January 1st

Official visit list still sparse

As the calendar changes over to 2011, and the end of the dead period coming on Monday, the month-long race to signing day on February 2nd will shift into high gear.

Or will it …?

Colorado has around 50 official visitations still available, and only four verbal commitments to its credit. Seemingly, the opportunity is there for head coach Jon Embree and his new staff to bring in a busload of prospects in hopes of augmenting what is to date a sparse class.

However, to date there are only a half dozen or so known visitations scheduled for January, and two of those – offensive lineman Marc Mustoe and wide receiver Nelson Spruce – are already Colorado commits.

Two of the other known visitations are coming from Hawai’i, as four-star offensive lineman Paulay Asiata and three-star defensive end Lake Koa Kaai will visit on January 22nd. Asiata has already taken an official visit to Washington, and it appears as if it will come down to a choice between the Buffs and the Huskies. Koa Kaai, meanwhile, has already taken official visits to Oregon, Nebraska, and Arizona, with his two remaining visits going to be Colorado and likely Stanford. Koa Kaai is not scheduled to make his trip to Boulder for another three weeks, but he told HuskerIllustrated that he may make a decision without taking any further trips (which obviously does not bode well for CU’s chances).

The much sought after wide receiver recruit Devin Lucien will be in Boulder on January 22nd as well. The four-star wide receiver recruit from Encino, California, has taken official visits to Arizona State and Kentucky, and will visit Michigan next weekend and UCLA the weekend of the 15th. Lucien also has new offers from Nebraska and Texas A&M, and will make his announcement at his high school on January 30th.

The last reported recruit who has scheduled a visit is linebacker recruit Woodsen Greer. A three-star prospect from Gardena, California, Greer has already taken an official visit to Arizona State, and will visit San Jose State on January 7th before coming to Boulder the weekend of January 15th. Greer also has an offer from Michigan, but has not scheduled an official visit to Ann Arbor. Greer told Scout.com that he was leaning towards Arizona State, but that he would not make an announcement until signing day.

That’s it for now … but as Eric Bieniemy concludes his NFL responsibilities Sunday (along with, presumably, CU’s new quarterbacks’ coach), look for more visitations to be scheduled later this week.

Next CU quarterback an ODU transfer?

Colorado head coach Jon Embree, after withdrawing a scholarship offer to Nick Sherry, and having Brock Berglund defect to Kansas, has been quoted as saying that he still intends to sign a quarterback this cycle. Embree has also been quoted as saying that he has a couple of “under the radar” recruits in mind.

Perhaps CU at the Gamer Brent Garrett has found one … Brent sent me this article from a Norfolk, Virginia, newspaper … http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/backup-quarterback-blackman-leaves-odu. In the article, Old Dominion quarterback Dominique Blackman says that he has asked for his release from the school so that he can return to the west coast. The 6’5″, 250-pounder from Los Angeles asked for his release. “I love ODU,” says Blackman. “I just feel that I can play at a BCS school, and I don’t want to have that regret later.”

Blackman originally signed with Washington as a part of the Class of 2008, but left the team after one season when he was asked to switch from quarterback to tight end. In one season (2009) at Los Angeles Harbor College, Blackman threw for 3,711 yards and 35 touchdowns before transferring to Old Dominion.

In order to be eligible to play in 2011, Blackman has to file an appeal with the NCAA. Blackman indicated that he will file such an appeal, in hopes of joining his new team this spring. In addition to Colorado, Blackman indicated that he has interest in UCLA, Kentucky, West Virginia, Hawai’i, and Boise State.

As a high school senior from Carson, California, Blackman was considered to be the 27th-best pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, and the 58th-best quaterback prospect overall by Scout.com. Blackman had offers from Nebraska, Arizona, Kansas State and Arizona State.

It sounds like Blackman has a long road to travel before he can become a Buff. But it also sounds as if he has already traveled a long road …


December 30th

Make that “had” a shot at No. 1 Colorado prep recruit

A day after the Buffs  appeared to have a chance at landed the No. 1 recruit in the state of Colorado, the chance evaporated.

Rivals.com issued its revised list of top players for the state this week, with linebacker Leilon Willingham moving up to No. 1. The previous No. 1, offensive lineman Brendon Austin, had already commited to Stanford. And now, Willingham has committed to play for Texas A&M. “It’s been on my mind all day (Wednesday),” Willingham told AggieYell.com. “It’s been A&M, A&M, A&M … They have a good defense. It’s big time. I have been talking to coach (Dat) Nguyen. He talks about the Wrecking Crew and graduating  on time. That’s the main thing.”

