Recruiting Prospects – 2012 (May/June)

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June 30th

California wide receiver in Boulder

Cameron Countryman, a 5’11 1/2″, 170-pound wide receiver prospect, from Beverly Hills, California, was in Boulder on Wednesday.

Countryman is considered a two-star prospect by Scout.com, and is not yet rated by Rivals. Countryman averaged 25.7 yards per reception and 102.7 receiving yards per game in 2010. Countryman has offers from Utah and Arizona State from the Pac-12, as well as schools like Air Force, Princeton, Harvard, and Northwestern (obviously, not an eligibility risk). YouTube highlights

“I love Colorado,” Countryman told BuffStampede.com last week. “[Buffaloes offensive coordinator and running backs] coach [Eric] Bieniemy has been recruiting me and he is making it hard to say no to go there. We are talking on the phone constantly every week. He is a great guy. I don’t feel like he is saying the same thing to 100 different kids. I feel like we have a bond and a connection and I appreciate all the time he has given to talk to me.”

Still, Countryman might go to another Pac-12 school if he gets an offer. “Hopefully Cal will offer soon, too,” he said. “I am praying for a Cal offer because I went up there about two weeks ago and I loved it. I have been in contact with [Golden Bears assistant head coach and run game coordinator] coach [Ron] Gould and [wide receivers] coach [Eric] Kiesau so we’ll see.”

While Countryman has been making the rounds this spring, he is in no hurry to make a decision. “I’m going to make a decision later [in the process]“, Countryman told UteZone.com. I” think that it’s important that I focus on the team and the upcoming season first off. The team is my main priority right now. Once all that’s done, I’ll put all my offers on the table and decide,” he explained.

June 29th

Joey O’Conner commits to Penn State

“And another one’s gone …”

Joey O’Conner, considered by Rivals to be the fourth-best recruit in the state of Colorado this year, has committed to Penn State.

“I got back from Penn State on Sunday and have been working in Denver,” O’Connor told BlueWhiteIllustrated. “So my family came down last night for dinner and we talked about it and they told me that if that’s where I want to go, then they’ll fully support that.”

While yet another loss of yet another top in-state recruit is hard to take, the reality is that Colorado was never really high on O’Conner’s list. For most of the spring, he indicated that he was hoping for an offer from Penn State, and when it came, the Nittany Lions became his first choice. “Right now, I would have to say Penn State is the one school standing out the most,” O’Conner said in May. “I love their tradition, I love their program and I love the way they do things. I don’t want to say I have any favorites right now because I have to check out some places first, but if I were to have a favorite, they would be it.”

O’Conner had a number of offers from BCS schools, including at least half of the schools in the Pac-12. Small consolation … at least he will not be lining up in opposition to the Buffs, like Cyler Miles (Washington) and Evan Bayliss (Oregon).

June 26th

Tough to be a Buff this June …

“And then, depression set in …” – John Winger (Bill Murray), Stripes (1981)

Okay, it has been a lousy week for Colorado football recruiting.

Top recruits this week chose other schools over the Buffs. Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick gave a verbal commitment to USC, while another tight end recruit, Christo Kourtzidis decided to go with Florida State. Wide receivers Kodi Whitfield and Conner Crane both said “yes” to Stanford. Another wide receiver/athlete considering Colorado, Albert Reid, indicated he wanted to play for West Virginia.

And then there was the major blow – Arvada West offensive lineman Paul Thurston giving his verbal commitment to Nebraska.

Losing the No. 1 in-state recruit was bad enough, but to Nebraska??

Ouch.

Thurston now joins the other two top in-state prospects – quarterback Cyler Miles (Washington) and offensive lineman Shane Callahan (Auburn) - who have decided to leave their home state and flagship school.

To make matters worse, the recruits the Buffs have received commitments from this month, wide receiver Jeffrey Thomas and running back Terrence Crowder, are not exactly high profile selections. Crowder’s offer sheet included the likes of North Texas, Memphis, Tennessee State, Utah State and Wyoming, while Crowder was being courted by North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Texas-San Antonio. Until he gave his verbal commitment to Colorado, Crowder was not even showing up in Scout.com’s database of recruits.

Not exactly the pitched battles for five-star talent Buff fans envisioned when recruiting stars Embree, Bieniemy, Brown, Brookhart and Kennedy signed on.

So, time to push the panic button?

Nah.

First, it’s June. A great deal can – and will – transpire in the next seven months. A verbal commitment means nothing. Until a player faxes in his Letter of Intent to the athletic department office of his choice on the first Wednesday of February, it’s all subject to change. Colorado coaches “flipped” seven recruits last January, and, with a successful campaign in 2011 (with “successful” being a relative term), the new coaching staff can still work wonders this fall and winter.

Second, it’s unrealistic to expect Colorado coaches to work their magic on players who have not seen Colorado post a winning record since they were in grade school. Buff fans fondly remember the glory days of Colorado football, but to a 17-year old, CU history means almost nothing. In all time wins, Colorado ranks 19th nationally. In the Pac-12, only USC (10th on the list) ranks higher. In terms of all-time winning percentage, Colorado comes in at No. 24, behind only USC (9th), Washington (20th) and Arizona State (22nd).

Big Deal. The last time Colorado played a game of national title significance, the recruits Buff fans long to see wearing black-and-gold were seven years old. Seven! A blue-chip prospect will naturally be attracted to a winning program, and Colorado doesn’t have one. It will take time to change perceptions about the Colorado football.

Third, there are the amenities. Oregon has more flat screen televisions per capita in their players’ lounge than the Waldorf-Astoria has in its entire hotel. Nebraska’s weight room is the size of a Wal-Mart Super Store. USC, despite the sanctions, is still USC. Until the Trojans’ 15-recruit limit is met each year over the next three years, a scholarship offer from USC will still be worth its weight in cardinal and gold.

The new Pac-12 contract money will certainly help, but Colorado will be playing catch-up from lost revenue from last year (not a full cut from the Big 12) and this year (not a full cut from the Pac-12) for several years to come. Colorado will be on a more level playing field with its competitors soon, but not for a few more years.

Finally, the Colorado coaches are not faring that poorly, all things considered.

True, only quarterback Shane Dillon is considered a four-star recruit amongst the five players who have committed to CU to date. Still, having five on the list at all is an improvement over the Dan Hawkins’ era. Only once during Hawkins’ five year tenure, in 2007, did Colorado have five verbal commitments in June. The June, 2007, verbal commitment list - defensive back Anthony Perkins; defensive back Lamont Smith; quarterback Matt Ballenger; offensive lineman Shawn Daniels; and linebacker Tyler Ahles – has netted the Buffs only one starter, in safety Anthony Perkins (unless you wish to consider Tyler Ahles a starting fullback, where he moved to this off-season). The five 2007 recruits consisted of three three-star recruits and two-star recruits, while the five 2012 recruits consist of a four-star recruit, three three-star recruits, and a two-star recruit.

Not great, but still a step up.

Is it a concern that Colorado has targeted tight ends with this recruiting class, and the top four prospects have all decided to sign elsewhere? Yes.

Is is uncomfortable that the Buffs are in dire need of an influx of offensive linemen (seven seniors), that the state of Colorado is flush with offensive linemen (four of the top five in Rivals list of in-state prospects are offensive linemen this year), and yet the Buffs can’t get a commitment from an offensive lineman? Yes.

Is it disconcerting that some of the recruits the Buffs are getting commitments from are not considered high priorities by other BCS schools? Yes.

That’s the reality of Colorado football, 2011. It the reality of recruiting news with which Buff fans have had to deal with this week.

Unfortunately, with the impossibly tough schedule the Buffs face this fall, it may be the reality of Colorado football for some time to come.

But, if you have come this far with the Buffs, just hang tough with the Buffs a little while longer.

It’s about to get good again …

 

June 24th

No. 1 in-state prospect chooses Nebraska

The dominos continue to fall … and none are landing in Boulder.

Offensive lineman Paul Thurston, a 6’5″ prospect from Arvada West, has committed to play for Nebraska. “I think going out there for the second time really helped me, I was able to see some more stuff, see the campus, I was able to talk with the journalism guys again. Just overall, the whole package is what helped me out,” Thurston told HuskerOnline.com.

“I think just going to a great program like that, they have a long tradition going on there, so I think I’m excited to go there and be part of that,” Thurston said. “I think just playing guard, coach Peilni said I’m going to be pulling, and that’s something I like doing – I love to do that, lock up on linebackers making holes and help Nebraska get another national championship.”

With Thurston’s commitment, the top three prospects from the state of Colorado have now all committed to play elsewhere. The No. 2 prospect, quarterback Cyler Miles, has given a verbal commitment to Washington, while No. 3 prospect, offensive lineman Shane Callahan, has indicated he will sign with Auburn.

Sigh.

The end of the world? No. Thurston could still change his mind. If Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini winds up as the new head coach at Ohio State at the end of the season, and/or Colorado surprises the Pac-12 with a dominant rushing attack, Thurston could still be persuaded to wear the black-and-gold come next February.

But a trend does appear to be forming … Colorado coaches are impressing high profile recruits, but if they are to get those players to commit to play for the Buffs, CU will have to turn things around on the playing field, and start posting winning seasons again.

 

June 23rd

Another tight end chooses not to become a Buff …

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, (unofficial visit to Boulder last weekend, story below), has committed to USC. “It seemed like they were going to offer me yesterday after the camp,” Cope-Fitzpatrick told USCFootball.com. “I called my mom and we talked about it. If they offered, what would I do? She told me that I needed to go with my heart. If I felt USC was the right place for me after the camp, then go with it. I pretty much came down here for an offer. Then the camp was over today, the coaches let me know that it was a done deal – that they were offering me. I committed right away.”

Cope-Fitzpatrick is the fourth top-20 tight end offered by Colorado who has turned down Colorado. The others include: Christo Kourtzidis (committed to Florida State); Evan Baylis (from Aurora – committed to Oregon); and Taylor McNamera (committed to Arizona.

Back in May, Colorado head coach Jon Embree indicated that he wanted “2-3 tight ends from the Class of 2012″. The top recruits are now committed.

Next for the Buffs? Caleb Smith, from Kent, Washington, and Sean Irwin, from Cypress, Texas, are the highest rated tight ends on the board still carrying CU offers.

Hope springs eternal …

(From June 19th update): Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, the nation’s fourth-ranked tight end, was in Boulder Friday. “We didn’t have the money to spend the night and attend the camp on Saturday,” Cope-Fitzpatrick explained. Cope-Fitzpatrick, from Rocklin, California, is considered a four-star prospect, and has offers from ten BCS schools, including seven Pac-12 schools, Miami, Nebraska, and Iowa State. “It is a very beautiful place,” Cope-Fitzpatrick told BuffStampede.com. “Colorado has as nice a setting as any college in the country and the weather also surprised me. I thought it was going to be cold but it was nice. It was right around 70 degrees and sunny all day. The atmosphere is awesome. How determined their coaches are to getting Colorado back to being the program that was really successful also stood out to me. And their academics stood out. I met with an academic advisor and he told me about the programs that they offer at Colorado.”

Cope-Fitzpatrick has accepted an invitation to attend NIKE Elite Week at NIKE’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in July. He plans to narrow his list of colleges down after that event. “I am looking to have it narrowed down to around five or six,” Cope-Fitzpatrick said. “I’ll probably have it cut to five so that I can line up official visits with those colleges. I don’t have any favorites at the moment. I just want to see what is going to develop during this last little period of evaluation. After all the camps, I should have a pretty clear understanding where I stand with some different schools.” (Best bet: if USC offers, Cope-Fitzpatrick will accept. If the Trojans don’t have room on their limited offer sheet, then the Buffs have a shot).

June 22nd

Buffs in need of some good news

Colorado has two commits from the list of top players from the state of Colorado.

