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Colorado's Top 10 Players Prediction in EA College Football 25

The internet went wild when EA Sports released the offensive, defensive and overall rankings of the teams in College Football 25 last week, with Colorado dominating the discussion. Coach Prime's Buffs will be ranked No. 8 on offense, No. 20 on defense and No. 16 overall when College Football 25 goes live on July 19.

Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and the Buffs will surprise millions of people across the country this season after dramatically improving their roster. While the extent of Colorado's roster improvement may escape many, let's analyze some of the best players on CU's roster to determine the Buffs' top 10 players in the College Football 25.

Recognitions

Before we break down the top 10, here are five players who missed the cut but should still be ranked high in the College Football 25.

G, Tyler Brown

WR, Jimmy Horn Jr.

DL, Chidozie Nwankwo

LT, Jordan Seaton

EDGE, Quency Wiggins

10. Will Sheppard

Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard (14) catches a pass over Florida Gators cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. (3) and scores a touchdown during the first half at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, on Saturday, October 7, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Over the past two seasons, Will Sheppard has established himself as one of the most consistent and underrated wide receivers in the SEC. With Xavier Weaver headed to the NFL, Sheppard is expected to be a plug-and-play starter as the X-receiver for the Buffs this fall.

Sheppard had only played with one quarterback who completed over 60% of his passes in a season since arriving in Nashville in 2020. Despite this, Sheppard immediately became one of the most coveted players in the transfer portal when it opened in December. With a total of 107 receptions, 1,460 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons, Sheppard led the Commodores in every major receiving category while competing with the SEC's best cornerbacks.

9. Samuel Okunlo

Colorado's defense struggled to generate pressure, recording just 27 sacks as a team in 2023. Coach Prime's response to these realities resulted in Samuel Okunlola, one of the portal's top young pass rushers, becoming a Buff. After committing to Pittsburgh as a three-star recruit out of Brockton, MA in 2022, Okunlola had his breakout season with the Panthers as a redshirt freshman in 2023, recording 19 total tackles, six tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble.

Okunlola played in a limited role for Pittsburgh last season and is expected to build on his breakout 2023 and step into the Buffs' two-man rotation this season. The four-star transfer has performed as advertised throughout spring football and summer workouts this offseason and will be a key factor in Colorado's defensive improvement in 2024.

8. Nikahi Hill Green

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September 9, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Charlotte 49ers linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green (41) reacts after stopping the Maryland Terrapins offense on third down during the first half at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Nikhai Hill-Green played seven games at linebacker for the Michigan Wolverines in 2021 before his season ended due to injury. Hill-Green sat out the entire 2022 season before entering the portal and having his breakout year for the Charlotte 49ers in 2023. After proving himself again last year at the Group of 5 level, Nikhai Hill-Green chose Coach Prime and the Buffs as the 2020 four-star recruit has his eyes on the 2025 NFL Draft.

Hill-Green's 73 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, two sacks, three passes defensed and a forced fumble earned him Third Team All-American Conference honors in 2023. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker immediately fills the void in the middle of Colorado's defense and will be one of the team's leaders in 2024.

7. Dayon Hayes

Dayon Hayes was one of many veteran college football players who decided to take their talents to Boulder during the offseason in hopes of boosting their profile ahead of the 2025 NFL Draft. Although Hayes committed to Colorado in April and missed spring football in Boulder, the fifth-year defensive end is serious this fall.

“I'm going to be the best defensive end here,” Hayes said at his introduction in May. Hayes had the best season of his career in 2023 with 45 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four passes defensed and one forced fumble.

6. BJ Green

After being completely overlooked as a three-star 2021 recruit out of Powder Springs, GA, BJ Green decided to walk on at Arizona State. As a true freshman, Green immediately proved himself to be one of the Sun Devils' best pass rushers and earned a scholarship after the season. 2023 was a breakout season for Green, who was named to the Second-Team All-Pac-12 with 39 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and a forced fumble.