As things turned out, Colorado wasn’t even on Willingham’s list of finalists. Arizona State, Washington, and Central Florida were listed as those schools Willingham was most interested in.

Want to add insult to injury? Remember Mister Jones? Jones was a four-star running back recruit in the Class of 2010, who de-commited from Colorado and signed with Texas A&M last February. “I talked to Mister Jones,” said Willingham. “We have been talking a lot about this decision. He was telling this was one of the best decisions he has ever made.”


Best of luck to Mr. Willingham, but this is a “get” which would have been turned some heads as Colorado looks to salvage something out of the recruiting Class of 2011.

December 29th

Buffs have shot at No. 1 Colorado prep recruit

Rivals.com has issued its final rankings for Colorado state high school prospects, and the new No. 1 recruit, linebacker Leilon Washington has yet to choose a school. Washington moved ahead of Chaparrel offensive lineman Brendon Austin in the final rankings (Austin has already commited to play for Stanford), and Washington is still considering Colorado, though Arizona State is considered to be the leader.

Colorado commit Brady Daigh moved from No. 10 to No. 3 on the list. The Mullen linebacker earned the upgrade from the preseason rankings after posting a 141 tackle season.

The other Buff commit on the list, Arvada West offensive lineman Marc Mustoe, remained at No. 5 on the Rivals list.

Last season, Colorado did not sign any of the top ten players on the Rivals.com list of top ten state prep stars.

December 28th

McClure has one visit left to take

Defensive back Stefan McClure is perhaps the highest-rated prospect still out there who is considering the Buffs.

McClure, who is considered the 5th-best cornerback in the nation in this year’s class by Rivals (7th-best by Scout) took his official visit to Colorado on October 1st (the weekend of the Georgia game). McClure has also taken official visits to Washington (in September), Oregon State (in November), and Boise State (in December). His last official visit will be to UCLA, on January 14th.

McClure has offers from at least ten of the Pac-12 teams, along with offers from schools like Miami and Boise State. While McClure has no stated favorite, Brandon Huffman, the West recruiting manager for Scout.com, believes that McClure will end up with UCLA, which Huffman states is McClure’s “childhood favorite”.

December 27th

Lucien to name his school on January 30th

Highly sought after wide receiver recruit Devin Lucient is a popular young man.

The four-star wide receiver recruit from Encino, California, has picked up offers from Texas A&M and Nebraska in the past week. Lucien now has over a dozen offers from BCS conference schools, but has narrowed his list down to seven: Lucien has already taken official visits to Arizona State and Kentucky, and will visit UCLA, Colorado, and either Nebraska, Texas A&M, or UCLA in January (the CU visit will be January 21st). Lucien will then announce his decision on January 30th.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I would have this many offers, so I’m just looking at everyone,” Lucien told Scout.com. “It’s still kind of fun, but you’re always stressing because you don’t really know where you want to go. But it’s a good stress to have. I’m fortunate and blessed to be in this position.”

The 6’1″, 190-pound recruit had over 1,300 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns in his senior season.


December 26th

Tuumalo makes a decision

The story about Hawai’i linebacker recruit on December 23rd began, “K. T. Tuumalo is using the recruiting dead period to catch his breath.” A fair conclusion from Tuumalo’s quote: The break for the holidays is a pretty good stop to get a rest and be able to just think about things”.

Break’s over …

Three days after Tuumalo said he was going to take two more visits in January before deciding, including a trip to Boulder, decided Sunday to give his verbal commitment to Boise State.

Tuumalo had already taken an official visits to Boise State (“the passion that they have for the game stood out”), Arizona (“the campus was really nice”) and Oregon State (“a good mixture of football passion and a good general area”), but Colorado was supposed to be still in the running. “Colorado was the first school to offer me, and that is really cool about them,” Tuumalo said last week. “Coach Cabral has coached a lot of great linebackers there … He knows it’s late in the recruiting cycle, but he still wants to try and get me.”

Oh, well.

It remains to be seen whether Tuumalo will take an official visit to Colorado in January, or even if the Buffs want him to make the trip.

December 24th

Do Buffs have a shot at four-star wide receiver?

Devin Lucien is a four-star wide receiver prospect from Encino, California, and still has Colorado on his radar.

In the eyes of Scout.com, Lucien is the 45th-best wide receiver prospect in the nation; while Rivals.com rates him as the 28th-best. In December, Lucien took official visits to Arizona State and Kentucky. In January, Lucien will visit UCLA, Michigan, and then Colorado.