But that number might not go any higher …

The Rivals Top Ten Colorado Prospects:

1. Paul Thurston – OL – Arvada West

2. Cyler Miles – QB – Mullen – committed to Washington

3. Shane Callahan – OL – Parker – committed to Auburn

4. Joey O’Conner – OL – Windsor

5. Alex Kozan – OL – Castle Rock

6. Evan Baylis – TE – Aurora – committed to Oregon

7. Clay Norgard – LB – Highlands Ranch – committed to Colorado

8. Steve Donatell – QB – Highlands Ranch

9. Tyler Henington – DT – Mullen – committed to Colorado

10. Ken Davis – LB – Fountain

11. Arthur Flores – OL – Mullen

Okay, so I put in the top 11 – because the Buffs are recruiting Flores.

Colorado has not offered Donatell and Davis, so it is safe to say that, if Colorado is to make any more waves out of the Class of 2012 in the state of Colorado, it will be coming from a commitment from an offensive lineman.

So, let’s take a look at how the uncommitted linemen are doing …

1. Paul Thurston – OL – Arvada West … It’s not looking good for the home team. Thurston just got back from a second trip to Nebraska, and the Cornhuskers are looking like the favorites. “He’ll hopefully make a decision in the next week,” Thurston’s father told HuskerOnline.com about Paul’s future commitment. “He’s narrowed it down. We wouldn’t have visited the schools he visited if they weren’t on his higher list. I couldn’t speak for him as to who his top ones are. Obviously, Oregon is a big pull for him, Michigan is a big pull for him, and Nebraska is a big pull – so is Notre Dame. Those are the ones we visited.” According to a report on 24/7 Sports, Thurston has narrowed his choices down to a final three – Oregon, Michigan, and Nebraska – and that Thurston’s decision will be announced this Friday.

4. Joey O’Conner – OL – Windsor … O’Conner is heading out this weekend for an unofficial visit to Penn State, and he is taking his Windsor head coach Chris Jones along for the ride. Jones had a lot to say about several schools, though none started with the letter “C” … “He went to the Utah camp last week, after we ended our two-week spring football camp”, Jones told BlueWhiteIllustrated.com. “He was really impressed by the coaching he got at Utah, the way they delivered the message to him. He really liked their coaches, he got to work with Norm Chow a lot and Tim Davis, their O-Line coach, was with Joey the whole time. He really enjoyed that experience. Boise State has been hot and heavy, they’ve been really hot and heavy the past few weeks. I know they said they want to offer. UCLA has been high up there because Rick Neuheisel has done everything he can to stay in contact with Joey. When the head coach calls you, that plays a big role.”

5. Alex Kozan – OL – Castle Rock … Kozan is also turning his attention east. Next weekend, he is taking a grand tour, starting at South Carolina. “I’m going out July 1,” Kozan told Gamecock.Central.com. “I’m driving out and am going to see some other schools. South Carolina, LSU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and North Carolina, too.” After Kozan takes his trips, he plans on taking his time digesting the new information. “You know, right now I’m interested in pretty much every school that’s offered me,” he said. “I’m trying to get out and see those schools and see if it’s a good fit for me. It’s hard to say, especially when schools are far away because when you look at them it’s just a logo. You have to visit and see the campus, meet the coaches, that kind of stuff. That’s what I’m trying to do in the next month and then narrow it down to five or seven.” After narrowing his list, Kozan hopes to make a decision before the year is over. “I’m looking at making a decision in October. That’s when I think will be the best time for me. I want to take a couple of official visits and see what it’s like on game day and see some great games. By then, I’ll have a good idea of where I want to go.”

11. Arthur Flores – OL – Mullen … Flores has offers from a number of schools, including Boise State, San Diego State, Utah, UCF, Vanderbilt, and Wyoming. Flores reportedly has a top three – Colorado; San Diego State, and Utah. But … that could change if Flores were to receive an offer from Washington or Penn State. “If I got offers from (Washington or Penn State) it would be a hard decision,” Flores told Rivals.com. “I’m not sure where I’d commit right now but it would be tough to tell.” What is Flores looking for? “I just want to be comfortable with the coaches, see how the players are, I want to look at the depth chart and see how the school is with academics as well,” Flores said. “I want to see all that before I decide.”

So … four uncommitted offensive linemen left in the Top 11 in-state players.

Colorado will lose seven offensive lineman after the 2011 campaign, and is desperate need of new offensive line talent.

But the Buffs are not getting much love from the in-state talent …

… at least not yet.

 

June 19th

Summer Camps bring prospects to Boulder

Colorado has conducted several summer camps already, with their second skills camp this past Friday, and a Saturday Night Lights camp conducted in Folsom Field. The Saturday Night Lights participants were tested in the 40-yard dash, agility drills, seven-on-seven drills, and one-on-one drills.

The camps are not usually filed with top prospects. The reasons: the top recruits already have offers from Colorado, and do not need to prove themselves; many recruits can’t pay their own way to travel to Boulder, limiting the number of participants; and there are just not a large number of top prospects within the state’s borders to fill up the camp rosters.

A number of prospects who did make the trip were part of a group which traveled as part of the Barton Football Academy, based out of Issaquah, Washington. Some of the players who attended picked up offers.

Included on that list was tight end Caleb Smith from Renton, Washington. A three-star prospect, Smith has offers from 11 schools, including Washington, Oregon State, Washington State and UCLA. At 6’7″, 248-pounds, has indictated that he will take official visits this fall to Oregon State, Colorado, and Purdue. “I’m going to stick to my original timeline which was (to announce) after the season because I want to take all of my official visits,” Smith told Dawgman.com this past week.

Wide receiver Jamarr Graves is still trying to get noticed. To date, the 6’4″, 190-pound prospect only has offers from Colorado and Portland State. “If you live in Oregon and you don’t really put yourself out there, nobody is going to really look that hard for you,” Graves told BuffStampede.com in May. “So I have kind of put my name out there and it is starting to pay off.”
“Colorado said they like my size and my ability to catch the ball in the air. They said they are looking for bigger receivers for their offense. I haven’t done a lot of research on Colorado but I know they have a new coaching staff. From what I have seen and heard so far from them, I like it.”

Another receiver who was in Boulder was Trent Sewell, from Bothell, Washington. Considered a three-star prospect, Sewell has nonetheless to date only has two offers – from Washington State and UCLA. Still, according to Sewell’s father, Washington State, Cal, Utah, Colorado, UCLA, and Stanford were the six teams reported as being at the top of Sewell’s list.

One player Buff fans have been keeping an eye on is linebacker Jake Schany. A three-star prospect from Blair, Nebraska, Schany has liked Colorado from the start. Schany has offers from schools as divergent as Columbia, Ohio, North Dakota and Tulane, and was in Boulder this past weekend. “I am going to camps at Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Stanford this summer. There might be a few other colleges that I camp at in between those, but as of right now, those are the camps I have planned to go to,” Schany told BuffStampede.com last month.

“The schools that I plan to camp at, that haven’t offered, have all said they really like me on film but they want to see me in person at their camp. If I do well there and they like what they see, they said they are going to offer. So I am hoping to get a few more offers after the camps, but we’ll see. I haven’t narrowed down my list yet but I am hoping to know more about that after I go to all the camps this summer. I am probably looking to make a decision shortly after that, so maybe late June or early June, definitely before my senior season. But right now it is kind of wide open.” Schany has indicated that he wants to make his choice of schools known by the end of June, so stay tuned (Best bet: if Nebraska offers, Schany is gone. If not, Colorado might be Schany’s favorite).

Unofficial visits …

Two other prospects were in Boulder this past weekend, though not for the summer camps.

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, the nation’s fourth-ranked tight end, was in Boulder Friday. “We didn’t have the money to spend the night and attend the camp on Saturday,” Cope-Fitzpatrick explained. Cope-Fitzpatrick, from Rocklin, California, is considered a four-star prospect, and has offers from ten BCS schools, including seven Pac-12 schools, Miami, Nebraska, and Iowa State. “It is a very beautiful place,” Cope-Fitzpatrick told BuffStampede.com. “Colorado has as nice a setting as any college in the country and the weather also surprised me. I thought it was going to be cold but it was nice. It was right around 70 degrees and sunny all day. The atmosphere is awesome. How determined their coaches are to getting Colorado back to being the program that was really successful also stood out to me. And their academics stood out. I met with an academic advisor and he told me about the programs that they offer at Colorado.”

Cope-Fitzpatrick has accepted an invitation to attend NIKE Elite Week at NIKE’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in July. He plans to narrow his list of colleges down after that event. “I am looking to have it narrowed down to around five or six,” Cope-Fitzpatrick said. “I’ll probably have it cut to five so that I can line up official visits with those colleges. I don’t have any favorites at the moment. I just want to see what is going to develop during this last little period of evaluation. After all the camps, I should have a pretty clear understanding where I stand with some different schools.” (Best bet: if USC offers, Cope-Fitzpatrick will accept. If the Trojans don’t have room on their limited offer sheet, then the Buffs have a shot).

Another quality recruit in town for an unofficial visit was offensive tackle Walker Williams. The 6’7″, 320-pound, three-star prospect from Tacoma, Washington, is considered by Rivals to be the 55th-best offensive tackle in the nation. Williams has offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Utah and Wisconsin. “Right now I’m not going to camps and I’m not worried about impressing people,” told Rivals.com. “I have a good amount of options now. I’d love to increase my options but it’s not my No. 1 priority right so I’m not going out to do that.”

The one official visit Williams has set is for Wisconsin on September 30th (ironically enough, when the Badgers have a bye week). Williams reportedly had a good trip to Boulder, and was impressed with the “genuineness” of the Colorado coaches.

June 12th

Recruiting the defensive line

Colorado has five defensive linemen who will see their last games as Buffs this fall, including starters Curtis Cunningham and Josh Hartigan, along with everyone’s breakout senior-to-be, Conrad Obi. Throw in the loss of Eugene Goree, spring star Tony Poremba, and junior Forrest West (who has opted to transfer), and there is a definite need for more defensive lineman in the very near future.

Incoming freshmen Stephane Nembot and Juda Parker will help, but the Class of 2012 will have to be good – and be good soon.

When asked about his recruiting priorities for the Class of 2012, Colorado head coach Jon Embree stated he wanted “as many d-linemen as we can get or want to come”.

So, how many defensive linemen want to come to Boulder?

Colorado does have a commitments from defensive tackle Tyler Hennington from Mullen high in Denver and defensive end/inside linebacker Clay Norgard from Highlands Ranch. Hennington is considered to be a three-star prospect according to Scout, the 60th-best defensive tackle in the nation. Norgard, meanwhile, is rated as a three-star prospect by Scout, the 72nd-best defensive end in the country.

A good start, but who else is out there?

Defensive tackles

There are a number of high profile defensive tackles out there holding offers from the University of Colorado. The highest rated prospects, though, including Ellis McCarthy, from Monrovia, California (five-stars, No. 6 defensive tackle prospect nationally, Korren Kirven from Lynchburg, Virginia (four stars), and Tommy Schutt, from Glen Ellyn, Illinois (four stars, No. 7 defensive tackle prospect nationally).

