Over the next three weeks, BSN Buffs will be breaking down our top 20 Colorado Buffaloes entering the fall of 2017. These rankings were voted on by BSN Buffs editor Jake Shapiro and staff Chase Howell and Sam Weaver.
It's hard to say what exact position Ryan Moeller played in 2016, but it doesn't take long to figure out he was an absolutely essential piece on one of the best defenses in the history of Colorado Football. His 448 snaps played or 44 tackles don't really standout for a linebacker. Yet Moeller isn't a linebacker, he's a safety.
The once walk-on and terrific high school running back was pushed to a hybrid nickel back/outside linebacker role after Derek McCartney was lost for the season because of injury. The only thing holding CU's defense together and filling a massive hole was Moeller and he excelled.
On the year he had 27 solo tackles, (four for loss), two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, one quarterback pressure and one third down stop. And he always rose to the occasion. He may have been the only Buff that played well in the Pac-12 Championship game and he flew around the field in the Rocky Mountain Showdown before his forced position change.
He forced key fumbles twice, once at Arizona which extended CU’s streak of consecutive games forcing a turnover to 23 in a row, and the other against Utah which essentially sealed the Pac-12 South for the Buffs.
And we haven't even mentioned he earned first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a special teams player. He was one of just two Buffs to be named first-team All-Pac-12 for their historic 2016 'Rise' season.
Following the loss in the Alamo Bowl Moeller told me, “I’m going to do everything I can to get everyone around me and myself going so that we don’t have that feeling again."
It seems as though he is stepping into a leadership role on a defense that desperately needs to be led after losing eight starters and three coaches. Moeller will most likely be pushed back into a safety role and play alongside Afolabi Laguda as they make up a pretty solid pair. It's pretty obvious that he was one of the unsung heroes of last season and CU is counting on him to step-up in 2017.