Lucien told BuffStampede.com that he like the atmosphere at Arizona State, and saw snow for the first time on his visit to Kentucky. As to the remaining options, Lucien is anxious to see Ann Arbor, on January 8th (“Michigan is a program with a lot of tradition … I just want to see it all with my own eyes.” UCLA will come next, on January 15th (“I love UCLA. That is a great school to go to, and it is close to home”).

Colorado will be Lucien’s last visit. Back on December 9th, Lucien had these encouraging words – “I am pretty sure I am going to end up taking my last visit to Colorado because I love their program”. Even though Jon Embree had not yet been named head coach at that time, Lucien already knew about Embree and Bieniemy. “They said I could play early if I went there, but that won’t be one of the main factors in my decision.”

For what it’s worth, the West recruiting coordinator for Scout.com sees Lucien ending up with UCLA, if for no other reason that it is close to Lucien’s home in Encino.

December 23rd

Embree still looking for a quarterback

After the loss of quarterback recruit Brock Berglund to Kansas, Colorado head coach Jon Embree said that he still wants to recruit a quarterback this February. “There are some options available for us still this year at the quarterback position,” Embree told BuffaloSportsNews. “The reality of it is as I look at it as I’ve got to make sure I can get guys in this cycle that can fit in and help us.”

Embree indicated that he had identified two quarterbacks who are “under the radar”, and that he plans to sign one of them. (Translation: don’ t look for Colorado to lure away a top recruit who has already committed to another school).

As for the remainder of the roster, Embree has identified wide receiver and cornerback as two positions which will likely have two new recruits in the Class of 2011. Linebackers and defensive line were also noted as priorities. “You can’t have enough D-linemen”, said Embree.

Embree will likely not recruit a placekicker or punter this year, but may look to expand the roles of punter Zach Grossnickle and kicker Justin Castor. Grossnickle was a great kicker in high school, but was directed towards punting the past two seasons (he was a red-shirt freshman in 2010), while Castor has been focused on punting. Both players, as well as walk-on Marcus Kirkwood, will be given the chance to compete for both positions.

Hawai’i linebacker still interested in Buffs

Three-star linebacker prospect K.T. Tuumalo from Honolulu has taken three official visits to the mainland, and, according to BuffStampede.com, is still interested in visiting Boulder in January.

Tuumalo has already taken official visits to Boise State (“the passion that they have for the game stood out”), Arizona (“the campus was really nice”) and Oregon State (“a good mixture of football passion and a good general area”), but Colorado is still in the mix. “Colorado was the first school to offer me, and that is really cool about them,” said Tuumalo. “Coach Cabral has coached a lot of great linebackers there … He knows it’s late in the recruiting cycle, but he still wants to try and get me.”

Tuumalo is considered by Rivals.com to be the fifth-best overall prospect from the state of Hawai’i. Scout.com, though, rates Tuumalo as only the 119th-best linebacker prospect nationally.

December 22nd

Celestine leaving Buffs for the second time

As noted below (see December 18th), Kendrick Celestine will not be a Buff in 2011. The  news that the senior would not be returning  was confirmed by head coach Jon Embree Tuesday. While no specifics were given, it is assumed that Celestine, who worked diligently to make himself eligible after leaving the team early in the 2008 season, was not measuring up in the classroom.

Is Celestine the first of many? Embree doesn’t seem to think so. Embree told the Daily Camera that he did not hear from any player when he met with them individually over the past two weeks that they did not intend to return. “Now will there be guys who go home and decide they don’t want to come back? I don’t know,” said Embree. “I do know that almost every guy who sat on that couch (in his office) was excited about coming back, and wanted the opportunity, including some of the guys who knew they were in academic situations and were trying to save it at the last minute.”

Some attrition is normal with a coaching change, and has already begun, in a sense, with Embree withdrawing scholarship offers from several former recruits. If  some players chose to leave, and do so in good academic standing, it could free up several scholarships for the 2011 recruiting class, which presently is going to be limited to 12 to 15 players.

December 21st

Embree committed to getting quarterback commit

“We’ll sign a quarterback in this class,” said Colorado head coach Jon Embree, a day after the Buffs’ lost their first choice, Brock Berglund, to Kansas. “There are a couple of guys in this class who I think are really good and under the radar and fit what we want to do.”