Others who are include:

Aziz Shittu – 6’3″, 275-pounds, from Atwater, California. Considered to be a five-star prospect by Rivals, the 12th-best defensive tackle in the nation. Scout, meanwhile, ranks Shittu as the No. 6 defensive tackle in the country. Want to aim high? Hope for Shittu. A Stanford commit since April, Shittu recently reopened his recruitment. ”I want to leave no stones unturned,” Shittu told Scout.com on June 2nd. “I told myself before the process I wanted to take my officials and go through the process. I don’t think I gave everyone a fair chance to look at me. I want to see how everyone does this season, and see how the D-Lines do. Education is very important to me but so is the team.” So Shittu said he’ll spend the next week considering all his offers and start to pare a list. “I’ll make a top 10 in the next couple weeks, and talk to some coaches, and then I’ll have my top 10 ready,” said Shittu. Colorado has offered, but has not been mentioned by Shittu of late … don’t get your hopes up on this one. Rivals bio  Scout bio

David Deleon – 6’0″, 270-pounds, from Bamberg, South Carolina. Considered to be a three-star prospect by Scout, the 51st-best defensive tackle in the nation. Deleon has offers from over a dozen BCS schools, but Texas Tech and Colorado from west of the Mississippi. Once again, Colorado is in the mix, but not a favorite. “Tennessee and Illinois would have to be my top two right now,” Deleon told InsideTennessee.com on June 6th. Rivals bio Scout bio

Justin Solis – 6’3″, 287-pounds, from Westlake Village, California (home of 2011 CU wide receiver commit Nelson Spruce). Considered to be a three-star prospect by Scout, the No. 55 defensive tackle in the nation. Solis has offers from at least five Pac-12 schools, as well as schools like Boise State, Georgia Tech, and Nevada. In Solis, Colorado is very much in the discussion. In fact, Solis has Colorado ranked in the top two. “I like that UCLA is 35 minutes down the 101 and 405,” Solis told BuffStampede.com. “With Colorado, I know they haven’t been that great recently but I like what is going on there right now with [head] coach [Jon] Embree and their new coaching staff. I feel like they are turning that program around and it is going to be a top 10 or a top 25 program very soon. They are going to be on the rise.” Solis told eDuck.com the same thing, “I’m trying to figure out my top three or four right now, but the two schools that are definitely in it right now are UCLA and Colorado,” said Solis. But …… Solis may be just waiting for Oregon to offer. Asked about his interest in the Ducks, Solis responded: “Very high. I’m just hoping and waiting for an offer to come … When I was up there, what (the Oregon coaches) said is what they do is they take it very slow.” If Oregon does not offer Solis, Colorado may have a good chance at his services. If the Ducks do offer … Rivals bio Scout bio  

Zaheer Webb – 6’3″, 320-pounds, from Lakewood, Washington. Webb is not rated by either services, and on June 10th received his first Division 1-A offer from … Colorado. Does this mean that Webb is going to jump at the chance to play for a Division 1-A school? “It felt good to get my first offer. And now that I have that offer, it shows me that I have to work even harder to keep it and to get other colleges to show interest in me,” Webb told BuffStampede.com. Webb plans to attend camps at Washington, Oregon State and Washington State this summer. “I am trying to stay kind of close to home for college,” he said. “I really want to go to Oregon and I have interest in Washington, Oregon State and Washington State.” Rivals bio Scout bio

Defensive Ends

 As with the defensive tackles, Colorado has an impressive offer sheet. However, you have to slide down the list before you find prospects who are seriously considering the Buffs. On the list of offers, but who are not likely to suit up in the black-and-gold include: Adolphus Washington, from Cincinnati, Ohio (five stars; No. 3 defensive end nationally); Darius Hamilton, from Ramsey, New Jersey (five stars; No. 4 defensive end); Jeremy Castro from Murrieta, California (four stars); Troy Hinds, from Kaysville, Utah (four stars; No. 10 defensive end); and Martin Aiken, from Bamberg, South Carolina (four stars; No. 12 defensive end).

So, are there any defensive end prospects who like Colorado?

Kyle Kelley – 6’3″, 205-pounds, from Irvine, California. Kelley is considered by Rivals to be a four-star prospect, the 181st-best player in the country overall. Scout rates Kelley with three stars, the No. 36 defensive end nationally. Kelley has offers from a majority of the Pac-12 schools, as well as schools as far away as Florida and North Carolina State. Still Kelley, who was in Boulder for the CU spring game, likes the Buffs. “Colorado is losing a lot of seniors that are graduating so I would have a good shot of playing there early,” Kelley told BuffStampede.com on May 27th. “Colorado is the first school that I took an unofficial visit to and it is a great school. They have the most beautiful campus that I have seen. With the new coaching staff, they are really trying to turn things around and I believe that they will because I have heard great things about [head] coach [Jon] Embree and the whole coaching staff they have in place now.”

Kelley has already visited half of the Pac-12, including both Arizona schools, USC, UCLA, and Washington. “I get out of school on June 15 and after that I am making plans to travel east and go see some of the schools I have offers from out there: NC State, Florida, Vanderbilt and I might stop by Northern Illinois on the way there or on the way back,” he said. “Then I might go up to one of the Oregon schools. So I still have some trips to plan. But after I take those visits, by the end of June, I should stop traveling and that is when I will narrow it down. If there is one school that I really like at that point, I will commit. I am trying to commit before my senior season starts so I can focus on my team. But if I am having trouble figuring out which one I want to go to, then I will take some official visits during my senior year.” Rivals bio  Scout bio

DeForest Buckner – 6’7″, 225-pounds, from Honolulu, Hawai’i. Buckner is considered by Rivals to be a four-star prospect, the 248th-best player in the country overall. Scout rates Buckner with three stars, the No. 50 defensive end nationally. Buckner has offers from seven Pac-12 schools, including Oregon, both Washington schools, Utah, UCLA and Arizona. Back in March, Buckner listed Colorado in his top three, along with Oregon and Arizona. By April, though, Buckner wasn’t making any lists. “I’m just looking right now,” Buckner explained to UteZone.com. “I’m not picking any favorites right now. I’m going over all of them and seeing which are interesting.” 

Don’t look for a commitment from Buckner anytime soon. Buckner isn’t ready to name a favorite or even trim his list, as the junior plans on taking all the time the NCAA allows to make his decision. “Right now everybody is even,” Buckner told Scout.com. “I don’t have a leader.” However, as far as his official visits, Buckner knows that three of the five will be Oregon, Cal, and UCLA.

As for Colorado? “(Colorado linebackers) coach Brian Cabral is a really good guy, and he has been telling me about about their new staff,” Buckner told BuffStampede.com. “They are getting ready for their first seasaon in the Pac-12, so that is exciting”. Hoping for an edge? Colorado offensive lineman Kaiwi Crabb and incoming linebacker recruit K.T. Tuumalo are former teammates of Buckner at Punahou high in Honolulu.  Rivals bio  Scout bio

Buckner’s ultimate choice might depend on where his teammate, Luke Kaumatule, ends up. Speaking of Kaumatule …

Luke Kaumatule – 6’7″, 225-pounds, from Honolulu, Hawai’i. Kaumatule is considered by Rivals to be a four-star prospect, the 236th-best player in the country overall. Scout rates Kaumatule with four stars also, the No. 29 defensive end nationally. Kaumatule has offers from eight Pac-12 schools, along with BYU and Hawai’i. Kaumatule was asked by eDuck.com on June 2nd to name his top five choices: “Schools that would be in the top five are: Oregon, Stanford, Cal, UCLA …I don’t know, I’m just open-minded to whatever comes along.” That would be four schools, along with “I don’t know”. Perhaps Colorado could fit into that final spot, perhaps not. In May, Kaumatule told BruinBlitz.com, “Right now my parents are mainly telling me to go for education first,” Kaumatule said. “Then try and stay on the west coast second and then the best offer”.

What is Kaumatule going to be looking for in a college? “A safe environment,” Kaumatule said. “Good weather, hopefully like Hawai’i, but the weather is going to be whatever, I just want to be somewhere safe and get a good education where after college, if football doesn’t work out, then I will do good and have a good career.” Like Buckner, Kaumatule knows where he wants to take three of his official visits: to Stanford, Oregon and UCLA, with Stanford in the lead. Rivals bio Scout bio

Javonte Magee – 6’5″, 262-pounds, from San Antonio, Texas. Magee is considered by Rivals to be a four-star prospect, the 127th-best player in the country overall. Scout rates Magee with four stars also, listing him as the No. 11 defensive tackle nationally. Magee boasts a laundry list of offers, including six schools which start with the letter “A” alone. On the Rivals list, Magee shows offers from over 40 schools, including six Pac-12 schools, every Big 12 school except Oklahoma, eight SEC schools, and seven Big Ten schools. Whew!

So, what chance does Colorado have? Magee wants to be part of a package deal. Sam Houston high has three prospects who want to play together in college, Magee, defensive back Leo Thomas, and offensive lineman Raphael Green. We are a package deal, we are trying to go to college together,” Magee told BuffStampede.com on May 26th. “We have a real close bond, that is why we are all trying to go to the same college,” added Thomas. “We love to compete with each other. We just want to stay together. Of course there is always a chance that might not happen if we don’t get the same offers, but hopefully it will happen.” To date, Thomas only holds offers from North Texas, Arizona (recruited by former Buff Ryan Walters), Wake Forest, SMU, and Colorado, while Green only has an offer from North Texas.

The offer of a scholarship by Colorado to Leo Thomas has the trio looking at Boulder as an option. Colorado has a nice campus,” Magee said. “I heard it is real nice so I like it.” Added Thomas: “I like that they have a new coaching staff at Colorado. The coach I talked to (J.D. Brookhart) is real cool. They have a nice school and they have shown me a lot of love, so I like that.”

Javon Magee Rivals bio  Javon Magee Scout bio     Leo Thomas Rivals bio  Leo Thomas Scout bio           

How many of the above players will become Colorado Buffs next February? Hard to say. It would appear right now that Justin Solis and Kyle Kelley are the Buffs best bets.

What is easy to say is that if Colorado is to be successful in the Pac-12 during  the middle years of this decade, a few of these names will need to become household names in the Buff Nation.

June 8th

Mission Viejo offensive lineman likes Boulder

Colby Cyburt, a 6’5″, 265-pound offensive lineman from Mission Viejo, California, recently took an unofficial visit to Boulder.

“I really liked it, the campus was awesome,” Cyburt told SuperPrep.com. “I spent a lot of time with Coach Steve Marshall, the offensive line coach and he showed us around and we met all the coaches … I really liked the school. The stadium was awesome, the campus and the facilities are really nice. We met with Coach (Jon) Embree for about 30-45 minutes and we talked about a bunch of things, like what it would be like to go to Colorado.”

Colorado was the first school to offer Cyburt a scholarship, who is considered by Scout to be the 60th-best offensive tackle in the nation. The offer sheet, however, has grown to almost a dozen teams, with a number of other Pac-12 schools interested in signing Cyburt. Arizona, Stanford, Arizona State, Utah, UCLA and Oregon State have all extended offers.

Two schools not on the list, however - USC and Oregon – may be Cyburt’s first choices. “I’ve been talking with USC and I’ve been in really close contact with Oregon,” Cyburt told InsideTheUtes.com. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered within the next week.” Cyburt has taken, or plans to take, unofficial visits to Utah, USC, Stanford and Oregon. He hopes to have a decision before the  end of the summer. “I want to wait until, at the earliest, late August, but right now I have too many options,” said Cyburt.

Cyburt won’t have any trouble qualifying (he reports a 3.8 GPA, and has an offer to play football – at Harvard).

June 4th

Colorado recruiting in trouble?

Time to panic?

Nah.

True, Colorado only has three commits for the Class of 2012, with a fourth commit, running back B.J. Catalon, already having ditched the Buffs in favor of TCU.

True, three of the top four prospects from the state of Colorado have committed to play elsewhere – with two going to Pac-12 rivals.

But … it’s still not time to press the panic button … yet.

One comparison - Colorado commits by June 4th the past few years:

This time last year, Colorado only had one commit, linebacker Brady Daigh. On this date in 2010, Colorado had no commits. On this date in 2009, Colorado had no commits. On this date in 2008, Colorado had no commits. On this date in 2007, Colorado had three commits: DB Anthony Perkins; DB Lamont Smith; and QB Matt Ballenger.

You get the idea.

Not convinced? Okay, using the Dan Hawkins’ era as a yardstick is not setting the bar very high.

Then let’s try this … A look at the 2012 recruiting classes around the Pac-12 (to June 4th):

Arizona – two commits (including an unrated quarterback)

Arizona State – eight commits (including two with four stars)

Colorado – three commits (including one with four stars, quarterback Shane Dillon)

California – two commits (including a four star quarterback Zach Kline)

Oregon – five commits (including four star tight end Evan Baylis from Aurora)

Oregon State – two commits (neither with four stars)

Stanford – three commits (including two with four stars)

UCLA – two comits (neither with four stars)

USC – nine commits (all from California, including seven with four stars)

Utah – four commits (none with four stars, including quarterback Travis Wilson)

Washington – five commits (including one player with four stars, quarterback Cyler Miles)

Washington State -  two commits (neither with four stars)

See anything particularly frightening? Sure, the fact that two four star players from the state of Colorado have committed to play for Pac-12 rivals is gut-wrenching, but there are always extenuating circumstances which go with any recruit. Some want to play for particular coaches; some want to play for a team with a specific offensive or defensive style; some players just want to get out of town and live somewhere else.

