LB Thaddaeus Washington

2005 Statistics

Coach: Dan Hawkins
1st year
2005 Record: 7-6
at Miami FL LOST 3-23
at Oklahoma State WON 34-0
at Texas LOST 17-42
at Kansas State WON 23-20
at Iowa State LOST 16-30
vs. Texas LOST 3-70
vs. Clemson LOST 10-19

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

The turnover in coaching (philosophies) is just the shot in the arm this program needs to get back on track. Regardless of the scandals that arose (recruiting improprieties, the alleged rape of a former female kicker, etc.), the fallout and/or follow-through these past few seasons under the head coach Gary Barnett was a distraction, to say the least. The kind of leadership Barnett wound up providing was (via a lack of human character) the type that displayed a terrible example for these young men of how to handle what was occurring. To their credit, the university made a move quickly in December to attract the up-and-coming Dan Hawkins from his successes at Boise State so he could maximize his offseason efforts (recruiting, hiring, etc.), and everything is on the right track for football to again be a good thing in Boulder.

Now to the real topic - what will happen on the gridiron with this storied program. Hawkins has brought his defensive coordinator (Ron Collins) and hired OC Mark Helfrich (away from Arizona State) along with “passing-game coordinator” and receivers coach Eric Kiesau (away from Cal) to form a support staff that is totally new to producing at these posts on the BCS-level. Their résumés are great, but revampings like these (from the top down) don’t always equal first-season success by producing more wins. Still, these guys will definitely make CU better in most major categories and they definitely brighten the future beyond 2006.

New dual-threat QB James Cox (as well as backups White and Jackson) plays the kind of game around which Hawkins loves to plan. With Hugh Charles, a plethora of major weapons at WR and a decent line that will seem/be even better under Hawkins’ approach, the offense will rebound nicely. The defensive interior is a big question mark, and run stopping will have to be bolstered. The back seven and ends are good enough to make up for this one marginal area. The kicking game has an all-American in Crosby, and many are quietly rooting for him to take over at punter, too. Coverage and returns seem to be the only other units needing more effort, and depth on defense – via hungry underclassmen with lots of speed – will eventually shore up these dimensions.

A glance at the Buffaloes’ slate tells of quality early challenges. Ambitious to say the least, going down to Athens the week after (Helfrich pays back) Arizona State at home foretells of back-to-back tilts with Texas Tech and then (at) Oklahoma. Don’t be surprised when CU wins at least half of these, their toughest games. But it is the closers with Iowa State (home) and then away at Lincoln that will tell whether Colorado makes it back to the Big XII championship in Kansas City. Though these teams will start the year ranked (in the top 25) ahead of the Buffs, this is a wide open race that again will be close down as all approach the finish line.

Dal Ward would be happy to see this team’s young men again under the tutelage of a coach worthy of leading these impressionable student-athletes within his own high standards of character and spirit.

Projected 2006 record: 7-5
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 4
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: James Cox, 29-13-0, 93 yds., 0 TD

Rushing: Hugh Charles, 176 att., 842 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Dusty Sprague, 43 rec., 468 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Mason Crosby, 21-28 FG, 31-31 PAT, 94 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Mason Crosby, 21-28 FG, 31-31 PAT, 94 pts.

Tackles: Thaddaeus Washington, 112 tot., 70 solo

Sacks: Thaddaeus Washington, Abraham Wright - 5 each

Interceptions: Marcus Burton, 2 for 104 yds., 1 TD; Gerett Burl, 2 for 18 yds.; J.J. Billingsley, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Stephone Robinson, 18 ret., 18.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Stephone Robinson, 25 ret., 9.9 avg., 1 TD


K Mason Crosby
OFFENSE: Joel Klatt-QB, Lawrence Vickers-RB, Evan Judge-WR, Joe Klopfenstein-TE, Quinn Sypniewski-TE, Clint O'Neal-OT, Gary Moore-OT
DEFENSE: Vaka Manupuna-NT, James Garee-DT, Akarika Dawn-ILB, Brian Iwuh-OLB, John Torp-P

A new era begins with James Cox at the helm. Well, era is the wrong word, for this Simi Valley (CA) senior is in his swansong. But what Joel Klatt was unable to do, Cox has the ability to achieve. Cox can flat out fly by defenders, and at 6’3”, he will also be able to see more of the field than Klatt (via rolling out). We expect Dan Hawkins’ inventive playbook to be fulfilled with his talents and the team to be much better under Cox (started and won 19-14 versus Iowa State 10-16-04). He has shown flashes of the better game days to come. Cox was out for spring ball (thumb, wrist), so first-team reps given to the backups will prove invaluable. 6’5” junior backup Brian White is just as athletic (maybe a step slower, though his best high jump was 6’) but does not have the passing touch of Cox. White is the heir-apparent and will surely see reps, but keeping Cox healthy is the Buffaloes key to going their farthest. Bernard Jackson represents even more drop off in proven passing ability, but is their most dangerous running weapon at QB. Who knows how Hawkins might capitalize on using all three of these Californians.