Colorado only has two quarterbacks on scholarship, senior Tyler Hansen and red-shirt freshman Nick Hirschman. While there is speculation that quarterback turned defensive back Josh Moten might be given a shot at quarterback (or perhaps tight end Harold Mobley), the roster right now is Hansen, Hirschman, and walk-on redshirt freshman Justin Gorman. “The depth is not great,” admits Embree.

Two weeks ago, Colorado had two verbal commitments at quarterback, Nick Sherry and Brock Berglund. Since then, Jon Embree has said “no thank you” to Sherry, and Berglund has said “no thank you” to Embree.

For now, Embree isn’t sold on either Mobley or Moten switching to quarterback. “I told Mobley if that’s what he wants to do, he can, but if it’s evident that he can’t do it (in two or three practices), then the experiment is over,” said Embree. To date, Embree hasn’t spoken with Moten, but he expects to have a similar conversation. “Sometimes, I don’t know if they’re like, ‘Hey, there aren’t a lot of people in this line. Let me go and see what happens there,’ ” said Embree. “Or if they are really legitimately a quarterback.”

While it appears clear that signing a quarterback is (and should be) a priority, Embree has to face the reality that there may not be a great quarterback recruit left out there to sign. “I also think this gives us an opportunity where maybe there is that great one in 2012 who says, ‘Hey, look, they only have a couple guys here. Let me go compete for that position at Colorado,’ ” said Embree. “So you’ve got to kind of look at it immediately for next year, and you’ve got to look at the big picture.”

It certainly makes sense not to sign a quarterback just to sign a quarterback, but the cupboard is dangerously thin. It was just a month ago that Colorado fans were hoping that Cody Hawkins would survive the last few weeks of the season so that the Buffs would not have to burn the red-shirt of Nick Hirschman. Colorado hasn’t had a quarterback make it all the way through the season unscathed since – well, forever. That really just doesn’t happen in college football that often. If the 2011 opening day starter – either Hansen or Hirschman – goes down, the Buffs will be one snap away from being left with some very unsavory options.

What makes a quarterback signing in the 2011 class even more important, though, is that you would like to have two quarterbacks ready for the 2012 season who have had a year in the new system. True, there are any number of  true freshman quarterbacks in the modern era who graduate early, play spring ball, and are ready to go for the fall campaign. But, absent finding just such a quarterback in the recruiting Class of 2012, the Buffs will have exactly one scholarship quarterback with any experience in the system to take on the 2012 schedule. That is not attractive option.

Which is why Jon Embree is back out there, looking.

“We’ll sign a quarterback in this class,” said Embree.

We’ll see …

December 20th

Berglund de-commits from Colorado

The rumors were true.

Brock Berglund, the Colorado quarterback commit from June – the commit which said he was still a Buff after Dan Hawkins was fired; the commit who said he was still a Buff when Jon Embree was hired; the commit who was the first player Jon Embree sought out after Embree was named as the head coach – will play for the Kansas Jayhawks …

“Some of the changes in scheme and personnel are clearly different from my recruitment,” said Berglund in a statement, “and even though they may be in the best interests of the program, they do not represent the  best fit for me personally … I have decided to rescind my verbal commitment to CU at this time I have decided to verbally commit to the University of Kansas, where I am a better fit.”

The loss of Brock Berglund is a tough blow to the new coaching staff, at least psychologically. There will be spin … Berglund is more of an option quarterback, while Colorado is  looking to more of a pro style offense; there are plenty of other (and better!) quarterback recruits for the Buffs to lure to Boulder; Berglund was, afer all, actually a Hawkins recruit, etc. …

Don’t buy it.

Berglund was one of the top five recruits in the state of Colorado. One of the top priorities for the new coaching staff was to seal the border from outside intruders – and now one of the top players is leaving.

Berglund wanted to be a Buff. Even after Hawkins was fired, Berglund said that his commitment was solid. Berglund said he grew up a Buff, and that he always wanted to be a Buff, and now he is leaving.

Embree told a number of other Hawkins’ recruits “thanks, but no thanks”, and withdrew offers of a scholarship. Not only did Embree not withdraw his offer of a scholarship to Berglund, he made a point of publically making Berglund the first recruit he visited as head coach. Colorado wanted Berglund, there is no other way to put it.

Yet Berglund turned the new coaching staff down. Was it the fear of dealing with Walt Harris, the presumptive quarterbacks coach (who is known as a disciplinarian)? Was it actually the scheme the Buffs wanted to run (which wasn’t an unknown to  Berglund when he first met with Embree, and reaffirmed his commitment)?

There may be more to this story, some of which may or may not come out.

