Colorado Buffaloes’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter

    Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes made noise again this offseason, and their top 10 returning players might have them in a better spot now.

    Even though some of the hype died for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2023, there’s still plenty of intrigue around the program heading into the new season. Deion Sanders continued revamping the roster, though there’s a little more continuity heading into 2024.

    At the top, things look promising, though roster depth remains the biggest question. Who are the top 10 players returning to Colorado for the 2024 college football campaign?

    Colorado Buffaloes Top 10 Returners 2024

    10) Chidozie Nwankwo, DT

    The Houston transfer isn’t going to light up a box score, but it’s the little things he does well that make him an asset. Chidozie Nwankwo is on the shorter side of what you want in a defensive tackle, but he uses that to his advantage.

    He’s incredibly strong and understands how to use leverage with that strength. He also brings plenty of explosiveness in his hands and first step, which should upgrade the Colorado defensive line this year.

    9) Dylan Edwards, RB

    We saw glimpses of Dylan Edwards’ abilities last fall, specifically in the TCU game, where he totaled 159 yards and four touchdowns. His production decreased as the season went on, and he’s back to a “prove it” level with guys like Alton McCaskill waiting.

    Edwards’ frame makes him a good fit in Colorado’s offense, but he doesn’t quite have the size to endure life in the trenches. Sean Lewis’ departure could also affect his role, but the talent level is hard to ignore. Edwards is a home run threat, but he might have to be more efficient with his touches in 2024.

    8) Jimmy Horn Jr., WR

    Pat Shurmur will be under a microscope in 2024 from many different angles. Fortunately for him, there’s plenty of talent to utilize. One big question is what Jimmy Horn Jr.’s role will be in the offense. The USF transfer was supposed to play a significant role in the last fall, but had stretches of inconsistent play.

    Despite those concerns, Horn finished as one of the top three receivers on the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He has the ability to be explosive in this offense, and he returns a ton of experience to an offense looking for depth behind him.

    7) Will Sheppard, WR

    Will Sheppard joins an offense that should provide support for the first time in his career. He brings 152 catches, 2,067 yards, and 21 touchdowns with him from Vanderbilt, and now joins an offense that could help him produce his first 1,000-yard season.

    Sheppard is a bigger receiver who can use his experience to help the younger talent around him. Playing in the SEC required him to focus on the details of his game, which will help him thrive in the Big 12 and pass down knowledge to the younger guys.

    6) Chamon Metayer, TE

    If Chamon Metayer puts it all together, watch out. He signed with Cincinnati out of high school as a defensive player but transitioned to tight end in college. He’s still learning the position, but the raw tools make him an intriguing player.

    MORE: 2024 Big 12 Power Rankings

    We’ve seen glimpses of his abilities. His acceleration and athleticism jump out right away on film, and he appeared more comfortable running routes and catching passes towards the end of the year. This offense should give him more opportunities to display his growth, and that would make him one of the best tight ends in the country.

    5) Omarion Miller, WR

    Let’s start with this: Omarion Miller has work to do if he wants to justify this ranking. However, he’s shown a glimpse of his ceiling, and that ceiling is high, folks. If he can channel his performance in the USC game into an entire season, the Colorado wide receiver will be a major problem for the Big 12.

    Miller only produced 11 catches for 234 yards and one touchdown last year, but the game against USC saw him catch seven passes for 196 yards and one score. He looked strong as a route runner and at the catch point, and the explosiveness also jumped out. If he can do that for an entire year, the Buffs passing attack will be a nightmare to stop.

    4) BJ Green, DT

    Originally committed to Washington out of the transfer portal this offseason, BJ Green changed his mind and headed to Boulder. The former Arizona State Sun Devil was one of the more coveted defensive tackles in the transfer portal class, and he could unite with Nwankwo to give the Buffs a dynamic duo.

    Green put together a career year in 2023 with 39 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. The Sun Devils defense struggled, but Green was a consistent bright spot. He joins a Buffs defense that needs help up front, and he’s poised to be a disruptor who can help this unit improve.

    3) Samuel Okunlola, DE

    Colorado was average getting after the quarterback last year, so Sanders and his staff went out and upgraded the talent on the edge. While Samuel Okunlola’s numbers don’t pop out, his tape does.

    Pitt has produced some of the most explosive players on the defensive line, and Okunlola was the latest in that line of talent. If he can build upon his performance from last year, then the Buffs have a difference-maker who can affect the opposing team’s game plan on a weekly basis.

    2) Shedeur Sanders, QB

    Since Shedeur Sanders transferred to Colorado, media members have put him in the first round of the NFL Draft and Heisman conversations. While that hype was overdone, Sanders is still an entertaining player to watch.

    Behind little help from his offensive line, Sanders threw for 3,230 yards and 27 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. Colorado allowed 56 sacks last year, the second most in the country, so the staff hit the portal hard once again to bring in talent.

    If Sanders put up those numbers behind a poor offensive line, imagine what he’ll do if that group is average or better. With the talent at the skill positions around him, the Colorado quarterback and the rest of his offense are set to have a big year.

    1) Travis Hunter, CB/WR

    One of the most intriguing players in college football, Travis Hunter shocked the college football world by committing to Jackson State as the top player in his recruiting class. When Coach Sanders left for Colorado, he surprised everyone again by following his coach. Now, he has his sights on something greater.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 Weekly Football Schedule

    While most of the attention surrounding Hunter centered on his abilities as a corner, he showed that he is a reliable pass catcher too. In fact, he might be a better wide receiver than a corner. He’ll play both ways again, which will be a huge topic of conversation for most of the season. He’s that good, folks, so enjoy him while he’s still in college.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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