Otherwise, Colorado’s totals (three commits; one a four-star prospect) matches up fairly well against the rest of the league. USC’s nine commits, in fact, could actually work to Colorado’s advantage (along with the rest of the league). As we know, USC is under NCAA sanctions for the next three seasons. The Trojans are allowed only 75 scholarship players starting in 2012. Presently, USC has 82 players on scholarship – and only 13 seniors in this year’s class. That would take USC down to 69 players come January – with a 75 player limit.

Does that mean USC will only be able to sign six players? No. With attrition and medical issues, the Trojans will likely be able to sign close to a “full” class, with a “full” class being restricted to 15 players. Thus, with nine verbal commitments already in line, USC has to be very selective about which players it offers over the next eight months. Knowing that the USC’s recruiting class is almost filled, other quality players will have to look around for other options.

Including Colorado.

Head coach Jon Embree assembled a coaching staff short on head coaching and/or coordinator experience, opting instead to bring in coaches who were noted for their recruiting expertise.

Buff fans will have to be patient in waiting for the recruiting class of 2012 to take shape.

Of course, posting a few “W’s” this fall will go a long ways toward making their job that much easier.

 

June 3rd

Miles to be a Husky

Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles, considered by Rivals to be the No. 2 prospect in the state of Colorado, and considered by Scout to be the No. 15 overall quarterback in the 2012 class, has made his choice.

Washington.

“Washington is perfect for me, because I wanted to pick a program that was on the rise, somewhere that I could make a difference, and really stand out. They also run the type of pro-style offense I was looking for.  Seattle is a cool city with a very strong fan base,” Miles told SuperPrep.com. ”I feel really good. I am excited about my decision. Ultimately, it came down to two things for me, the style of offense and the sincerity of the coaches. Washington was it for me.  Initially, I narrowed it down to three: Illinois, Tennessee, and Washington. But in the end I made my decision based on the people. I picked the school with the most sincere and energetic coaching staff, who I had the strongest relationships with, and also where I could see myself for the next four to five years.”

For those Buff fans who will be consoling themselves that Colorado already has a verbal commitment from quarterback Shane Dillon, and that Miles might not have wanted to be part of a two quarterback freshman competition, there is this – Miles is Washington’s second quarterback to commit from the 2012 class, joining Mercer Island (Washington) quarterback Jeff Lindquist. “I knew they were taking two. I am going in ready to compete. I am confident everything will fall into place,” said Miles.

Miles will have more talent to compete other than Lindquist, however. There are four quarterbacks on the Washington 2011 roster, with none a junior or senior. Sophomore Keith Price is the likely replacement for departed four-year starter Jake Locker this fall, with three years of eligibility remaining. Also on the roster is red-shirt freshman Nick Montana (son of Joe), sophomore Erik Wilson, and true freshman Thomas Vincent.

Under the Pac-12 schedule system, Colorado plays Washington, a member of the Pac-12 North Division, three out of every four years. The Buffs will play Washington in Seattle this fall, then host the Huskies in 2012, Miles’ freshman year (likely a red-shirt). If form holds, Miles will have at least one chance to play before friends and family before his career at Washington comes to a close.

We’ll just have to wait and see how it unfolds …

 June 2nd

CU out again?

Over and out

Cyler Miles has told OrangeandBlueNews.com that he has, with one day to go before his announcement, finally decided upon a final five choices of schools …

… and that list does not include Colorado.

 ”I narrowed it down to five schools and I’m making my decision on Friday,” said Miles. “My final list is Illinois, Tennessee, Washington, Florida, and Arkansas …

“I need to be able to picture myself there for four or five years living at the school and the city,” he said. “It’s going to be the school where I feel like I fit best on the campus and around the people there.”

The plan on Friday is for Miles to call all of the coaches and let them know his decision. “I’m just going to call the coaches then talk to reporters,” said Miles. “I thought about having a press conference, but I don’t want to make that big of a deal out of it.”

Guess there’s no reason for Buff fans to hold their breaths Friday …

June 1st

Will he stay or will he go?

Decisions, decisions ….

The race to land Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles is scheduled to end this Friday, July 3rd … unless it goes on until February.

The only constant in the speculation as to Miles’ choice of schools has been the announcement date. Back on May 19th (see story, below), Miles, the No. 2 prospect from the state of Colorado this cycle, and one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, had five favorties: “I cut my list to Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Colorado, and Florida”, said at the time.

What did Miles have to say about Colorado? “They are my hometown school; I have been there a lot,” Miles told BuffStampede.com. “They have a new staff with a ton of experience and some NFL experience. They are probably the most rising team in the new Pac-12. They have the new staff, and they have brought new life to the program and team and just the campus in general. They also have a pro-style offense.”

Then, on May 27th, the list was revised, with Colorado omitted: “My five are Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida,” Miles told ESPN.com (see May 27th story, below).

“I’ll make my announcement next Friday, June 3″, said Miles. “I took visits to all of those schools except Florida and Arkansas but I feel I know enough about each of them to keep them on my list. I’m excited about this and I’m looking forward to putting the recruiting process behind me.”

And now??

The second report, excluding Colorado, was apparently erroneous. According to a Scout.com report out of Oklahoma State, Colorado is back on, along with LSU. This would make the final list seven: Colorado; LSU; Florida; Arkansas; Tennessee; Washington; and Illinois.

I guess we’ll all find out on Friday …

Does It Matter? Does Colorado Need/Want Cyler Miles?

The dominoes are falling …

First of the elite quarterbacks to commit was Zeke Pike, a four-star quarterback prospect from Edgewood, Kentucky, considered by Rivals to be the No. 4 quarterback in the nation (and No. 72 player overall), who said “yes” to Auburn on April 20th.

Then Bart Houston, a four-star quarterback prospect from Concord, California, considered by Scout to be the No. 7 quarterback in the nation, gave his verbal commitment to Wisconsin on May 2nd.

Next, on Wednesday, May 11th, Travis Wilson, a three-star prospect from San Clemente, California, ranked by Scout to be the No. 17 quarterback in the country, declared that he wanted to play for Utah.

Then Shane Dillon, a four-star prospect from El Cajon, California, ranked by Scout as the No. 22 quarterback in the nation, gave his vebal commitment to Colorado on May 12th.

Most recently, on May 27th, Jake Rodrigues, a four-star prospect from Rocklin, California, ranked by Scout to be the No. 18 quarterback in the country, declared his intention to sign with Oregon.

Now it Cyler Miles’ turn.

If Buff fans were guaranteed that Shane Dillon would sign with the Buffs, the Cyler Miles announcement would not carry as much weight. Head coach Jon Embree has stated that he only intends to sign one quarterback this cycle, and, if the Colorado coaches are content with Dillon, it would be time to move on to other priorities.

But what if Dillon defects? USC, which was sniffing around Dillon’s high school last week, might be out of the picture due to limited scholarships. Miami, though, is reportedly also very interested, as are other schools.

With most of the elite quarterbacks finding a home for February, 2012, having Shane Dillon already lined up is a coup.

Landing Cyler Miles as well would be Christmas …

 

May 30th

Shane Callahan gives a verbal commitment to Auburn

The No. 3 prospect in the state of Colorado, offensive tackle Shane Callahan from Parker, has given a verbal commitment to Auburn. “There’s no other school that compares to it,” Callahan told AuburnSports.com. “It’s the best choice I could ever make.”

In the May 22nd update (see “Big Uglies” story, below), the 6’6″, 277-pound offensive tackle indicated that he was impressed with his trips to the SEC. ”I traveled to both Auburn and Vanderbilt and it was definitely a new experience,” Callahan told BuffStampede.com. “I really enjoyed the South … Football is the most important thing in the SEC. They have a joke that they thought they had the best football league in the world, but they found out it they were third … behind the AFC and the NFC. You hear that they don’t offer a good education down there, but they actually have great schools.”

Callahan was in Boulder for the spring game, and made several unofficial visits to campus. “They are definitely going to turn that program around,” said Callahan. “The team is looking better than it has in a long time, probably since the McCartney era. I definitely have a good impression of them. Coach Embree, their head coach, used their one allowed spring phone call, and called and talked to me. What other head coach would do that? That was impressive.”

Still, the improvements in Boulder were apparently not enough to sway Callahan from choosing Auburn. “I think I’m all done,” Callahan said. “Just set on being an Auburn Tiger.”

May 28th

Wide Receivers not flocking to Colorado

Wondering why Colorado keeps signing wide receivers as part of the 2011 recruiting class, long after the books on this year’s class have been closed elsewhere?

Concerned that the Buffs continue to fish in the shallow tide pools of the 2011 class, rather than take on the big fish of the Class of 2012?

There may be a good reason why Colorado signed Tyler McCulloch and D.D. Goodson (who had no offers from any other schools) after national signing day in February, has taken a flyer on senior transfer Logan Gray, and is willing to take a chance on Austin Vincent, who broke his leg midway through his senior season in high school.

These may be the best players Colorado can hope to sign.

Colorado needed wide receivers this recruiting cycle to supplement a relatively weak corps, but largely whiffed in February. The Buffs had their sights set on the likes of Devon Blackmon (who signed with Oregon), Devin Lucien (UCLA), and Cameron White (TCU). Instead, Colorado’s only signing day wide receiver was Nelson Spruce, whose status remains in flux after he was arrested for marijuana possession at his high school.

Jon Embree has stated that he is looking for 3-4 wide receivers from the recruiting Class of 2012, but, if the status quo holds, there may be more disappointment next February.

Here is the status of some of the wide receivers Colorado has offered …

Stefon Diggs is one of the top receivers in the class. The 6’1″, 189-pound prospect from Virginia was in Boulder for the spring game, but that may have been just a courtesy visit. Diggs ventured west with his good friend, Sherrard Harrington, who signed with Colorado in February. “Sherrard is a friend of the family. He has told me about Colorado’s program,” Diggs told BuffStampede.com in April. “I actually talked to their head coach, and he seems like a really nice guy, like a real man of his word.”

Since then, Diggs, who holds offers from over three dozen Division 1-A schools, has been making the rounds. Diggs has plans to visit Florida, Miami, and Florida State, and has visited Maryland. “Right now, all the Florida schools – FSU, Florida, and Miami – are standing out,” Diggs told MDHigh.com. “Then Cal, USC and Maryland are in there, too.”

Bryce Treggs is another top-rated wide receiver holding an offer from Colorado. The St. John Bosco (Bellflower, California) prospect is considered by Scout to be the No. 12 wide receiver prospect in the country, and plans to stay in Pac-12 country … unless he commits to Notre Dame. “I’m definitely taking (an official visit) to Notre Dame. I know that,” Treggs told IrishEyes.com. “They’re definitely in my top five.” Other than Notre Dame, Treggs is looking at the freshly expanded Pac-12, but perhaps neither of the new members. “Oregon is showing me a lot of love, (and) Cal, Oregon State, Washington and UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and Notre Dame,” said Treggs. “I’m still checking things out. I haven’t cut my list down yet.”

Notably absent from Treggs’ list of eight schools … the University of Colorado.

Gabriel Marks is a four-star wide receiver from Venice high in Los Angeles, California. The 6’0″, 175-pound prospects has offers from all over the country, from Boston College to SMU, to Pac-12 members Utah and UCLA. After a visit to Dallas last week, Marks was happy with SMU. “I’m still keeping my options open because I want to go and check out my other visits, but SMU is definitely the front runner out of all the schools right now,” Marks told BruinBlitz.com. “I have visited UCLA already. I’m going to take a visit to Utah and we will see from there.” Depending on how things go after his Utah visit, Marks will decide whether he wants to take a trip to Colorado.

