2024: 13 GP, 43 TKL, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 SK, 1 INT

Games Attended: CAFR 

Godbout is an impressive athlete on the interior, he plays with a very good motor and effective gap integrity to help create run stops. He uses his initial quickness in his pass rush plan to generate power on the inside. Won the game for the Cowboys when I was in attendance, he had a game sealing INT on the final drive vs a ranked Fresno State team.  

18. John Lee Eldridge III, RB, Air Force

2023-2024: 13 GP, 84 ATT, 599 yds, 7.1 Y/A, 6 TD, 7 REC, 39 yds, 5.6  Y/R, 1 TD 

Games Attended: UTST, CASS  

Eldridge primarily played the wingback role of the Falcon’s triple option offense. His keys to his success were his contact balance and his ability to make people miss in the open field utilizing different moves in space. He has shown to have effective COD in his jukes, spins,and can win by hurdling or breaking tackles with his upper body arm strength. Above-average FBI is shown when he is in space keying in on pursuing defenders.

17. Easton Gibbs, ILB, Wyoming 

2023-2024: 13 GP, 13 GS, 109 TKL, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 SK, 6 PBU, 1 INT

  Games Attended: CAFR

Gibbs plays with a very aggressive style, he is consistently around the ball and has excellent FBI. He is above-average as a coverage ILB. It is clear he understands how to take away short/intermediate throws by inserting himself in advantageous situations from his drop. 

16. Chigozie Anusiem, CB, Colorado State

2023-2024: 11 GP, 11 GS, 57 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 INT

Games Attended: WAST, COUN, IDBO

Anusiem is a lengthy boundary corner that fits best in a cover 3 scheme where he can keep his eyes and hips towards the QB. He is able to make plays when he can play reactive off the WR’s hips and the eyes of the QB. His length is a huge plus when playing through the WR’s hands for pass breakups. Earned multiple all-star game invites for his past couple seasons of play.

15. Taylor Upshaw, EDGE, Arizona

2023-2024: 13 GP, 13 GS, 31 TKL, 11.5 TFL, 8.5 SK

Games Attended: COUN, Hula Bowl 

Upshaw has an impressive power rushing profile. He brings solid UOH and an explosive get-off to his pass rush plan. Creates consistent pressures when he can convert speed to power, utilizing solid leverage when he gains access to his matchups chest. 

14. Frank Crum, OT, Wyoming

2023-2024: 12 GP, 12 GS

Games Attended: CAFR, Hula Bowl 

Crum is a third generation of cowboy players, he has a very impressive frame standing at 6’7”, 313 lbs, and has 34” arms. Moves well at his size, he has shown he can execute various blocks in both gap and zone run schemes. He has tools that NFL scouts like and there is plenty of room for improvement in pass protection. 

13. John Matocha, QB, Colorado School of Mines

2023-2024: 15 GP, 15 GS, 71% CMP, 4,298 yds, 43 TD, 7 INT, 106 ATT, 449 yds, 5 TD

Games Attended: COSO, SDAU

Matocha is a 2x Harlon Hill Award finalist and the 2022 trophy winner. One of the most decorated careers in all of college football, he has the most total TD’s for any player at any college level. The lifeline of an orediggers team that has been competing for National Titles since he arrived on campus. 

12. Michael Wiley, RB, Arizona

2023-2024: 10 GP, 7 GS, 70 ATT, 311 yds, 4.4 Y/A, 3 TD, 28 REC, 306 yds, 10.9 Y/R, 5 TD

Games Attended: COUN, Hula Bowl 

Wiley is a true dual threat, he was a massive part of Arizona’s late-season push. Good at solving problems in space using COD to make people miss and has solid 2nd level vision. He had a great week of practice at The Hula Bowl as well earning himself a Senior Bowl Invite in the process. 

11. Chau Smith-Wade, CB, Washington State 

2023-2024: 7 GP, 35 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 6 PBU

Games Attended: COST

Smith-Wade is a boundary CB that works best in single high schemes. He has great recovery speed and is fluid with his movements to get in a position where he can make a play on the ball. Good hands for the position, very capable of making a game changing play for your defense. 

10. Xavier Weaver, WR, Colorado 

2023-2024: 68 REC, 908 yds, 13.4 Y/R, 4 TD, 2 ATT, 15 yds, 2 TD

Games Attended: NEUN, COST, AZUN

Weaver started at X WR, he displays above-average COD that allows him to create separation. He is an acrobat in the air and has a very large catch radius for his undersized frame. He currently is a little under the radar, hopefully he can boost his stock at the NFL combine. I do expect him to make an NFL camp and have success. 