Running Back
The nation will see the emergence of junior Hugh Charles as the Buff’s main ball carrier and as an all-American candidate. This guy is a weapon who is strong, athletic (25’ 3 3/4” long jump, 38” vertical) and super fast (10.34 in the 100 meters and team-best 4.37 in the 40; ran track as a freshman for CU). Many foes will be deceived with his seemingly smallish build, but make no mistakes as to how far he can carry the team’s running efforts. Oh, and he has soft hands to keep LBs occupied, or else. Byron Ellis won’t be denied reps. This smarty is just as fast in his first steps as Charles (22.4 seconds in the 200), and the former-QB can use his sleeker, larger build in ways Charles can’t which will compliment Hugh well (capable receiver, too). QB/TB Jackson role(s) could be anything at anytime – foes cannot ignore his “slash” dimensions. Mell Holliday and Kevin Moyd both had huge advances in spring ball to give much-needed depth. Holliday is quickly becoming the team’s most physical TB. Though Paul Creighton is listed here, the FB competition is wide open, and we see (former Gatorade Player of the Year – Nebraska) RS soph Jake Behrens battling with classmate Matt Garrett for starts. Hawkins utilizes his FBs, and both of these former defensemen can run as well as they block. This unit ranked 97th last campaign, but the ground game is sure to surge with QBs Cox and White also speedy threats who will, least of all, distract defenders so all can optimize their carries.

This is a talented bunch that will excel with new the QB(s). Junior Dusty Sprague is sharp and a natural leader, and at 6’4, it is hard to keep the ball from him. His speed and athleticism – he was state champ in the 110 meter hurdles and long jump in prep – are too much for small DBs. The Holyoke-native has been their “go to” guy, but expect to see his average per catch soar. Sophomore Patrick Williams is prototypically similar – he is also tall and a former prep triple-jumper (46’3” best), high jumper (6’2”) and 110 meter hurdler who overmatches LBs on short routes that turn into YAC galore. Three other experienced juniors will become primaries to make this area a deep strength, and if the injury bug really hits, there is a load of wanna-be’s who can pick up wherever these five leave off. They just have to figure out which one(s) will be the deep threat(s) with so much raw ability. As Hawkins’ schemes flourish, though, he will make sure the ball is spread around so as to keep the coverage honest. With more three- and four-WR sets, both/either the running game and/or more WRs will see major gains.

Tight End
The top two TEs had 57 catches, and both have to be replaced for the offense to have coverage assignments work to their advantage. Seniors Paul Creighton and Dan Goettsch will get their big chances, but W. Michigan-transfer (and former Mackey Award watch list candidate) Tyson DeVree is too good not to see the field. All can push on running plays and also go out into patterns with optimal effect. Depth here exists but is inexperienced.

Offensive Line
Senior center Mark Fenton anchors an experienced line that should finally live up to its promise. Having the 97th-ranked ground attack and averaging 3.55 per rush leaves room for improvement, though 24 sacks allowed – and now with a new, mobile QB - affords promise. A preseason second team all-American ( who only allowed two sacks in his first two campaigns, Fenton is good enough to play guard if needed. “Tight” (right) guard Brian Daniels is also a senior who can do it all. State champ as a prep weightlifter, former-tackle Daniels has been starting since his freshman year, grading out well enough to prove the Evergreen-native’s ranking as the No.4 incoming freshman tackle ( was/is no fluke. Daniel Sanders stepped into a starting slot in only his freshman year, and will truly excel as a soph. He, too, can play any of the three positions (112 pancakes as a prep senior). Junior split (left) tackle Tyler Polumbus has proven his worth with high grades as he was a starter to begin his sophomore campaign. The Englewood-native has excellent footwork and has bulked up to handle the best Big XII-sized DLmen (though out in spring ball with a shoulder injury). Classmate Edwin Harrison handles the tight tackle spot just as well. Harrison’s grandfather, Calvin Jones, won the Outland Trophy (1955 at Iowa), and we feel it is only a matter of time before this former freshman all-conference guy plays at such a level. Depth is only assured (somewhat) inside, so injuries (Harrison also had shoulder surgery prior to last fall) would make this line take a step back.