Javon Williams is 6’5″, 175-pounds, and is one of the top prospects of the state of Arizona. Williams is considered by Scout to be the 48th-best wide receiver from the 2012 class, and has offers from at least ten schools, from Nebraska and Oklahoma State to Washington, Oregon State, and both Arizona schools, with Oregon, TCU, and Notre Dame also showing interest. So far, Arizona State is the only college has visited this spring. “I am just sitting back and watching the offers pile up for the time being, and think about how blessed I am to have this opportunity, because most people don’t,” Williams told BuffStampede.com in early May. This summer, Williams plans on visiting Arkansas and Oregon. The Ducks have an “in”, as Williams’ cousin, Dion Jordan, is a junior tight end for the Ducks.

Williams does, though, like Colorado. “I like the area of Boulder, it is nice,” said Williams. “It is the type of area that you can focus on football, and the new coaches are real friendly and I get along with them well. They are in the mix.” Safety, apparently, is a factor for Williams (while living in San Francisco before moving to Chandler, Arizona, Williams had two uncles, three cousins, and a boyfriend of his mother’s killed). “Colorado told me that Boulder is one of the safest areas in America,” said Williams. “They told me that I could walk around at three o’clock in the morning, and I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone bothering me or anything bad happening.”

Jeffrey Thomas is the No. 77 wide receiver in the nation, according to Scout. Thomas is 6’3″, 180-pounds, and plays in Duncanville, Texas. In the chase for Thomas’ services are schools like Georgia, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Cal, but Thomas likes Colorado. Thomas’ interest is thanks to Colorado’s wide receiver coach, Bobby Kennedy, who was the recruiting coordinator for Texas for the past seven seasons, and met Thomas at a Texas camp last summer. “When he changed schools he kept up with me,” Thomas told BuffStampede.com. He came out to spring ball (in early May) and offered me on the spot … I’m very interested in Colorado. They’re at the top of my list right now.”

Thomas hopes to visit Boulder this summer, and perhaps attend camp. “I still have to learn more about Colorado, but I like everything about it so far,” said Thomas. “I like the opportunity to play early, the Pac-12 is a great conference, and I like coach Kennedy. He has a lot of energy.”

Conner Crane is another wide receiver who does have Colorado on his short list. The 6’4″, 185-pounder is considered a three-star prospect by Scout, but is not considered to be in the top 100 of wide receiver in the nation. Colorado was the first to offer Crane, but several schools, including Kansas, Kansas State, Arizona, and Wake Forest, have already extended offers. Bobby Kennedy, Colorado wide receivers coach, has been in constant contact. “Coach Kennedy said he has been watching me for awhile, and he really likes what I have been doing, and just said that once he joined Colorado’s staff, he had to offer,” Crane told BuffStampede.com in April. “They don’t have a lot of receivers on scholarship right now, so I would have a chance to play early. So I like that.”

Kennedy and the Buffs, though, might be fighting an uphill battle. “Colorado and Kansas are probably the two schools where I have the best relationship with the coaches right now,” Crane told BuffaloSportsNews.com. Kansas has the advantage of still being in the Big 12, so Crane would be playing close to home every season (”That’s definitely an advantage for Kansas”). Plus, Crane’s mother is a Kansas alumna (”She tells me how great it was … but she’s not really pushing me in any way”). Lately, Northwestern has entered the picture. “Northwestern is definitely one of my favorites right now,” Crane told WildcatReport.com. “The only thing that separates them from Colorado and Kansas is that I haven’t visited them yet.”

Jordon Vaden is a wide receiver who wants to play for the Buffs, but does not yet have an offer. The 6’3″, 170-pound prospect is considered to be a three-star prospect by Scout, the No. 97 wide receiver nationally, while Rivals considers Vaden to be the 12th-best player in the state of Colorado this cycle. Still, Vaden does not have an offer from the Buffs. “I’ve been getting more mail from the schools who have been recruiting me,” Vaden told BuffaloSportsNews.net. “So I think the schools are really starting to gain interest. “Growing up in Colorado, it’s CU and CSU,” said Vaden. “Those are the top two Division 1 schools. So there is no doubt I would have interest in going to CU.” Vaden does have interest from Kansas State, Boise State, Utah, Oklahoma State, and TCU.

If the Buffs don’t take Vaden, Colorado State might. “He grabbed a lot of attention and got one of the top honors at the CSU camp,” Rocky Schneider, Vaden’s high school coach, told BuffStampede.com. “I believe he was named the best wide receiver in the camp. So Colorado State has definitely taken a huge interest in him. They have communicated that they hope to sign him.”

So, where does that leave the Buffs?

Colorado has offered a number of quality receivers, but to date has not received a verbal commitment from one, and the top receivers in the nation do not seem to be all that interested.

Just as was the case this past February.

Which may leave the Buffs hoping that the flyers they have taken on Tyler McCulloch, Logan Gray, and Austin Vincent work out …

 

May 27th

Buffs fail to make Miles’ final cut list

Less than ten days ago (see May 19th update, below) Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles announced his final five choices for schools. “I cut my list to Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Colorado, and Florida”, said Miles at the time.

Now, according to ESPN, the Buffs have been replaced. “My five are Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida,” Miles said. “Washington has a commitment but they’re taking two guys and still want me. The other schools have been recruiting me very consistently and I’m very comfortable with the coaching staffs at each of the schools.

“I’ll make my announcement next Friday, June 3. I took visits to all of those schools except Florida and Arkansas but I feel I know enough about each of them to keep them on my list. I’m excited about this and I’m looking forward to putting the recruiting process behind me.”

Speculation is that Colorado was replaced by Arkansas after Shane Dillon gave his commitment to Colorado. Buff head coach Jon Embree has been quoted as saying that he wanted to sign only one quarterback this recruiting cycle, and Dillon has agreed to fill that spot. At least for now …

With one of the top recruits in the state of Colorado leaving, it becomes imperative for the Buffs to hang on to Dillon. If Dillon changes his mind …

… well, we won’t go there.

May 23rd

Jon Embree’s philosophy on recruiting

Colorado coaches have some work to do to repair the image of the Colorado football program.

Five straight losing seasons; universally picked 5th or 6th in the first year of the Pac-12 South.

So, what’s a new head coach, with no head coaching experience, to do to convince a 17-year old that Colorado is the place for him?

“I just tell them about opportunity,” Embree told BuffaloSportsNews.net. “You’ve got an opportunity to be a part of something special. You have an opportunity from what we’re doing in the weight room to what we’re doing offensively and defensively to prepare you for a chance to play in the league. You’ve got a great opportunity to get a heck of a degree here in this environment.”

The biggest battle for the Colorado coaching staff, according to Embree, is just getting a high school junior or senior to come to Boulder to take a look at the program. “A kid comes here and it’s 65 degrees, he’s saying, ‘Where is the snow?’ It snows, but it snows up in the mountains. We’re not Vail,” said Embree. “That’s the biggest battle, getting them here. If you get them here, you’ve got a great chance.”

For his part, Embree is not worried about players who are only concerned about the team’s history. ”That issue has reared its head a couple times, but not as much as you might think,” said Embree. “There are some guys who are jersey chasers. They just want to go be on the team and then you`ve got guys who want to go make something happen and be a part of something special. Those are the kids you kind of get a feel for as you go through this process. They`re waiting to see how many offers they get and then go to the highest ranked school at the end. What they don`t understand is college football is cyclical. Where was Wisconsin three years ago?”. (Answer: 7-6)

As far as numbers, Embree is looking for a class as large as 28 players. “I think we will have three or four kids enroll early,” said Embree. “So that we have the ability to (to count them as part of the Class of 2011), and we can go pretty big in this class”.

The breakdown … “We’re targeting all postions,” said Embree. “We’ve got to build depth”. Specifically, Embree mentioned …

Quarterack: “We’re good at quarterback, obviously, but we’re going to target all positions”;

Tight ends: “I’d like to get two, maybe three tight ends”;

Wide receivers: “Maybe three, possibly four receivers”;

Offensive and defensive linemen: “As many d-linemen as we can get or want to come. Same on the offensive line”;

Kickers/punters: “I feel good about where we are from a specialist standpoint. So I don’t know if you get another one unless something drastic happens”.

The only eyebrow raisers on the list are the quotes on quarterbacks and specialists. When Embree said that “we’re good at quarterback”, was he including 2012 verbal commit Shane Dillon? Probably. Does that mean that Colorado will not continue to recruit Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles? We’ll see.

As to the specialists, if Embree “feels good” about where Colorado is at specialists, he is the only one. While Colorado will have a number of young kickers on the roster this fall (Zach Grossnickle and Justin Castor are sophomores, walkon Darragh O’Neill and Will Oliver are freshmen), who believes that the Buffs are set? Hopefully, Embree has seen something we haven’t, and that Colorado is, in fact, in a position to “feel good” about the Buffs’ specialists.

Interesting comments from the Buffs’ new head coach.

Jon Embree has yet to disappoint …

May 22nd

In search of … “the Big Uglies”

Colorado has had success running several different types of offenses through the years …

In the national championship runs of 1989 and 1990, it was the “I-bone”, with Darian Hagan, Eric Bieniemy, and Mike Pritchard dazzling defenses with their speed and elusiveness. In the mid-90′s, the running abilities of Rashaan Salaam were complemented by the new air show in Boulder. Kordell Stewart and Koy Detmer set new passing records almost weekly, throwing to the likes of Michael Westbrook, Charles E. Johnson, Rae Carruth and Christian Fauria. In the 2001 Big 12 title run, Colorado returned to its roots, with a power rushing attack led by Chris Brown and Bobby Purify.

Regarless of the style of offense, success for these Colorado teams began at the source … the offensive line.

Hagan and Bieniemy had the likes of Joe Garten, Jay Leeuwenburg and Mark VanderPoel to run behind. Stewart and Detmer were protected by future NFL players like Heath Irwin, Chris Naeole, and Bryan Stoltenberg. Brown and Purify? They found their paths to the endzone cleared by Andre Gurode, Marwan Hage and Victor Rogers.

For Colorado to be successful in the Jon Embree era, the offensive line will have to produce. The Buffs did lose Nate Solder to the first round of the NFL draft, but the remaining four starters return, led by Ryan Miller. At least three of the starters this fall – Miller, Ethan Adkins, and Mike Iltis – will be seniors, with contributors Sione Tau, Blake Behrens and Shawn Daniels also seeing the final snaps in a Colorado uniform in 2011.

Translation: Even with the four players (including grayshirt Alex Lewis) coming in as freshmen this fall, the offensive line will be a top priority for Colorado when filling out the recruiting Class of 2012.

As fate would have it, five of the top eight players in the state of Colorado this year are offensive linemen.

A match made in heaven?

We’ll see.

Here is an update as to the recruiting status of the top offensive line prospects in the state of Colorado …

Paul Thurston … 6’5″, 275-pounds, Arvada West … considered by Rivals to be the top prospect in the state of Colorado this year. Thurston has over a dozen BCS offers, including Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, Utah and Arizona State from the Pac-12, along with Nebraska, Michigan, Arkansas and Notre Dame.

Thurston has been making the rounds this spring. He was at the Colorado spring game, and has also been to Michigan and Notre Dame. Michigan has two offensive line commits for 2012, but is taking six, and is looking for Thurston to make up his mind. “They still have four spots, so there is no pressure,” Thurston told TheWolverine.com. “(Michigan offensive line coach Darrell Funk) will keep me informed, but wants me to have me make the decision.” Thurston was impressed with his trip to Ann Arbor. “I think I would put them at the top of my list, but I haven’t put it all down on paper and looked at everything,” said Thurston. “Just going off my memory and feel, they are definitely up there … It was a thousand times better than what I thought and what I have seen on TV. Actually being in the Big House, seeing the facilities and talking with the coaches, it was a really good trip.”