All that can be said for certain today is that the Colorado recruiting Class of 2011 has taken a body blow with the loss of Brock Berglund’s commitment.

The Jon Embree regime is two weeks old. Today was its first bad day.

Paulay Asiata coming January 22nd

Offensive lineman recruit Paulay Asiata, a 6’5″, 297-pound prospect from Honolulu, will take an official visit to Colorado January 22nd. Asiata is a four-star lineman who is considered to be the top offensive line prospect in the state of Hawai’i. Scout.com lists Asiata as the 14th-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation.

Before you get your hopes up too much, however, know this …

Asiata is likely to be a Washington commit. “I think Washington is my number one school right now,” Asiata told BuffStampede.com. “I haven’t committed to them yet, but I think I am going to go there. I am going to make it official pretty soon.”

Then why visit Boulder? “They said they need me. They really want me to go to Colorado,” said Asiata. “I made a commitment to go visit Colorado … But I still think I am going to go to Washington.”

Time for the Buff coaches to step up …

December 18th

Buffs pick up wide receiver commit

Nelson Spruce, a three-star wide receiver prospect from Westlake, California, has become the second commitment of the Jon Embree era (and the 5th of the 2011 class). Spruce is 6’2″, 190-pounds, and had offers from Washington State, Air Force, and San Diego State. He is considered by Scout.com to be the 134th-best wide receiver prospect in the nation.

This past season, Spruce had 73 catches for 1,292 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also had 31 tackles and three interceptions on defense. “I just think my competitiveness is what helped separate me at the high school level,” Spruce told BuffStampede.com. “When the game is on the line, I want the ball in my hands, and I feel like I can win the game.”

Spruce will make his official visit to Colorado the weekend of January 14th. It will be his only official visit. “I just want to get a feel for how the players are and how the atmosphere of the school is,” said Spruce. “I have heard a lot of great things about Boulder, so I’m sure it will go well.”

Spruce joins quarterback Brock Berglund, offensive linemen Alex Kelley and Marc Mustoe, and linebacker Brady Daigh as the known commitments for the Colorado recruiting class of 2011. It is expected that Colorado will sign around 15 players on February 2nd.

Berglund talking to Kansas?

As the dead period approaches (December 20th – January 3rd), the rumors will be intensifying as hard facts become more difficult to come by. One story which is circulating is that quarterback Brock Berglund, a Colorado verbal commit, is talking with Kansas, and is taking an official visit to Lawrence this weekend. The story goes that Berglund isn’t sure about Jon Embree, and with Colorado yet to name a quarterbacks’ coach, it would be in Berglund’s best interests to look elsewhere.

There is nothing official, though, to back this story up. There are a pair of players taking their official visits to Kansas this weekend, and neither of them go by the name of Brock Berglund. What’s more, Berglund has stood by his commitment throughout the fall. When Dan Hawkins was fired, Berglund released a statement stating that “I wish to affirm that there has been no change to my commitment to Colorado, and that I remain as committed as ever to the football program at the University of Colorado.” Then, when Jon Embree made a point of seeing Berglund with his first visit as the new head coach, Berglund said, “I am still going to CU. Nothing has changed with that,” going on to say that Embree “is a great guy … I think we have a lot of things in common.”

Nothing is official until February 2nd, but these do not sound like quotes from a player who is having second thoughts …

Celestine out?

The feel good story of last Christmas may not have a happy ending this holiday season.

Kendrick Celestine was supposed to be one of the feel good stories at the University of Colorado this fall. Celestine, who saw action in all 12 games as a freshman in 2007, abruptly left the team two games into the 2008 seasons. The given reason was “personal reasons”, but the story later came out that Celestine had a new child back in Louisiana, and that he went back to take care of his new family. Celestine then came back to Boulder in 2009, and literally worked his way back on to the team. No longer on scholarship, Celestine had to pay his own way to go to school while trying to regain his eligibility. Then, last Christmas, Dan Hawkins called Celestine and told him he would be back on scholarship for the spring semester.

A great season in 2010 would have been the appropriate ending to the story. Instead, Celestine did not register a single catch during the season.

It is now being reported that Celestine’s scholarship is being pulled. However, Celestine is still showing up on the roster on the Buffs’ website, so until there is confirmation from the University, this is still just a rumor …

December 15th

Colorado will have a busy January

The number of verbal commitments for Colorado has been small for months, with only five verbal commitments made to the Dan Hawkins’ staff. New head coach Jon Embree reduced that number by withdrawing offers made to quarterback Nick Sherry and running back Kenny Farrow. Embree has also told poential transfer safety Vladimer Emilien not to bother, and now there is a story circulating that receiver Donnie Duncan, a grey-shirt from last year’s class, may also be looking for a new school.

