Early signing day tracker: Rams sign 15 for 2019 class

Mike Bobo on the phone with recruits from the Rams
Mike Bobo on the phone with recruits from the Rams "War Room" on Wednesday. Credit: Colorado State Athletics.

Colorado State Rams football, under Mike Bobo, has always been about great recruiting.

Bobo and his fellow staff members have continually upped their game in terms of recruiting, seemingly every year, filling voids and needs as he goes forward. Without a doubt, the talent was there in 2018, but, a great influx of new coaches combined with Bobo’s health issues led to one of the worst seasons for CSU football in many years.

Still, the Rams are poised to bounce back in 2019 thanks to some dynamic, dynamite players they’ve been able to bring in today, during the early signing period.

Yes, some fans were worried about the lack of commitments leading up to today, but Bobo and Co. not only signed key, big-named players, they also signed some surprises as well.

Let’s take a look at the list:

Defense

Keevan Bailey, CB, Conyers, GA: Bailey’s probably the biggest name of any of the signees, given that he’s the son of Champ Bailey, the should-be, first-ballot Hall of Famer who played for the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. Champ Bailey played with Mike Bobo at Georgia, likely helping the Rams sign him. Keevan Bailey played both cornerback and free safety on the defensive side, and as a senior, specialized as a safety. He enjoyed seven interceptions last year alone, is a real ball-hawk who likes to hit and will likely have a chance to start immediately. He was supposed to be waiting until February to sign, which could have turned into him being stolen away by a power-5 team like Tennessee, Minnesota or more, so signing him now is huge for CSU. Read more on Bailey.

Brandon Crossley, CB, Little Elm, TX: As you can see, the Rams made a concerted effort to bulk up the defensive backfield, which has been a weakness in Fort Collins for many years. Crossley is one of four cornerbacks in this class, and he’s the highest-rated recruit of this class according to 24/7 sports (.8674). Crossley, regarded as a 4-star cornerback, flipped from SMU to Colorado State and was also a basketball and track star in high school. According to his Hudl page, he runs a 4.4 40-yard dash — speed CSU needs — and his highlight tape shows his high football IQ.

Xavier Goldsmith, CB, Detroit, MI: Goldsmith committed to CSU way back in January and he followed through today by signing.

Andre Neal, CB, JUCO, CA: Andre Neal is one of those surprises that Bobo likes to land on signing day, and he’s a JUCO signee, meaning he has some experience that may help him find playing time in 2019. His Hudl page lists his speed as 4.44 40-yard dash; it’s another sign the Rams are looking for speed, which they’ve lacked.

Caleb Blake, S, Orlando, FL: Blake is another surprise signing, and at 6’1″, he’s got the size to go against taller receivers. In fact, while he played mostly cornerback, he’s listed as a safety for the Rams on CSURams.com.

Aiden Cullen, SDE, Monument, CO: Cullen is a beastly, home-state star that could impact the Rams defense rapidly. At 6’5″ and 245 pounds, he’s big enough to play as a true freshman and help the Rams get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which was a weakness in 2018. Cullen racked up 88 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks as a senior this year.

Cian Quiroga, WDE, Littleton, CO: The Rams kept it in-state again with Quiroga, a 6’2″ 210-pound defensive end who enjoyed even better production in terms of TFLs (23) and sacks (12) than Cullen. Each of them will be battling for playing time and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see each of them play in 2019. Quiroga may end up being moved to linebacker, too.

Offense

T.J. Storment, OT, JUCO, NC: The Rams addressed their needy offensive line with two junior college signees, guys who will be expected to play right when they step foot on campus. Storment is a massive 6’7″ and 314 pounds, the prototypical size for a tackle and should be an instant improvement for the Colorado State offensive line on the edge.

Desmond Noel, OG, JUCO, KS: Noel, like Storment, is huge. At 6’4″ and 310 pounds, he’s got the beef to road grade opposing defensive linemen and open up holes in the run game. Noel was originally at the University of OH, then kicked off the program due to an arrest at 18-years-old, and has been playing at a JUCO for two years. Read more about Noel.

Alex Azusenis, OT, Oletangy, OH: Azusenis is 6’6″ and 290 pounds as a freshman, perfect to protect either Collin Hill or Patrick O’Brien in 2019.

Nate Craig-Myers, WR, Auburn: Outside of Bailey and Crossley, maybe the biggest name on this list is Craig-Myers. He was originally an Auburn player, signing with them in 2016. And, even though he played three games with the Tigers of the SEC in 2018, he will take advantage of the new transfer rule — in which players can play four games and still redshirt — meaning he’ll be immediately available in 2019, as Ryan Krous said here. Craig-Myers is another in a long line of transfers, bringing up warm thoughts of Preston Williams’ ability to completely dominate last year after transferring from the SEC. He’s 6’2″ and 205 pounds, that perfect size to be a No. 1 receiver in the FBS. Expect to see him as the No. 1 receiver, with Warren Jackson at No. 2 and possibly Nikko Hall in the slot for the Rams this year.

Jaylen Hearst, WR, Keller, TX: And don’t sleep on Hearst’s possibility earning playing time, either. He’s 6′ and 180 pounds and also had offers from Georgia and Illinois, among others.

Kyle Helbig, TE, Broomfield, CO: Finally, Helbig rounds out the early signing class (for now) and is the third Colorado player to be signed. He played both football and basketball at Holy Family, and totaled 404 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior through the air.

Dante Wright, WR, Navarre, FL: Wright became the 14th member of the class at 12:49 p.m. MT. He’s a 5’10” 165 pound freshman out of Florida. He enjoyed 40 receptions for 852 yards and 8 TDs as a senior.

Ty McCullouch, WR, Moreno Valley, CA: McCullouch becomes the 15th and likely final member of the early signing day class for Colorado State. He enjoyed a wonderful 64 receptions for 1,235 yards and 21 touchdowns last season as a senior, and the 6′ receiver’s Hudl page says he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash.

We’ll update the list if and when the Rams sign any more players during this early signing period, with the National Signing Day coming in February, per usual.

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