Many wonder what Hawkins and coordinator (and QB coach) Mark Helfrich will do together in their initial efforts with their pensions to work so creatively via unique sets, and if they will use the pass to set up the run, or vice-versa. But, unlike many think, Hawkins – even with Boise’s awesome aerial assault – threw it only 41% in ’05 at Boise. Hawkins will work with what he feels has the best chance of succeeding and will still use a modified spread attack at times, which means extra receivers can overmatch DBs. The complications/options he throws at defenses will be just enough to create the extra openings his RBs need. Helfrich is one of the country’s youngest OCs, and he won’t succeed right away. But his/their ability to learn from mistakes and improve accordingly as things progress will dictate what happens and how far the CU offense goes this year. His new QB, James Cox, will benefit as Cox uses his dual abilities to make all dimensions of this offense better. Hugh Charles will also break out, and, along with their depth at RB, all will eventually have CU running rampant to set up quality passing to an excellent corps of snarlers. Any way it is dissected, production will increase. The line just has to stay healthy for all pistons to perform at full capacity, for the starters there are stellar, but they have little proven worth behind them. Hawkins will slowly open the playbook and, by mid-season, we should see some very dynamic results coming from Boulder.


C Mark Fenton


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Brian White-Jr (6-5, 225) Bernard Jackson-Jr (6-0, 195)
James Cox-Sr (6-3, 215)
FB Samson Jagoras-Jr (5-10, 225) Jake Behrens-Fr (5-11, 235)
TB Hugh Charles-Jr (5-8, 185) Mell Holliday-Sr (5-8, 205)
Byron Ellis-Jr (6-0, 205)
WR Patrick Williams-So (6-2, 195) Alvin Barnett-Jr (6-0, 195)
WR Dusty Sprague-Jr (6-4, 190) Stephone Robinson-Jr (5-9, 185)
TE Tyson DeVree-Jr (6-6, 245) Paul Creighton-Sr (6-5, 245)
OT Edwin Harrison-Jr (6-4, 300) Devin Head-Fr (6-4, 275)
OG Brian Daniels-Sr (6-4, 300) Bryce MacMartin-Sr (6-2, 290)
C Mark Fenton-Sr (6-4, 295) Zach Jones-Fr (6-3, 270)
OG Daniel Sanders-So (6-3, 300) Jack Tipton-Sr (6-3, 295)
OT Tyler Polumbus-Jr (6-8, 285) Paul Backowski-Fr (6-6, 285)
K Mason Crosby-Sr (6-2, 210) Kevin Eberhart-Jr (5-10, 190)


Defensive Line
Concerns here revolve around the middle part of the line. Four seniors depart, so it is up to now-senior Marcus Jones and sophomore George Hypolite to step up. Jones barely got into the action last campaign, but his promise is huge, whereas Hypolite has proven more with his chances and seems more mobile so as to be a DE/DT hybrid. Depth here is a major concern, with no tackles left on the roster from the last two incoming classes. Senior Abraham Wright is one of two all-around athletes at DE. This ex-LB can plug holes as well as back-peddle in coverage (RBs in the flat). Maurice Lucas started in 2005 as a true frosh and is even stronger than Wright. Lucas should earn all-conference – his potential to grow into his own will dictate much of how well this entire line performs. Both weigh in at around 240lbs, and it is hard for opposing runners to get outside on them. There are a lot of proven upperclassmen behind them, notably Alex Ligon and Alonzo Barrett, and too many waiting in the wings for this dimension to fail. The key will be finding which of the backups can be moved inside (soph Brandon Nicolas had a huge spring). The rush defense was 11th in the nation, but expect less in this run-tough conference and then this crew may surprise as cohesion helps all progress.

Thaddaeus Washington is the senior leader of a quality corps that will be the strength of this defense. Washington covers all dimensions from his inside (MIKE) spot and earns third team all-American from us for his talents. Sophomores Brad Jones and Marcus Burton both have their eyes set on moving into the outside (BUFF) position. Either of these experienced backups would fulfill the spots needs amply, but Jones is taller and a step faster. Junior Jordan Dizon, who earned conference defensive Newcomer of the Year (AP) and was also voted by Big XII coaches as Freshman of the Year, is sure to again rule the inside (WILL) slot. Though a bit small, this ex-RB plays huge and already has a bunch of game-saving tackles on his résumé. Backups here are also overqualified, and enough recruits are waiting their turns to make injuries a non-issue. This is one of the best groups in the nation.