Going the wrong direction? Jon Embree doesn’t think so. “I know I’m a first-time head coach, but everything is planned out,” said Embree. “I’m just waiting this out. There’s probably going to be a lot of frustration by fans, but I feel good about this.”

With almost 50 official visits to offer recruits to work with, it could be a very busy January in Boulder. Unfortunately for Embree and his staff, the Big 12 basketball schedule makers did not do the Buffs any favors. Colorado likes to take recruits to men’s home basketball games during their visitations, but the mens’ basketball schedule works against the football team.

Colorado does not have a Saturday basketball home date against Kansas to show to recruits, and the two home games the Buffs will play in January on Saturday will both tip off in the morning … that’s right, in the morning.

Colorado does have two good draws, playing No. 12 Missouri on Saturday, January 8th, and 9-1 Oklahoma State on January 15th. The problem is that both games – for television – will tip off at 11:30 a.m.  The Buffs will then be on the road for the final two weekends before signing day.

To date, only three visitations have been confirmed … three-star offensive tackle Marc Mustoe, Embree’s first recruit, will be in Boulder on the 15th, along with three star wide receiver recruit Nelson Spruce (other schools in the mix include Oregon State, UCLA, and Washington State) … On January 22nd, three-star defensive end recruit Lake Koa Ka’ai will be in town. Koa Ka’ai is from Honolulu, and has over a dozen schools after his services, including at least eight Pac-12 rivals and Nebraska. Koa Ka’ai has already taken official visits to Oregon, Nebraska, and Arizona.

More on these recruits, as well as other potential visitors, as we get closer to those visitations …

Not a good week for USC

New Pac-12 rival USC will be facing three years’ worth of recruiting restrictions, losing ten scholarships per year. While no non-Trojan fan will lose sleep worrying about USC’s lineup, still composed of four and five star recruits, the margin for error for the Trojans has been reduced.

Which makes the loss of three potential stars this week all the more difficult to swallow.

Offensive tackle Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, both first-team All-Pac-10 players, will forego their final year of eligibility and turn pro. Both are projected to be early round selections in this April’s NFL draft.

Then USC was hit with another loss, as junior college defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson signed with Missouri. Originally a Missouri commit out of high school in 2009, Richardson had backed away from the Tigers, and had committed to USC. When it came time to sign with a team on Wednesday, however, Richardson opted to sign with Missouri.

Richardson is considered the No. 3 junior college transfer prospect in the nation this year.

December 14th

Michigan transfer latest to be told “no” by Embree

While former Michigan safety Vladimer Emilien had not verbally committed to the Buffs, he was nonetheless told by Colorado head coach Jon Embree to look elsewhere. Previously, Emilien had expressed an interest in coming to Boulder if defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose was retained, but not  it appears that neither of them will be with the Buffs in 2011. “They need corners,” said Emilien, who is a safety. “So I am looking at other options.”

The other three players who had given a verbal commitment to Colorado – quarterback Brock Berglund; linebacker Brady Daigh; and center Alex Kelley – will have their scholarship offers honored.

Grey Shirts scholarships honored

Embree may honor at least one the offers extended to two grey-shirt candidates. Wide receiver Donnie Duncan, who had to re-take his ACT’s last summer, and who has been attending Front Range Community College, could enroll in January. The same is true for Alex Lewis, an offensive lineman from Phoenix, who delayed his enrollment until January.

Lewis heard from new head coach Jon Embree on Sunday night. “I know coach Embree is a busy man, just getting started, so it was great that he took the time out to talk to me. I’m anxious to meet him in person,” Lewis told BuffStampede.com. “I also talked to the new offensive line coach (Steve Marshall). He sounded like a great coach. Lewis, 6’6”, 275-pounds, sat out this fall, and will enroll on January 7th and be available for spring practices, which start March 11th.

 UPDATE: It is now being  posted by Rivals.com that Donnie Duncan’s scholarship offer may not be honored. Whether the issue is grades or talent or need remains undetermined.


December 13th

Running back recruit told to look elsewhere

Colorado only had five verbal commitments when Dan Hawkins was fired, but it appears that Jon Embree isn’t going to keep all of them. First quarterback Nick Sherry was told that Colorado was not going to honor its scholarship offer, and now it appears that the same is true for running back recruit Kenny Farrow.

