Players to Watch – Colorado Buffaloes


Sept 1, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes defensive lineman Chidera Uzo-Diribe (96) reacts to his sack in the first quarter against the Colorado State Rams at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The move to the Pac 12 has not been a smooth transition on the football field for the Buffaloes. The 2013 season will be the first of the Mike MacIntyre regime who successfully built San Jose State into a formidable football team. The Buffaloes are returning 61 lettermen from the 2012 season including nine players who saw time as a starter on the offensive side of the ball. It will be a rocky season for the Buffaloes but MacIntyre is a great fit for a once proud football program.

#75 – Jack Harris – OT
6’5” – 298 lbs. – SR

Harris missed most of the 2011 season due to an injury and came back in 2012 to play right tackle where he graded out using the Buffaloes scale at 84.3% and the third highest rated offensive lineman for the Buffaloes. Harris will be moved to left tackle this year after the departure of fourth round selection David Bakhtiari this past season and will be part of an offensive line that will showcase five players that saw starting time in the 2012 campaign.

Strengths – Harris plays with a nasty streak in him from the tackle position. He seeks contact on the snap with the defender where he displays good lower body strength and strong hands. He has nimble feet and is athletic for his size with the quickness to drop step versus edge rushers and power to hold up versus the bull rush.

Weaknesses – Harris needs to play with better balance to become an effective lineman play after play. He plays with his shoulders too far over his feet when attacking the defensive lineman which would be solved by extending his arms more to make contact. He is a senior but has had an injury riddled career so experience is still lacking and playing at an elite game speed level.

Overall – Harris is moving to left tackle this year where he has the length and athleticism to play the position but is better suited in the long run to play right tackle. He has battled injuries during his time at Colorado but after a healthy 2013 spring, he is poised to be an anchor on the Buffaloes line this season. Harris is a player that has the frame to add weight to go with his strength at this point and will benefit from the coaching of MacIntyre and staff during the 2013 campaign.

#96 – Chidera Uzo-Diribe – DE/OLB
6’3” – 245 lbs. – SR

Uzo-Diribe is an athletic defensive end that has been used as the “Jack” linebacker previously for the Buffaloes. During the 2012 season, he compiled seven sacks and three tackles for loss for the Buffs defensive. He has great bloodlines as his cousin is Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants. He has tested at a 4.5 40 yard dash with 36 inch vertical and 22 reps at 225 lbs. during spring testing. He is a durable player where he has seen the field in 37 games during his tenure with no injuries to report.

Strengths – Uzo-Diribe stands out on the field with his athleticism and raw athletic ability. He has great speed off the edge putting pressure on the offensive lineman to be quick off the snap. He has the ability to chase down the ball carrier from the backside and scrape when ran away from. His strength is deceiving by his light looking frame but he possesses excellent upper body strength and explosive lower body power.

Weakness – Uzo-Diribe has been used mostly as a defensive end but has seen time at the outside linebacker position where his size and athleticism will make the transition easier but is lost at times in pass coverage and covering in space. To play defensive end every down, he will need to put on muscle and weight for the next level.

Overall – Uzo-Diribe is an athletic player that has relied on being quicker and stronger than his opponents but needs to refine himself as a football player. He has the ability to be moved to a weak side outside linebacker at the next level but needs to take the next step in pass coverage and playing in space. He will be over shadowed in the Pac 12 with great players on the defensive side of the ball scattered across the league but an undervalued player for the Buffaloes.