9. Levelle Bailey, ILB, Fresno State 

2023-2024: 13 GP, 13 GS, 82 TKL, 5.0 TFL, 2.5 SK, 3 INT, 5 PBU 

Games Attended: WYUN, Hula Bowl 

Bailey is very impressive in coverage, he excels at putting himself in position to win by being more physical at the target point than his matchup and playing through the offensive players hands with good timing. He stood out in Orlando at the Hula Bowl, consistently winning 1v1’s in space vs RB/TE’s. 

8. Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado 

2023-2024: 11 GP, 11 GS, 69.3% CMP, 3,230 yds, 7.5 Y/A, 27 TD, 3 INT

Games Attended: NEUN, COST, AZUN

Sanders is one of the nations most accurate passers, he is very good playing with anticipation and putting the ball where he needs to in the short/intermediate areas of the field. He has shown he is effective playing off script and moving outside of the pocket as well. Terrific poise, can improve on how quickly he is releasing the ball, likes to try and wait for his WR’s to get open or make home run play. 

7. Dallin Holker, TE, Colorado State

2023-2024: 12 GP, 64 REC, 767 yds, 12.0 Y/R, 6 TD

Games Attended: WAST, COUN, IDBO

Holker was a very versatile piece of the Rams offense in 2023. He can play in-line as well as being split out, he has tremendous hands and an above-average ability to adjust to ball’s thrown in any direction. He is a little undersized, relying on his length and hand dexterity to stalemate defenders in the run game. 

6. Jacob Cowing, WR, Arizona

2023-2024: 13 GP, 12 GS, 90 REC, 848 yds, 9.4 Y/A, 13 TD 

Games Attended: COUN 

Cowing is a twitchy route runner that can stretch the field vertically and be an extension of the run game as an RPO or sweep option. An explosive athlete who can provide value on special teams as a return man. Primarily aligning in the slot, he displays solid mental processing vs zone coverage, identifying soft spots over the middle.  

5. Trey Taylor, FS, Air Force 

2023-2024: 13 GP, 13 GS, 74 TKL, 5.0 TFL, 0.5 SK, 3 INT, 4 PBU, 1 TD

Games Attended: UTST, CASS

Taylor was one of the most prolific DB’s in the country  and was recognized as one in 2023, winning the Jim Thorpe award. He is a very versatile defender, can execute man coverage vs most offensive players and has above-average instincts as a zone defender. Tremendous when asked to blitz, he created big plays on a regular basis for Air Force by putting pressure on the QB. 

4. Mohamed Kamara, EDGE, Colorado State 

2023-2024: 12 GP, 56 TKL, 17.0 TFL, 13.0 SK, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD

Games Attended: WAST, COUN, IDBO

Kamara was leading all of FBS in sacks for a good chunk of the 2023 season. Can win as a pass rusher using speed and power. He has a very good get-off that allows him to get into a position where he can win with good bend. Above-average UOH when clearing himself from his matchup, gets to a position where he can consistently get the QB to the ground. Solid run defender, he can set the edge on play side and has very good pursuit when chasing plays down from the backside. 

3. Max McLeod, WR, Colorado School of Mines 

2023-2024: 15 GP, 15 GS, 115 REC, 1,656 yds, 16 TD, 14.4 Y/R

Games Attended: COSO, SDAU

McLeod is building an incredible resume with over 3,000 receiving yards over the past two seasons. He  finds success by setting up DB’s with an excellent release, creating separation early for his QB. Elite sitting in soft spots over the middle and creating YAC off of it, a very smart player that identifies coverage quickly. Dynamic in the screen game, he has good vision getting north and south quickly. Excited to see what happens with him in the 2025 draft process. 

2. Tory Horton, WR, Colorado State

2023-2024: 12 GP, 96 REC, 1,136 yds, 11.8 Y/R, 8 TD

Games Attended: WAST, COUN, IDBO

Horton is a 2x All-MWC 1st team WR with over 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons. He boasts a slim, wiry frame with good AA. He is excellent at tracking the football and timing his jumps at the target point, using his frame to adjust vs smaller DB’s. Great after the catch, smoothly transitions from runner to receiver and can make people miss in open space with different maneuvers. 

1. Travis Hunter, WR, Colorado

2023-2024: 9 GP, 9 GS, 30 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 3 INT, 5 PBU, 57 REC, 721 yds, 12.6 Y/A, 5 TD

Games Attended: NEUN, COST, AZUN

Hunter is elite on both sides of the ball. He has a very good feel in zone coverage, possessing an innate ability to bail on his responsibilities to make a play on the ball. Elite closing speed and range allows him to get into a position to make impactful plays. He has an unmatched competitive toughness and stamina that allows him to play 100+ snaps on a regular basis. 

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