“I know I’ll have somewhere to go, I just don’t know where yet,” Farrow told BuffaloSportsNews. Farrow already has an official visit set up with Iowa in January, and is also talking with coaches at Houston and Western Kentucky.

The loss of Farrow reduces the known commitment list for Colorado to four. With only around 15 scholarships to offer this year, Colorado head coach apparently has no problem keeping only those recruits he believes he will help the Buffs. Whether his choices will work out will take four of five years to discern, but you do have to like his style. Yes, it is unfortunate that two players who had committed to Colorado will now have to look elsewhere, but it would have been more disingenuous to bring in a young man who you do not see fitting into your plans.

December 12th

One of the first five likely to de-commit

Nick Sherry, of the five Buff recruits from the Dan Hawkins regime (see bio, below), will likely de-commit. Sherry told Rivals.com that the new CU coaching staff that they did not intend to honor his scholarship offer. “I really don’t know what’s happening right now,” Sherry told Rivals.com. “It seems a little shaky over there and I’m keeping my options open and keeping up interest with other schools.”

Sherry has taken visits to Arizona and Washington, but may no longer be a part of their plans. San Diego State and San Jose State are also options. “It’s almost to the de-commitment point,” said Sherry. “It depends on what the situation is, and I’ve kind of opened up my interest to other schools.”

If Sherry is lost as a commitment, Colorado will be back to five commits, with between 15 to 18 scholarships available to offer this February.

December 11th

Mustoe first to say “yes” to Embree

Marc Mustoe, an offensive tackle prospect from Arvada West high, has become the first commit of the Jon Embree era at Colorado. Mustoe, considered by Scout.com to be the 31st-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation, committed to UCLA last June, but committed to Colorado after meeting with Embree this week.

Mustoe is considered a three-star prospect, but had offers from over a dozen schools, including Pac-12 rivals Arizona State, California, Arizona, UCLA and Utah, along with Notre Dame, Kansas State and Louisville. Mustoe is considered by Rivals to be the 5th-best player out of the state of Colorado in the Class of 2011.

“I believe Colorado is heading in the right direction. They are changing for the better and I want to be a part of that change,” said Mustoe, who had been a UCLA commit for the past six months. “Also, it’s my home state, so I will stay close to home while returning CU to its former glory.”

The above could have been the exact words stated by a former Denver prep star who had the opportunity to be a star out of state, yet chose to stay in Colorado to help rebuild the Buffs’ program after several down seasons. That former prep star was, of course, Jon Embree, who had offers from Oklahoma, USC, and Ohio State, but chose to be a part of Bill McCartney’s first recruiting class in 1983 (Coach Mac was hired in June of 1982, after the recruiting class for that year had already been signed).

December 9th

Embree visiting in-state recruits – Starts with Berglund

Having passed his NCAA mandated recruiting test, Colorado head coach Jon Embree will spend the rest of this week recruiting in-state prospects, before hitting the road next week after his coaching staff is filled.

Embree’s first stop was to visit with Brock Berglund of Valor Christian high in Highlands Ranch, who committed to Colorado back in June. Berglund led his team to the state 4A title on Saturday, and remains a Buff, even though right now he doesn’t know who his position coach will be. “(Embree) said that  he has all kinds of guys who have been calling him from the NFL and colleges, and he really doesn’t know right now (who the quarterbacks coach will be)”, said Berglund.

Berglund may end up with Eric Kiesau, the former Buff offensive coordinator, as his quarterbacks coach. Kiesau, who has a guaranteed contract for 2011, remains in limbo as Embree fills out his coaching staff. Berglund has indicated that one of the reasons he committed to Colorado was knowing that Kiesau, who has a guaranteed contract, was going to be with the program in 2011. Berglund also indicated that he would remain a Buff without Kiesau, unless the direction of the program under his new position coach wasn’t a good fit.

Berglund was impressed, though, that the new head coach came to visit with him first. “That’s cool,” said  Berglund. “There’s no doubt about it.”

So what will Embree  be looking for, as he begins meeting with players as a new head coach? “I want to know how important football is to him,” Embree said. “I want to know if they are willing to work … There is going to be a standard, and like I told the players, ‘you either do or you don’t. There is no gray. There is no in between’ “.

As to “scouting” his returning talent, Buff fans will be heartened to learn that Embree has been checking up on his alma mater for the past two seasons. As an NFL coach, Embree has access to every college game tape, and Embree indicated he has watched every game CU has played over the past few seasons. Part of the reason was to check for NFL-caliber talent; part was to see why his Buffs were struggling. As a result, come the start of spring ball March 5th, Embree will be ready to go. “I feel like I hae a good feel for them personally,” said Embree.