Thurston also enjoyed his trip to South Bend. “I think the biggest thing looking back is just all the tradition going on there. The Notre Dame coaches I believe are firm believers of that, and are going to continue that tradition on,” Thurston told IrishEyes.com. “Just going there and seeing the stadium and looking at all the former great players who had walked down the exact tunnel was pretty cool.” As was the case with Michigan, Thurston did not see the commute from Denver for his family to be an issue. “I do not feel it would be a problem for me. It was a short plane flight, and having my parents come out would not be that bad. But it definitely would not be a factor.”

Thurston’s trip the midwest may have moved up his announcement of his choice of schools. “You see all these big schools like Notre Dame and Michigan, and I definitely know these kinds of scholarships are not going to be around all the way until signing day,” said Thurston. “That is why I’m heading out there and seeing all of these places now, so I can make a decision before my season, or during it at the latest.”

Shane Callahan … 6’6″, 277-pounds, Chaparral (Parker) … considered by Rivals to be the third-best player in the state of Colorado this year (behind only Thurston and quarterback Cyler Miles (see Miles update, below). Like Thurston, Callahan has offers from Michigan, Arizona, and Utah, along with the likes of Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Washington.

While Callahan continues to entertain offers, he presently does have a top three – Colorado, Vanderbilt, and Auburn.

Callahan was impressed by his trips to the SEC schools. “I traveled to both Auburn and Vanderbilt and it was definitely a new experience,” Callahan told BuffStampede.com. “I really enjoyed the South … Football is the most important thing in the SEC. They have a joke that they thought they had the best football league in the world, but they found out it they were third … behind the AFC and the NFC. You hear that they don’t offer a good education down there, but they actually have great schools.”

Callahan was in Boulder for the spring game, and has made several unofficial visits to campus. “They are definitely going to turn that program around,” said Callahan. “The team is looking better than it has in a long time, probably since the McCartney era. I definitely have a good impression of them. Coach Embree, their head coach, used their one allowed spring phone call, and called and talked to me. What other head coach would do that? That was impressive.”

Callahan is looking to graduate in December, and enroll at the school of his choice in January. “I am probably going to make my decision around the end of the summer,” said Callahan. “The latest I would make a decision would be early during the football season.”

Alex Kozan … 6’4″, 295-pounds, Valor Christian (Castle Rock) … considered by Rivals to be the fifth-best player in the state of Colorado this year. Kozan has offers from almost twenty schools, including both Arizona schools and Utah from the Pac-12, along with both Kansas schools, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Illinois, LSU, and Iowa.

Unlike some of the other high school seniors Colorado is courting, Kozan does not have long-standing ties to the state of Colorado. Kozan was born in Ohio, and went to elementary school in Chandler, Arizona. This spring, Kozan took an unofficial visit to Arizona State, and the Sun Devils are high on his list of favorites. “It was great to see how things are set up now and see the program again,” Kozan told ASUDevils.com. “I like the practice set up and the weight room and training room are right there at the stadium. I like how they take their academics seriously and have an honors college that is one of the best in the country.”

Kozan has a checklist in mind when it comes to choosing a college. “The first thing is a program where they’re going to get me to be a better football player, a better person,” he said. “The second thing would be academics, a business school, how good the business school is. Third thing would be the coaching staff and my relationship with them and if I like them. Fourth thing would be strength and conditioning because that is very important to me. I want to see them develop their athletes. Also I would say my faith is important to me so that Christian influence is important to me.”

Kozan has taken several trips to Boulder, including some during spring practices. “Before when I had been up to CU, it was kind of dead (during spring break). It was great to see the students on campus and even though it was just an intrasquad scrimmage, Boulder had a game day like atmosphere (for the second team scrimmage) so it was a cool deal,” Kozan told BuffStampede.com in April. “The fans there brought a lot of excitement to it. Some of them were calling me out by name, which was pretty impressive given that I had never met them before. I found that to be kind of cool. I talked to [Colorado head] coach [Jon] Embree, [offensive line] coach [Steve] Marshall and [offensive coordinator and running backs] coach [Eric] Bieniemy. They have put a strong emphasis on trying to get the in-state kids. They talked all of us and told us that we can be the base of the program and help get CU back on top.”

Kozan plans to have his list of choices pared down to five by July, then visit each of those schools again this fall before making a final decision.

Joey O’Conner … 6’4″, 278-pounds, Windsor … considered by Rivals to be the seventh-best player in the state of Colorado this year. O’Conner has offers from nine schools to date, including Penn State, both Arizona schools, UCLA, Utah, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“It is definitely overwhelming and something I didn’t expect to happen,” O’Conner told ColoradoPrepReport.com. “I expected CSU and a bunch of DII schools. I never knew that I was going to get this big this fast.”

O’Conner liked what he saw when he took an unofficial visit to Boulder for the spring game, coming away with an offer of a scholarship. “I really like how dedicated the new coaches are to bringing back traditions and trying to turn the program around. I also like that they are going to try to be smash-mouth,” O’Conner told BuffStampede.com. “They told me (at the spring game) that they are going to focus on getting the Colorado guys before they go out of state. They asked, ‘Why not go to a program that is an hour away from your house and be part of the group that helps turn it around?’”

Still, O’Conner is in no hurry to make a decision. He has plans for spring and summer trips to Utah and Penn State, and perhaps Michigan. “Right now, I’m just going to enjoy the ride while I have it,” said O’Conner. “I’m going to keep all of my options open. I really don’t have a plan on when I’m going to make my decision. I’m planning on enjoying the ride.”

Arthur Flores … 6’6″, 300-pounds, Mullen (Denver) … considered by Rivals to be the eighth-best player in the state of Colorado this year. Flores has offers from at least a half dozen schools, including Boise State, Utah, UCF, and Vanderbilt.

Flores was on hand for the Colorado spring game along with teammate – and close friend – quarterback Cyler Miles. “We went up to CU for the second half of their Junior Day and then watched their spring game,” Flores told Rivals.com. “We didn’t go on the full campus tour but got to see their facilities, which are really nice. And their coaches are great. The offensive line coach (Steve Marshall) is a really cool guy. I really like CU. It is a nice campus, it is close to home and the academics are good, too.”

Flores likes Colorado, but is still holding out for his dream school, Penn State. “Penn State has always been up there because they’ve been my favorite team growing up,” Flores said. “We’ve talked a little bit but not as much as the other schools.”

Flores has visited Colorado State, and has plans to visit Boise State, Utah and Duke. I still want to see all my options before I decide,” Flores told BuffStampede.com. “I think the latest I would commit would be during the season. But I would like to commit before then so I don’t have recruiting running through my mind during games.”

So …. how are the Buffs’ chances with these five offensive linemen?

Colorado needs offensive linemen this recruiting cycle. Colorado coaches are trying to preach “stay at home” to the in-state kids. According to Kyle Ringo at BuffaloSportsNews.com, the Colorado coaching staff has rated the above five as follows: 1) Thurston; 2) Callahan; 3) O’Conner; 4) Kozan; and 5) Flores. O’Conner is rated higher then Kozan by the CU staff, according to Ringo, because of O’Conner’s “temperment”.

How many from this list of five sign with the Buffs next February is anyone’s guess. Colorado head coach Jon Embree said he is willing to take as many offensive linemen ”as want to come” to Boulder. “I think we will always go heavier in those areas (offensive and defensive line) any chance you can,” Embree told BuffaloSportsNews.com.

The number of high profile in-state recruits Colorado signs next February could be a bellwether of how well the recruiting pitch is resonating with potential prospects …

… prospects who haven’t seen the Buffs post a winnng record since they were in grade school. 

May 19th

Cyler Miles to announce June 3rd

Colorado already has its 2012 quarterback commit it Shane Dillon. There have been reports that Colorado head coach Jon Embree has indicated that the Buffs will only take one quarterback this recruiting cycle.

So what if Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles wants to be a Buff?

A favorite of the Buff Nation, Miles has narrowed his choice of schools down to five, and Colorado has made the cut.

Miles has offers from over a dozen BCS conference schools, including Notre Dame, LSU, Arizona State, Utah and Tennessee. Those schools, however, did not make Miles’ final list. “I cut my list to Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Colorado, and Florida”.

What did Miles have to say about Colorado? “They are my hometown school; I have been there a lot,” Miles told BuffStampede.com. “They have a new staff with a ton of experience and some NFL experience. They are probably the most rising team in the new Pac-12. They have the new staff, and they have brought new life to the program and team and just the campus in general. They also have a pro-style offense.”

Miles is considered to be the 160th-best prospect in the nation, says that he will sit down with his parents when it comes time to make a decision. Tops on his wish list is a school with a pro-style offense where the depth chart isn’t over-crowded with quarterbacks.

Colorado meets both requirements – unless Miles is concerned about the commitment of Shane Dillon, or Colorado really isn’t interested in signing two quarterbacks from the Class of 2012.

We’ll all find out June 3rd, when Miles is scheduled to make his announcement …

 

May 13th

Who will be the next Colorado running back commit?

With B.J. Catalon’s commitment to the University of Colorado lasting all of two months (see story, below), the Buffs are back in need of a premier running back recruit.

Who will it be?

There is certainly no lack of offers out there, as Colorado has offered at least a half dozen of the top running back prospects in the nation. In order of rankings, they are …

Brian Kimbrow, from Memphis, Tennessee. Considered to be the No. 16 running back in the nation by Scout; the No. 80 overal; player in the nation by Rivals;

D.J. Foster, from Scottsdale, Arizona. Considered to be the No. 18 running back in the nation by Scout; the No. 74 overall player in the nation by Rivals (rated as an “athlete”);

Keivarae Russell, from Everett, Washington. Considered to be the No. 20 running back in the nation by Scout; the No. 106 player in the Rivals Top 250;

Davien Payne, from Perris, California. Considered to be the No. 31 running back in the nation by Scout; as yet unrated by Rivals; and

Chris Brown, from Fresno, Calfornia. Considered to be the No. 34 running back in the nation by Scout; as yet unrated by Rivals.

Granted, Colorado has offers out there for other big fish, like the No. 1 running back in the nation (according to Scout) Keith Marshall, as well as Barry Sanders, Jr., considered to be the No. 7 running back by Scout, the No. 121 player nationally by Rivals … but those players don’t even have Colorado in their top 12 of schools they are looking at attending.

Realistically, though, if Colorado is going to land a “big name” running back from the Class of 2012, it will likely come from the above list.

Brian Kimbrow at least is considering Colorado, but he is also looking at more than two dozen other schools right now, and Colorado has not had the best of luck with Tennessee recruits of late.

D.J. Foster is a possibility. ”I want to get down there and see how things have changed and how they run their offense,” Foster told BuffaloSportsNews in April. “I’m kind of excited to see what their new installment is and everything and see if I can fit into it better.” Foster reported that he didn’t know any of current Buffs, but knows of Ray Polk, who was an opponent in Arizona.  The only schools in the Pac-12 that haven’t offered Foster to this point are the two Washington schools and Utah. Foster also has offers from Nebraska, Penn State, Auburn, Michigan, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

Davien Payne has a decent resume – and a great name. Payne is looking mostly to Colorado, UCLA, and Boise State. “Colorado said that if I commit to them, I would be joining their family,” the 5-foot-11, 213-pound running back prospect from Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill told BuffStampede.com last month. “That would be great because I didn’t have a family growing up. I have just been in the system the whole time. That is my main overall goal. I want to have a family at the college and people that I can talk to if I need to.” While UCLA was the first to offer Payne, it may be Boise State which the Buffs have to beat out. “I want to go travel to Colorado first and then I should be able to make my decision,” said Payne after visiting Boise. “I want to see how Colorado’s program is and see if it fits me because Boise State really fit me. I could see myself there. So if Colorado is a school like that too, it will be a tough decision.”

