Posted on November 4, 2020
We’re just three days away from the long-awaited start of the Pac-12 season, so it’s a good time to discuss the possible MVP candidates for Colorado’s football team. We’ll look at both sides of the ball, plus special teams, with my singular prediction at the end. So, let’s get right into it.
On the offensive side of the ball, I see a couple of players going head-to-head for the MVP award. To start, there’s K.D. Nixon, a guy who is poised for a big senior season. Nixon originally put his name into the draft conversation along with Laviska Shenault Jr., but ultimately decided to return.
Nixon is super explosive off the line and has great speed, and what he lacks in height, he makes up for with incredible hands and playmaking ability. To go along with his on-field attributes, he is one of the captains for the season and a key veteran leader on a very young Colorado team.
In addition to Nixon, I would have seen Alex Fontenot as a strong candidate. The junior running back quietly had a highly productive campaign last year.
Unfortunately, CU coach Karl Dorrell announced on Tuesday that Fontenot had suffered a non-surgical injury and would be out indefinitely. Dorrell isn’t sure he will play in this pandemic-shortened season, but noted that he will not lose any eligibility, and should be able to return next season.
There are truly only two players who I can see earning the MVP award and they are Nate Landman and Mustafa Johnson. Landman is a freak of nature for a guy his size.
His quickness on the field from one sideline to another is scary, and his ability to constantly pressure the QB is something I have never seen before in a college linebacker.
Landman is grossly under-appreciated, not only within the Colorado community, but also in the Pac-12 as a whole. Look for him to have a monstrous season and prove himself as one of the best linebackers in the nation.
You don’t see players like Mustafa Johnson very often. Coming off the line, his sheer strength and technique stands out among defensive linemen. Johnson has some of the quickest feet I have seen at his position, and much like Landman, he is always pressuring the quarterback or disrupting the run game.
He’s a guy who is going to be a great steal in the NFL Draft.
Look for both Johnson and Landman to make huge impacts on the defensive side of the ball for Colorado this season.
I have talked a lot about how this Colorado team is going to put points on the board, and a huge way I expect them to do that is through special teams.
James Stefanou has been a lock-down kicker for Colorado the past couple of years, and I don’t see why that cannot continue.
Considering this offense is going to be run-heavy and, in the trenches, I expect to see a lot of Stefanou on the field. If he can convert his field goals and extra points, Colorado is going to win games because of his consistency.
It comes down to this. Defense wins games and Colorado’s defense is the key to a successful year. So, my pick is Nate Landman for Colorado’s MVP for the 2020 season. He is a monster on the field and is going to make a huge impact for the Buffs.
—More from Jason Marks—
- Marks: Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences for 2020
- Marks: A Game-by-Game Look at Colorado’s Season with Predictions
- Marks: Pac-12 Football is Back, but Without Fans, it Won’t Quite be the Same
- Marks: Ranking the Pac-12 Football Stadiums
- Marks: Freshmen, New QB to Play Key Roles in Karl Dorrell’s Retooled Offense
Marks: Predicting Colorado’s Most Valuable PlayersWho will be the Buffs' offensive, defensive & special teams MVPs? - November 4, 2020
Marks: Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences for 2020The Pac-12 may not be the best conference this season, but neither is it the worst - October 15, 2020
Marks: A Game-by-Game Look at Colorado’s Season with PredictionsDespite player losses, the Buffs should have enough weapons to surprise some teams in 2020 - October 9, 2020