Green was initially committed to the Washington Huskies before Kalen DeBoer left to take Nick Saban's place at Alabama. After DeBoer's decision, Green returned to the portal and joined his former youth coach Coach Prime in Boulder. He will be one of the top-ranked Big 12 edge rushers in the College Football 25.

5. Shilo Sanders

Shilo Sanders sets the tone for Colorado's defense. While Colorado's roster was being dismantled and rebuilt last season, Shilo graduated from Jackson State. When the Headache Gang CEO joined his family and teammates in Boulder, he immediately became the Buffs' undisputed leader on defense.

Shilo continued to land devastating hits and force turnovers to keep the Buffs in the game for multiple games as Colorado's offense began to falter toward the end of 2023. Coming off the best season of his career, in which he recorded 70 total tackles, a half-tackle for loss, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles and a pick-six, Shilo has the potential to be one of the highest-rated safeties in the Big 12 and one of the hardest-hitting players in the College Football 25.

4. Preston Hodge

Liberty was the best Group of 5 team in the country last year and cornerback Preston Hodge was one of the reasons why. Hodge truly earned his opportunity in Colorado and has raised his level of play each season since starting at Navarro Community College in 2021.

Despite being left off Conference USA's All-Conference teams, PFF ranked Hodge as the best G5 cornerback in the country. In 2023, he had 48 total tackles, three tackles for loss, eight passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Upon his arrival, Hodge immediately added versatility to Colorado's secondary by being able to play both in the slot and outside. The Texas native has been one of the Buffs' standout players of spring football, showing off his tenacious coverage with two intercepted passes in the spring game in April.

3. LaJohntay Wester

LaJohntay Wester was Florida Atlantic's best player and was selected to the All-American Conference first team as a wide receiver and returner in 2023. Wester was one of the most productive receivers in the country last year with 108 receptions for 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns. When the portal opened and Wester entered, Shedeur Sanders took it upon himself to bring one of the best available receivers in the country to Boulder.

Before Wester signed with Colorado, the Buffs already had one of the strongest receiver teams in the Big 12 with Travis Hunter, Will Sheppard, Omarion Miller and Jimmy Horn Jr. With Wester, Shedeur is armed with a wealth of talent as Colorado rejoins the Big 12 to form one of the best offenses in the entire country.

2. Shedeur Sanders

Shedeur Sanders has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country in 2023, throwing 27 touchdowns and a Colorado-record 3,230 passing yards and just three interceptions. Despite being the quarterback with the most sacks in the country and sitting out most of the game at Washington State and the season finale at Utah, Shedeur completed 69.3% of his passes and rarely put the football in danger. Shedeur has an outside chance of becoming the highest-rated quarterback in College Football 25, but is virtually assured of being among the top three rated quarterbacks alongside Carson Beck and Quinn Ewers.

Coach Prime and Colorado have attacked the transfer portal, bringing in proven, experienced offensive linemen as well as the top tackle in the 2024 recruiting class, Jordan Seaton, to protect Shedeur this fall. The stage is set for Shedeur to make a national splash this season as he remains the clear favorite to be selected first in the 2025 NFL Draft.

1. Travis Hunter

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September 2, 2023; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Jaylon Robinson (13) fails to catch a pass while being defended by Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Travis Hunter (12) during the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Hunter is not only the best player on Colorado's roster, he is the best player in the country and has a real shot at the fabled 99 club on the College Football 25. After taking a bad late hit against Colorado State in Week 3, Hunter's 2023 season was shortened by three games. Despite missing games against Oregon, USC and Arizona State, Hunter was named a First-Team All-American as an all-purpose player and won the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player in the country.

Discussions about Hunter's role in the NFL will continue as long as the Earth orbits the sun, but he will also be Colorado's Swiss Army knife in 2024. Hunter put in some serious work in the weight room during the offseason and worked as a slot corner throughout spring football. While Colorado's 2024 season will be largely determined by the success of Shedeur Sanders and CU's offensive line, Travis Hunter is the player the Buffs' roster will revolve around.