Newcomers the Colorado State football team will lean on in 2023

Fort Collins Coloradoan
Colorado State's Dallin Holker smiles during a practice at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins on Saturday, April 8, 2023.
New players carry an important role every season in the transfer portal era.
The Colorado State football team is still being built through high school recruiting and development, but veterans will be brought in for key roles annually.
Who are the transfers who will play key roles in 2023?
Here’s a look at transfer newcomers who need to have strong seasons for the Rams, beginning with Saturday's opener at home against Washington State (5 p.m.).
The offensive line
The Rams will likely start four transfers on the offensive line, and it is THE most important question mark position on the roster.
For that reason, we’ll group them together as one. It’s possible a transfer will start at every position but center (Jacob Gardner).
Saveyon Henderson (left tackle, Lane College), Oliver Jervis (left guard, Monmouth), Andrew Cannon (right guard, Nevada) and Drew Moss (right tackle, Lamar) carry the burden of CSU’s FBS-leading sack total from a year ago despite not being on that team.
They know it and wear it as a challenge. Early reviews from spring and preseason camp are good, but it needs to be proven on the field.
If this group is strong, CSU’s season potential quickly rises.
Dom Jones and Ron Hardge, cornerbacks
These two are grouped together because they’re effectively co-No. 2s at cornerback.
Jones is a lanky, 6-foot-2 North Dakota State transfer who has played 41 career games at the FCS level and has three career interceptions. Hardge is a physical, 6-foot Oregon State transfer who has played 24 career games at the Power 5 level (including six at Illinois as a true freshman).
CSU was lacking depth at cornerback last season. Not only could these two provide solid play at the position, but they may also force teams to throw toward top corner Chigozie Anusiem with more frequency, which would be to CSU’s benefit.
Dallin Holker, tight end
CSU had only 21 receptions from its tight ends in 2022. That, combined with young receivers, allowed defenses to aggressively key on Tory Horton.
Holker brings a whole new look to the position. He’s strong and athletic and CSU’s defenders say he’s an extremely crisp route runner.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound transfer had 42 catches for 521 yards in his career at BYU.
It will be important for him to help open the middle of the field and intermediate passing game for Clay Millen.
Kobe Johnson, running back
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound North Dakota State transfer racked up more than 2,500 rush yards and 18 touchdowns with the FCS power.
He’ll begin the season as co-No. 1 with 2022 starter Avery Morrow (who had more than 800 rushing yards for the Rams last season).
It has the potential to be a dynamic running back pairing. CSU hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Dalyn Dawkins in 2017.
It may not happen this year, either, because Johnson and Morrow will split carries, but Johnson will give fans Dawkins vibes.
He’s relatively small but with the physicality to run inside and burst to have big runs.
Jordan Noyes, kicker
CSU has struggled in recent years for consistent field goal kicking.
One of the main problems last year was lack of ability to hit long field goals as the Rams had just three makes of 40 yards or more and a long of 43.
Utah transfer Jordan Noyes is next in line to try. The 31-year-old father of three is one of the oldest players in college football but has limited field goal kicking experience at this level. He went 8-for-12 at Utah.
He’s shown a strong leg in camp and should allow the Rams to be able to be in scoring range from farther out, and he’s perfect in his career on extra points (on 55 attempts).
If he can hit high-70s or better in field goal percentage and give CSU ability to hit attempts in the high-40s and low-50s in yardage, it will help boost the Rams in close games.

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