The Colorado Buffaloes are the most popular team in the college football landscape but do a more extensive search on the Buffaloes, and you’ll make this discovery on the passing end: The only team with two 20-plus-catch wide receivers resides in Boulder.
Even a trendsetter like Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders is sparking one more trend. The former NFL star is turning Colorado into a wide receiver hotbed. Jimmy Horn and Xavier Weaver have snatched 26 and 25 receptions, respectively, in this offense, which now raises the question: Will the Buffs have two 100-catch wideouts by the end of the season? Signs point in that direction for both WRs.
Current Trajectory Points to Triple Digits in Receptions
Playing in an up-tempo Air Raid attack with Shedeur Sanders at the controls, both Horn and Weaver have established themselves as weekly eight-catch threats.
Through three games, Horn is averaging 8.6 receptions per game, while Weaver is at 8.3. Both men have already had one game each of catching 10 or more passes.
This means, at their current pace, they’ll hit these numbers by the 12th and final regular season game.
Before Week 4, Horn is projected to snag around 103 receptions. Weaver is looking at between 99 and 100 catches.
And that’s without a bowl game — or even the Pac-12 title game — if the Buffs can earn these extra matchups. Mathematically, the wide receiver duo is on pace at becoming the nation’s lone 100-catch duo, barring injury.
How is Weaver carving up defenses? The USF transfer has seen his stock rise by becoming deadly on post routes and securing chest grabs.
Xavier Weaver has seen a huge stock up this season. Laser from Shedeur Sanders right into his chest on the post route. pic.twitter.com/hpV1yDivW0
— Ian Valentino (@NFLDraftStudy) September 17, 2023
Yet, he’s delivered production on posts before. During his time as a USF Bull, he accomplished the feat while facing a future College Football Playoff qualifier.
Xavier Weaver having a DAY for USF as the Bulls continue to take it to Cincinnati 🔥
CFB Live Blog: https://t.co/9B6PmLuKF8
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 8, 2022
Even before his arrival in Boulder, Weaver became a separation king against cornerbacks.
USF WR Xavier Weaver is officially in the transfer portal.
Got to expect a ton of teams wanting his services. Dude can separate with the best of 'em.pic.twitter.com/aAGYu52s5F
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) December 30, 2022
Meanwhile, the fellow former USF Bull Horn has established himself as his own separator of cornerbacks, as seen here versus TCU in Week 1.
Of course, Horn became revered at Folsom Field for helping set up overtime on this play extension from Sanders.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 17, 2023
But does the schedule point to both wideouts having an easy trek in reaching this milestone?
Colorado’s Next 2 Opponents Will Test Air Attack
The journey to 100 will face two major forthcoming obstacles. It all begins in Eugene, Oregon, this Saturday.
The 3-0 Ducks have become a team that denies the sky attack. Not one opponent has yet to surpass 285 passing yards against this pass defense. That includes Texas Tech, which earned 282 yards by running a similar offense to what CU has installed.
Oregon has broken up 11 passes and snatched four interceptions. The Ducks have experience backing those two integral pass defense numbers with three seniors on the backend, including two with red zone possession receiver size.
Khyree Wilson towers over opponents with his 6’3″ frame and is the current interception leader for the Ducks. Bryan Addison is even more towering at 6’5″ and has a pick, as well. Colorado also can’t forget about the veteran of this group, Steve Stephens, a prized 2018 signing now in his sixth collegiate season.
After Autzen Stadium, it’s a home tilt with USC in what’s anticipated to be a game-of-the-year type feel at Folsom.
This Trojans team, however, has had early struggles defending the pass, as San Jose State’s Nick Nash slipped by for three touchdown receptions in Week 1. Even in the 66-14 rout of Nevada, Jamaal Bell still put together an eight-catch, 121-yard outing against Southern Cal. Best believe CU’s duo will test the Trojans.
As far as the rest of the slate goes, Oregon is the only top-15 pass defense the Buffs will face. Everyone else is ranked below 50th in the nation.
Colorado has only produced one WR who surpassed 100 catches — Nelson Spruce, who hauled in 106 in 2014. There’s a strong chance the era of “Coach Prime” will produce two wideouts hitting that mark and spark a new trend: Boulder potentially becoming the new WRU.