Defensive Back
The secondary seems just as stacked as the LB corps with four senior starters ready to make their last campaigns great ones. Gerett Burl is suspended (again) indefinitely, so the door is open for a new corner to start. Gardner McKay should fill in nicely. He has the ability to be a shutdown corner with great speed and instincts. First on the team in Pass BreakUps (with 17 and two forced fumbles) was Lorenzo Sims, who is just as solid in coverage. Both can make the (unassisted) tackle if the play is near them, so more risks can be taken up front. Backups Terry and Vance Washington – no relation – are both seniors who can also go one-on-one with great success (Vance own team best 40.5” vertical jump, and Terry runs a 10.7 second 100 meters). Safety Tyrone Henderson flew up the depth chart last year and his 13 stops on third downs tells it all. He can run all day and hits like a Mack truck. Then along comes sophomore Ryan Walters, who climbed the same way this spring and could displace Henderson as the starter by fall. This competition bodes well for depth. Backfield-mate J.J. Billingsly was also (like Henderson) a PrepStar all-American, and his numbers last campaign were even better than Henderson’s (barely). This Aurora-native has started most of his career and can play in the box like a LB. Depth at safety isn’t quite as strong as it is at CB. The strong run support means foes will again pass early and often, and the experienced secondary is capable of bending without breaking (were 87th in pass defense, but 43rd in all-important efficiency).

With a strong back seven and set of DEs, coordinator Ron Collins is sure to make more with BCS-sized defenders at his ready. Collins is a Boise-transplant who followed Hawkins, and coach Dan brought him along because everywhere he has been, he makes the D progressively better. For the first time, he is at a major program with major recruits who can give him the size and speed he has never had before now. He has his work cut out with the losses (and only a few decent replacements) on the inside of the line. In the Big XII, this is a bad problem to have, and last year’s 11th ranking in run stopping will suffer. But the help provided by the LBs and safeties should bolster these efforts, for the CBs are capable by themselves of strong results. After ending 2005 with four consecutive losses (could anyone have stopped Texas in the Big XII title game?), CU cannot again allow 30 point to both Nebraska and Iowa State and think the Big XII North is winnable. Strong was their fourth quarter points allowed (45), but of concern was how they allowed foes a 37% third-down conversion rate and 44 red zone chances. Expect the entire D to finish higher than 41st for total effort and 45th in scoring allowed, which means consistency is the main element they need to finish in the top 25.


DB J.J. Billingsley


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Walter Boye-Doe-Sr (6-2, 245) Maurice Lucas-So (6-4, 240)
DT George Hypolite-So (6-2, 265) Taj Kaynor-Fr (6-5, 250)
NT Brandon Nicolas-So (6-3, 270) Marcus Jones-Sr (6-4, 295)
DE Abraham Wright-Sr (6-3, 240) Alex Ligon-Sr (6-3, 265)
Alonzo Barrett-Jr (6-3, 240)
SLB Brad Jones-So (6-4, 220) Joe Sanders-Jr (6-3, 220)
MLB Thaddaeus Washington-Sr (5-11, 240) R.J. Brown-So (6-1, 225)
WLB Jordon Dizon-Jr (6-0, 220) Marcus Burton-So (6-0, 230)
CB Terrence Wheatley-Jr (5-10, 175) Terry Washington-Sr (5-10, 195)
CB Gardner McKay-So (5-11, 160) Gerett Burl-Sr (5-10, 160) - suspended
SS Ryan Walters-So (5-11, 200) Tyrone Henderson-Sr (5-10, 180)
FS J.J. Billingsley-Sr (5-11, 185) Lorenzo Sims-Sr (5-11, 185)
P Mason Crosby-Sr (6-2, 210) Matt DiLallo-Fr (6-1, 190)




All-American (first-teamer and Playboy) Crosby is a machine, making kicks from any distance look easy (5-for-7 from 50+). He had one from 69 yards go wide right in spring drills, so the Buffs can be anywhere in enemy territory and realistically consider getting three. The only critical thing we can say about this unit is that two of Crosby’s tries were blocked, so stepping up the blocking schemes is needed to avoid foes getting seven when he has to hit a lower angled kick, which would cause a 10-point swing.

Here is just another area within which senior Mason Crosby will be a team leader. It is looking more and more like Crosby has the nod with his booming leg, and spring drills have really shown such. RS frosh Matt DiLallo also has the wares to shine here, but Crosby out-punts him and gives CU their best chance to win field position battles. Hawkins believes in playing his best guy, regardless of how – in this case – it may affect Crosby’s huge impact as their placekicker. Net punting last campaign finished ranked fourth in the nation, so expect for those battles to be won most games.

Return Game
Stephone Robinson is their go to guy on returns, and he has been returning kicks of both types since his prep days rather solidly. Robinson is gutsy on PRs and rarely calls for a fair catch, so keep an eye on his production/mistakes – anything can happen when he is under a punt. Terrance Wheatley (10.3 seconds in the 100) will step in if Robinson starts making bad decisions. Robinson was pedestrian in ’05 on KRs, so Terry Washington got valuable reps here and we feel he should take the spot over, though Charles made his case in spring ball that was well heard – he was second on the spring depth charts. The 2005 recruiting class is full of guys who run 4.4 (or better) in the 40, making this area one to watch for new faces.