If you are looking for a name to cheer for, look no further than Chris Brown. The Fresno, California, native would be an instant hit amongst the Buff Nation, but is considering Arizona, Utah, Arizona State, hometown Fresno State, Missouri and Washington in addition to Colorado. “I have high interest in Colorado and Utah,” Brown told BuffStampede.com a few weeks ago. “I like the new head coach and the new offensive coordinator at Colorado. I have connected with Coach Bieniemy. I could definitely see myself playing for him.” For Brown’s services, it appears that Utah is the prime competition. “I like Utah for a lot of the same reasons I like Colorado,” said Brown. “I have talked to their coaches and like them. They told me about the environment at their school and I like what I hear. That is big for me. If I don’t like the city that the college is located in, there is no way I am going to want to go to school there.” 

There are other offers out there, and other players who have an interest in Colorado but have not yet received an offer from the Buffs.

No doubt, B.J. Catalon, considered to be the No. 37 running back prospect in the nation by Scout, would have been a good “get” for the Colorado coaching staff.

But, it’s still early. Signing day is still over eight months away …

 Catalon de-commits from Colorado; commits to TCU

Easy come, easy go …

The day after picking up a much needed quality recruit at quarterback, Colorado lost a quality recruit at running back.

B.J. Catalon, a 5’8″, 190-pound running back from Houston, Texas, has changed his commitment to TCU. “I’m a little dissapointed in myself for committing as early as I did to Colorado”, Calaton told PurpleMenace.com. “Colorado is a great school and I feel bad for letting them down. That’s how I feel, like I let them down. But, you know, I have to do what’s best for me and it’s too good of an opportunity at TCU for me to pass up.”

Catalon went on to say that he always had his heart set on on playing for th Horned Frogs. “It’s just that I’ve loved TCU for a long time and I knew that’s where I wanted to be” he said. “The Colorado coaches knew that if TCU offered, that’s where my heart was. I just love their campus, the facilities, everything. My grandmother lives 30 minutes from there and that’s where my mother is from originally.”

May 12th

The Domino effect

No, we’re not talking about pizza.

It’s the effect that the game of musical chairs has upon college recruits each recruiting cycle.

While many college prospects enjoy the flirtations from many schools, and bask in the glow of offers of scholarships from a multitude of programs, the fact remains that there are a finite number of scholarships to be granted by the major college football powers, and no elite player wants to be left without a chair when the music stops.

So, just like there is often a run on a certain position in the NFL draft (witness the number of quarterbacks taken early in this year’s first round), when a high-profile recruit commits to an elite program, the dominos start to fall into place.

That may be the reason that Shane Dillon is now a Colorado Buff.

Dillon, just a few weeks ago, was planning on waiting to announce his school choice. “I will probably make my decision in either October or November; towards the beginning of my senior year probably,” Dillon told BuffStampede.com on April 22nd. “Some coaches from big name colleges like Tennessee, Alabama, USC and Florida are supposed to be coming by to watch me throw this spring so that should be fun. Things are starting to get hyped up. And this summer I am going on the ‘Rock Tour’ with (his high school) Coach George Whitfield. We will be going to about 15 colleges in 10 days. I did it last year and that is actually when I got my first scholarship offer. It is a good opportunity to see a lot of schools in a short amount of time.”

Even as late as last week, Dillon was still entertaining offers from other suitors. “Utah just came out to my school last week and I’m VERY interested!”, Dillon told InsideTheUtes.com. “They are high on my board and a great school!”

So, what happened?

Well, first Zeke Pike, a four-star quarterback prospect from Edgewood, Kentucky, considered by Rivals to be the No. 4 quarterback in the nation (and No. 72 player overall) said “yes” to Auburn on April 20th.

Then Bart Houston, a four-star quarterback prospect from Concord, California, considered by Scout to be the No. 7 quarterback in the nation, gave his verbal commitment to Wisconsin on May 2nd.

Next, on Wednesday, May 11th, Travis Wilson, a three-star prospect from San Clemente, California, ranked by Scout to be the No. 17 quarterback in the country, declared that he wanted to play for Utah.

How much longer could Shane Dillon afford to wait?

Would the school of his choice still be available if he took the “Rock Tour” this summer?

Shane Dillon decided not to wait.

And the Buff Nation is stronger today as a result …

May 11th

Twin opportunities

Colorado is recruiting a pair of twins (more on that in a second), but it was Oregon which was first to do a double dip into the Class of 2012. The Ducks had only two verbal commitments until this week, when the figured doubled with the addition of Eric and Stephen Amoako from James Martin high in Arlington, Texas. Both are defensive backs (Eric is 5’11″; Stephen is 6’0″), and both will be playing for Oregon starting in 2012.

Kansas State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Purdue had also extended scholarship offers to the pair, but the Amoakos are heading to Eugene to play safety for the Ducks.

Will Colorado be able to pull off the same daily double?

The Buffs are recruiting twins Jeromy and Sean Irwin from Cypress, Texas. ”We are definitely a package deal,” Sean told BuffStampede.com. “Anyone that offers, they have to offer us both, or it is just no deal. We already decided that. So far we have the same offers, so wherever we go, we are going together. That’s the way it is.”

While twins, the Irwins are not projected to play the same position. Sean is 6′ 3″, 230-pounds, and plays tight end, while his brother Jeromy is 6’5″, 289-pounds, and projects as an offensive tackle. Colorado offered the pair “about two months ago”, according to Sean, and have since added offers from Louisville and Rice.

So far, Colorado is in the lead for their services. “I would say for both of us, our favorite would be Colorado,” said Sean. “We talked about that. We both like them … All of their coaches are really nice. I call coach McGhee once a week, and he’ll talk to me for 30 minutes. He is really friendly, and they are always looking out for my best interests and want me to succeed. That has made a strong impression on me. And I know my brother feels the same.”

This week, Oregon picked up a pair of commitments … perhaps Colorado will turn its own twin trick later this summer …  

May 10th

Rivals 250 announced

The initial Rivals 250 list for the Class of 2012 has been released, and there are some names of interest …

- Five players from the state of Colorado made the list: Paul Thurston, Offensive lineman, Arvada West, (No. 137); Cyler Miles, quarterback, Mullen (No. 160); Shane Callahan, Offensive lineman, Parker (No. 191); Joey O’Conner, Offensive lineman, Windsor, (No. 219); and Alex Kozan, Offensive lineman, Valor Christian (No. 226). Perhaps surprisingly, four of the five on the Rivals 250 from the state of Colorado are offensive linemen. Not surprisingly, Colorado has extended offers to all five.  

- The state of California, always of interest to CU coaches in the past – and even more so now – has a total of 30 players ranked in the top 250 in the nation, with 16 of those players ranked in the top 100.

- The state of Texas, third on the all-time list for producing Buffs, also has 30 recruits in the top 250.

- Overall, the six states which make up the Pac-12 have one-fifth of the nation’s top players, with 50 of the 250 coming from California, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Utah.

- From the Class of 2011, USC received commitments from 15 of the Top 250. Other schools in the Pac-12: California, 9; Oregon, 8; Stanford, 6; Washington, 5; Arizona State, 2; Oregon State, Arizona, Utah, and UCLA, one each (thanks, rward, for the research on that!). So, for those of you counting at home, that leaves just Colorado and Washington State from the Pac-12 which did not have a Top 250 player sign this past February.

On the good news side of things … Colorado is certainly stepping up its offer sheet, if not (so far) its commitment list.  On Colorado’s offer sheet, the Buffs have targeted at least 51 players who have already been assigned four or five stars by Rivals. The number of four and five star players will rise over the course of the next few months, as will the number of star prospects targeted by the University of Colorado coaching staff.

How many of the Top 250 will Colorado land? Certainly not 15, like USC did, despite theoretically being on probation, with the number of scholarships available subject to reduction (an aside, the four-to-eight weeks for the NCAA to decide on USC’s appeal has now stretched into its third month). However, it will be a significant blow to the Buff Nation, as well as the momentum building behind this new coaching staff, for the Buffs to be shut out in 2012.

 

May 6th

Evan Baylis to play against Buffs

Tight end prospect Evan Baylis, considered by Rivals to be the No. 4 recruit in the State of Colorado this recruiting cycle, has committted to play for Oregon.

Baylis, a 6’5″, 225-pound prospect from Grandview high (Aurora), was an unofficial visitor at the Colorado Spring game. At the time,  was planning on an early summer commitment. “I went to one of CU’s early spring practices and I could really see how [head] coach [Jon] Embree was trying to get the intensity up and I could see they definitely picked it up during the spring game,” Baylis told BuffStampede.com. “Their program is going in a really good direction. I got a chance to talk to [special teams coordinator and tight ends] coach [J.D.] Brookhart and Coach Embree on Saturday. They have made it obvious that they want the in-state guys. They have made that a top priority. … It would be nice if everyone from in-state did.”

All that changed this week. “After I visited (Oregon) in late March I really liked the school and had a good visit and kept talking to them,” Baylis told Rivals.com. “They came out and watched me practice and I get along with the coaches really well. It felt right to me and I wanted to get it out of the way before my senior year so I can focus on my senior season.”

So, why did Baylis, who had offers from over a dozen schools, including Utah, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona from the Pac-12? ”The big part was the coaches,” Baylis said. “Coach (Tom) Osborne and coach (Chip) Kelly, I got along with them. The campus is nice and it’s a nice little college town. You can get around in a good amount of time. It’s one plane ride away from home, it’s a direct flight. They have what I want to study and great football.”

Baylis becomes the first player in the Colorado prep top 15 to commit to another school (No. 6 Clay Norgard and No. 9 Tyler Hennington have committed to play for Colorado). 

May 3rd

Houston heading north and east … just too far north and east

Another quarterback prospect the Buffs were interested in has chosen another school.

Bart Houston, a highly sought after pro-style quarterback from De La Salle, California, has chosen to give his verbal commitment to Wisconsin.

“I met a lot of great people and great coaches this spring at lots of colleges, and it wouldn’t be fair to have the recruiting process go on so long,” Houston told Rivals.com. “I made up my mind a little earlier than expected.”

Houston was in Boulder less than a week ago (see April 27th update, below), and had offers from numerous schools, including Arizona, Iowa, UCLA and Washington. “The great people at Wisconsin really stood out,” said Houston. “I really liked the offense, and it really reminded me a lot of the offense we run. That’s why I decided to commit.”

With Zeke Pike committing two weeks ago to Auburn, two of the seven highly-rated quarterbacks who have received offers from Colorado have committed to other schools. For the names of the other five, scroll down to the April 20th update, below.

38 Responses to “Recruiting Prospects – 2012 (May/June)”

  1. BuffinSeattle

    I agree Mile High Buffs; let’s quit giving attention to those from CO who don’t give the BUFFS any acknowledgment. It’s time for the few quality DI football players of our state to stand up for it or get lost in the pile. Give proper recognition and keep the commits encouraged that CU was the right choice; the rest… don’t get too buried on the depth charts.

  2. Mile High Buffs

    We didn’t stand a chance with o Conner any way neither did any of the other schools. He was just waiting on Penn State is all, he got the call and made the call , have fun at Penn State. I never heard of you tell recruiting picked up this year won’t hear about you when its over.

  3. JW Blue

    not showing up in Scout’s database doesn’t bother me a bit. That has to be the worst run scouting service around. I’ll take JE’s talent analysis anytime over those has beens and never was.
    Everyone is running around whining like all the good ones are gone. That may be true in the O line position here in Colorado but there are kids out there who are going to start for the first time in all the other positions now that a lot of seniors have graduated. We still have an entire high school season to go remember?

    Come May after his first year at NE I would really like to get a candid answer from Thurston about his choice. Don’t forget he will be coming back to Colorado (albeit Arvada)for breaks that remind him what he is missing.

  4. Rob Thompson

    I loved Coy as he matured but he was terrible early on, in fact, that was when the Buffs began the descent into nothingness. What made Coy such a great QB was the unbelievable talent that surrounded him. If you put Coy in the lineup today I seriously doubt it would make a difference with the lack of speed at Colorado today.
    I know that there is hope for the future under Embree but I do not think it will come as fast as most. 2011 might produce 5 wins, 2012 probably will be worse due to the team losing most of it’s true talent but 2013 I think is when we will really begin to see the investment payoff. 2014 is the year I see the wheels back on this team and the giant killers will have returned. Looking back at the McCartney hiring after the dismal Chuck Fairbanks years it took almost four years to build a decent program, it took Neuheisal only two years to destroy it.

