The mass exodus that hit the Colorado Buffaloes and Coach Prime now seems to be in the deep distance of the rearview, as almost every position group on the team appears to be more loaded with talent than they’ve been in decades.

One position where that isn’t the case, yet, is running back, though that could all change this week with Alton McCaskill IV — a highly touted back currently visiting the University of Colorado campus.

As it stands now, it’s one of just two positions on the CU roster where a member of the Karl Dorrell Buffs is projected to retain their starting job.

Now, some of that is the result of Anthony Hankerson looking the part, and performing well throughout spring ball, but he’s been far from irreplaceable. Freshman addition Dylan Edwards and transfer signing Kavosiey Smoke will likely battle with Hankerson all season and have impressive resumes of their own already, so the position’s in good shape, but it also doesn’t have a bonafide star yet.

Meanwhile, throughout the wide receiver corps and at the starting quarterback position, Coach Prime has star-level talent to work with.

Enter McCaskill, a decorated running back transfer from the University of Houston.

McCaskill missed the entire 2022 campaign after tearing his ACL in the spring, but he was one of the NCAA’s most dominant running backs in 2021 (his true freshman season) and will be 17 months removed from the injury by the time he suits up for 2023, so he should be ready to roll.

The last time we saw him, he led all FBS freshmen with 16 rushing touchdowns, on his way to being named the American Athletic Conference’s Freshman of the Year and making second-team all-conference.

McCaskill is such an effective back because of his rare blend of patience, contact balance, and impressive acceleration skills.

When he receives the handoff, he will stutter his feet a little as he calmly surveils the line for vulnerabilities. Then, the moment he finds the crease he wants, he drives his foot into the ground and bursts into the second level of the defense. At this point, the combination of McCaskill’s excellent short-area quickness and stout frame often creates too much force for second-level defenders to work with.

He pinballs between linebackers and safeties, before finally breaking into open space.

Second-level defenders are a joke to him.

It was a formula the Houston Cougars watched McCaskill repeat all too frequently, and it was tremendously impressive.

He doesn’t have the top speed to compete with Dylan Edwards, but he effortlessly bites off chunks of 10 yards at a time. In fact, in his lone season, McCaskill tallied 29 carries of at least 10 yards or more.

That skill set makes him a very appealing fit in the Colorado Buffaloes’ new-look offense under Coach Prime.

Offensive Coordinator Sean Lewis’ attack is built on spacing. You will see the Buffs consistently attack deep down the field and look to maximize how far they can spread the defense out on almost every play.

As a result, CU should face some very light boxes more often than not, and that’s perfect for McCaskill. Light boxes will open up more running lanes for him to run through than what he was used to at Houston, and it’ll mean there are fewer second-level defenders for the former Cougar to evade in order to create his explosive runs.

He averaged more than five yards per carry during his time at Houston, making him wildly efficient, but in Colorado’s offense, that average should continue to climb.

Lastly, McCaskill has natural hands and has proven to be an effective pass-catching option, which will also be a necessity in Sean Lewis’ offense.

If Coach Prime can secure a commitment from Alton McCaskill, the Colorado Buffaloes will be favored to be one of college football’s 15 best offenses next season, by giving the Buffs a devastating ground attack to pair with their dizzying aerial assault.