  5. Michael

    This Thurston committment is a different situation than Cyler Miles. CU is losing what, 7 OL players next year? Thurston would have had the opportunity to have an early impact in Boulder and instead chose to go stand in line at Nebraska. That’s really tough to accept. ANYWHERE but Nebraska, YUCK!
    Good luck to him. If he sticks to his verbal committment, he’ll need it.

  6. Rob Thompson

    Colorado’s best talent has traditionally come from Texas and California. Colorado does not appreciate High School Football, you might think we do, until you see a game in another time zone where the atmosphere is closer to a college stadium than a run down half empty barren football field. Cyler Myles dropped CU from interest because he knew Embree was going to better deal him the first chance that he had. Cyler would probably have been a four year starter if he had commited to CU but now he will warm the bench at Washington for his entire career there, I hope he likes the campus and especially 40 days of sunshine every year.

    Coach Embree must have allot of faith in Stevie Dorman. I think that it was a mistake to announce his intention of only signing one QB this early. CU is probably facing another heartbreak at the QB position because of this. Shane Dillon could go the trodden path of Brock Bergland any day and leave CU with another Coy (Watch me throw 7 interceptions in a game) Detmer. Think about it, when was the last time a skill position player at CU was a high rated recruit out of high school? You have to go back quite a few years. The 4 and 5 star recruits are a joke and the coaching staff has been filling the void with 2 star (AWESOME SPEEDY STEWART)and walk on/ Transfers such as Chris Brown and Joel Klatt. I would not get your panties in a bunch because Colorado players are being exported annually. Texas and California bleed Silver and Gold for life and I’m sorry but they come to CU better prepared to play football at the FBS level. CSU can have the Colorado talent. CU moved to the PAC 12 so we could steal their talent, if ours was all that we could have continued to scrape by in the Little XXII with the kids from Colorado. BTW, I am a native and even though I am pissing allot of people off with my honesty I am merely calling it as I see it and I have been following the Buffs since 1981. What made Colorado one of the greatest programs in the Country during the late 80′s through the mid 90′s was it’s ability to recruit the best talent in the country, not the state.

    GO BUFFS!

    • OzBuff

      I don’t fully understand that analysis. You simultaneously exalted TX recruits over CO recruits and then denigrated 2 CU TX recruits- Koy and his nephew. Koy Detmer was arguably the best pure passing QB ever to play for CU. Aside from his skill, his leadership and enthusiasm were infectious. That’s what enabled him to make in in the pros despite substandard measurables. If that’s not enough have a look at his record and the rankings of his teams and compare that to any CU QB since. If Dorman lives up to Koy’s legacy I for one won’t be complaining.

    • Colorado Native

      I agree, you have to be able to go into Texas and California and sell the fact that you will play early and you will play often. That being said, when Colorado does produce a talented player, you have to show them the love too. As we are not known as being a high school football factory, a lot of these kids don’t get the attention that they might otherwise receive in another state. We need to make sure that we get the Nate Solders of Colorado, in addition to the Texas and California “stars”. Never turn your back on your own back yard.

      In the end, show some commitment to the program; put up a few wins up on the scoreboard, and the recruiting issues will be resolved. I do feel that Embree is a solid X’s and O’s coach and will be a positive influence on the player’s lives and will run a program of integrity. I do not question his commitment to CU.

      Here’s where I struggle, how about the administration? What do they want out of the program? That’s the million dollar question.

  7. Adam

    I may be in the minority here but among my favorite faux experts are the folks who tout high school players as part of the college recruiting process. I do not pretend to know the numbers on % of 4 and 5 star players who turn out to be All-American caliber players vs. the 1 and 2 star recruits whose careers follow a similar path.

    That being said, I think that for present purposes Coach Embree and his staff are guys whose name recognition among alumni (at least of a certain age such as those of us from the late 80′s) might be significantly higher than it is among high school kids. I know that he comes back to Boulder from the NFL as does our OC but given that it seems we have dug ourselves a bit of a hole these past few years, it is probably overly optimistic to think we are going to dig ourselves out of it in one fell swoop.

    We are also a lifetime away from Signing Day. Hopefully this season will be a good one for the Buffs, both in terms of win/loss record and in terms of playing a style of football that high school players look at and think, “Yep. I want to be a part of that.” If so, then one would hope that between Opening Day in Hawaii and National Signing Day we might be able to secure commitments from kids who – right now – have verbally expressed a preference to go elsewhere.

  8. AZBuff

    Maybe this is wishful thinking but I for one will consider Stevie Dorman at least a 3 star recruit based on his stats in high school, and his pedigree. We all know that his coach did not contribute to either of the scouting services so therefore he is somewhat of an unknown if one bases all recruiting on these services. For anyone who has followed football for any amount of time there are a number of can’t miss prospects but on the other hand there is a certain amount of luck in projecting these 18 year old kids to a college fb career. I want to see how the current QBs on the roster are evaluated after the August training camp is finished and then will get concerned if none of them challenged Tyler at times during that period.

  9. Michael

    Meh, no worries. He’s a good kid and a very good player. Its a loooong way until next February so he could change his mind, but you had to figure he would not pick CU once Dillon made his choice. I say good luck to him,except when the Dawgs play the Buffs!

  10. JW Blue

    so Lebron……er Cyler Miles wants the school where it feels the best, even though he hasn’t even visited 2 of his top 5

  11. Rob Thompson

    Why in the hell did Embree announce to the public that he will only be taking one QB? Suppose Dillon decides he will take an offer from Miami at the last minute, what do you do? I have a bad feeling about this. Tyler has improved but even with the 2011 crop it is slim pickings down the roster when looking for a decent QB.

  12. Michael

    USC and Miami sniffing around our boy Dillon, per his HS coach, but he’s content w/CU and Coach Embree. Stuart, what are you hearing?

  13. vk

    Cyler has the Buffs in the top 5? I recall a LB from Mullen who said that once.

  14. Michael

    Hey Stuart

    Any news on OL commits? We need to keep the “big uglies” in state!

  15. Dennis Driscoll

    So I did some more research on our new quarterback. He truly does have major upside. He has the frame to bulk up to 220-230 pounds. However, we’ve seen quarterbacks who are 6’5 and top around 200. Basically he can be the next Carson Palmer type of quarterback or Ken Dorsey. I’ve heard that he doesn’t have the strongest arm but he has a quick release and he can scramble. I know that we all gave Cody Hawkins loads of crap, and he did deserve it at time, but he did have a quick release. So I ask this: Dillion is just a taller version of Hawkins? Heck, I bet if Cody was 6’1 or 6’2 he would of been a decent quarterback and probably would of won a couple more games. So I don’t know, that’s just my view.

    • Michael

      Interesting. Don’t know if that’s flattery or damning with faint praise. IMHO, Dillon’s much more athletic with natural talent than Cody. As resourceful as Cody was, he lacked size, speed and strength. He made up for his weaknesses with smarts, guts and a HUGE heart. Guess it could be worse than have Dillon end up w/ CU records for touchdowns and passing yards?

  16. Michael

    Hinder is a good comparison but Dillon has more upside IMHO. Check out this youtube video on the kid’s footwork. If he can’t play footbal he can be on dancin with the stars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWdt1flF5gg

    • mtnbyker76

      Amazing clip on his GIANT footwork! I mean he can dance with those 16 feet! I watched some game clips on him in action and wonder why he’s only a 3 star recruit. I’m sure his status is going to go up after his senior year. He does have some zip on the ball especially rolling out, but I don’t know if he has strength to throw the long ball because is really didn’t show much deep post throws. He can move though and with his HEIGHT (hmmm) he really shows excellent vision and ability to look to 2nd, 3rd, receivers. I hope he sticks because Coach is putting allot of stock into him by closing the quarterback recruiting so early…..

  17. Dennis Driscoll

    I just watched the recruiting video of Dillion on Youtube. He reminds me of Colorado native and current Cal quarterback Austin Hinder.

  18. JRBUFF

    Why do we even use the word “commit” (or any derivative thereof) when any of these kids tell us they are going to play somewhere? Is there not a better word to describe their “commitment”? Look up the word in the dictionary. Maybe “plans to attend”, etc. would better describe their INTENTIONS.

  19. CUBuff85

    Catalon, Dillon, etc… they will all change their mionds probably four more times. It would be interesting to see a study on how many kids commit in the spring and summer months and actually sign with that school in February.

  20. Michael

    Highly regarded QB – Travis Wilson commits to Utah. When are the Buffs gonna get our QB, Stuart? Cyler Miles? Shane Dillon?

    • buff4life77

      Done Shane Dillon 5-12-11 Michael think you could ask when we’re going to get our o-linemen, you seem to get quick responses to your ?

  21. JW Blue

    I’m flabbergasted that “coachin em up” even got 7% in the poll.

  22. JW Blue

    Reading between the lines, Callahan seems to be the only one that is really taking CU seriously. Can’t believe Nebraska would recruit him with that name.

  23. JW Blue

    It is sick how many of those QB’s above are looking at ND. Glad to hear Miles has “cooled” on them. Being a Colorado kid, he is the one I would like to see commit anyway.
    I will always cheer for whoever is playing Notre Dame and that includes Nebraska. I don’t even bother to watch the ND Michigan/Ohio State contests. I couldn’t bear the thought of contributing to their ratings. All are a bunch of overblown dinosaurs. It will be interesting to see how Nebraska recruits in the big 10.

  24. Jim Armitage

    I note the Brandan Brisco wants to major in law. Can’t hurt the team GPA.

  25. Mile High Buffs

    Embree also announced that five players will not be returning to the team this fall, including two for medical reasons, senior offensive guard Max Tuioti-Mariner and junior receiver Will Jefferson. Both have knee injuries, and in Tuioti-Mariner’s case, he has undergone multiple surgeries that has prevented him from playing since early in the 2008 season, when he had worked his way into the starting lineup prior to tearing an ACL in practice after just three games.

    Junior defensive end Forrest West and redshirt freshmen tight ends Henley Griffon and Harold Mobley will also not return.

    Jefferson saw action at both receiver and running back in 2010, catching 14 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown, while rushing 23 times for 137 yards in playing in all 12 games. West had 19 tackles, including five-and-a-half sacks in 258 plays a year ago, appearing in 11 games.

    Embree did not want to elaborate on the details other than to say that, “They won’t be invited back to be part of the program in the fall. We will work with them to see if we can place them elsewhere.”

  26. Abs22CU

    Any word on the TE out of Orange County that is suppose to visit Boulder? Is he part of the group going to the spring game?

    I need some football talk today after the heart breaking loss last night to Bama…

    • Stuart

      Hey Abs, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Hope you are over the NIT loss …

      Christo Kourtzidis is a 6’4″, 240-pound tight end from Lutheran high in Orange County, California. He also plays defensive end for his team, and holds offers from Florida State, Washington, Nebraska, and Washington State (so far).

      Kourtzidis is coming to Boulder, but probably not for the spring game. “I plan on getting out there some time this spring or summer” is what Kourtzidis told BuffStampede.com. He likes linebackers coach Brian Cabral, who is recruiting him. He said he is also talking with tight ends coach J.D. Brookhart.

      “As far as the schools that have offered me, I’m considering all of them,” said Kourtzidis. “I’m trying to keep all my options open.”

      With Embree’s comments about the tight ends’ play after the 3/31 practice – “We need more” – Kourtzidis will be a prime target for the Buffs this recruiting cycle.

  27. JW Blue

    thanks again for being the number one source for CU football fan info

    • Stuart

      Thanks for the kind words – and the posts.
      A dozen more like you, JW, and we’ll have some real good comment sections going!

  28. Michael

    Buffs just picked up 2012 commit from Mullen DE Tyler Henington. Kids a stud a good sign of things to come with a Mullen pipeline.

    http://www.denverpost.com/preps/ci_17683018

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