December 8th

Recruits still in the fold

Colorado only has five commitments for the Class of 2010, but those five commitments have all apparently weathered the storm which was the ouster of Dan Hawkins, and remained committed to coming to Boulder. Four of the five are on offense, including two quarterbacks.

While we wait for Jon Embree to assemble his coaching staff, and for the new (and retained) assistants to get out and gather new recruits, here is the latest on the five Buffs-to-be who are in all likelihood to be a part of Embree’s first class:

Brock Berglund, Quarterback

Berglund is 6’4″, 205, and plays for Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Berglund committed to Colorado in June, and his interest in the Buffs did not change when Dan Hawkins was fired. “As much as I like Coach Hawk, I didn’t commit to play for Coach Hawk,” said Berglund in November. “I committed to CU.” Berglund this fall accounted for 32 touchdowns and 3,171 yards of total offense in leading Valor Christian to the State 4A championship. In the title game, a 38-6 drubbing of Wheat Ridge, Berglund threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 126 yards and another score.

Berglund is considered a three-star prospect, and the 3rd-best player overall in the state of Colorado. Rivals.com considers him the 13th-best dual threat quarterback in the country.

Nick Sherry, Quarterback

Sherry is a 6’4″, 211-pound pro-style quarterback from Petaluma, California. Sherry also committed to Colorado in June, and while Sherry remains committed to Colorado, his statement after the Dan Hawkins’ firing was not as absolute. “I was anticipating that Hawkins was probably going to get fired. It didn’t surprise me that much,” said Sherry. “I love CU more than just the football aspect of it. I like the area. I’ll probably stay with my commitment.” Sherry threw for 2,623 yards as a senior in leading Casa Grande High to an 11-2 record. In the state semi-final game, fourth-seeded Casa Grande trailed top-seeded Concord 26-0 going into the fourth quarter. Sherry threw three touchdown passes in the final 9:21, but the comeback fell short.

Sherry is considered to be a three-star prospect, and is rated as the 102nd-best quarterback in the nation by Scout.com

Brady Daigh, Linebacker

Daigh was the third commitment of the Class of 2011, giving his verbal commitment back in August. The 6’2″, 220-pound linebacker played varsity for three years at Mullen High in Denver. During his time with the Mustangs, Mullen posted a 40-2 record, winning three state championships. Like Berglund, Daigh was a member of a state championship team in 2010, leading Mullen to a 37-6 win over Regis in the title game. Through his first 13 games of 2010, Daigh had 132 tackles, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. Daigh did not hesitate about his commitment a month ago. “I’m still solid with them,” said Daigh when told about the regime change in Boulder. “The team’s still there, and (the firing) hasn’t changed my mind.”

Daigh is listed as a three-star prospect, and is considered by Rivals.com to be the 33rd-best linebacker in the country, and the 10th-best prospect overall in the state of Colorado.

Alex Kelley, Center

Kelley, a 6’3″, 295-pound center from Vista, California, committed to the Buffs in October. A few weeks later, Dan Hawkins was let go, and Kelley was not fully committed to staying with the Buffs. “I guess I’ll see what happens,” said Kelley right after the firing. “Right now I’m going to stay with (Colorado), and see what happens with the coaching situation. I’ll just decide from there. I guess for now I’m still with them.” One “in” for Colorado – Kelley’s father Karry played offensive tackle for Colorado (1976-79). Kelley’s Vista team won its first sectional title since 2004 this season, with the Panthers racking up 313 yards rushing in the Section championship game at Qualcomm Stadium. UPDATE: 12/10 – Kelley has spoken with Brian Cabral – “Coach Cabral said they still want me 100% and I’m still one of their main  guys,” said Kelley, but has not yet  spoken with Jon Embree. “I am still taking a wait-and-see approach. I still haven’t decided where I’m going from here,” said Kelley.

Kelley is considered a three-star prospect, and is listed as the 21st-best center of the Class of 2011 by Scout.com.

Kenneth Farrow, Running back

Farrow is the most recent commitment for the Buffs, signing on with Colorado just a few weeks before the meltdown in Kansas. The 5’10”, 194-pound running back not only remains committed to the Buffs, but is excited about the coaching change. “The way everything transpired pretty much could have been smoother,” said Farrow. “Having Jon Embree as their head coach, with him having NFL experience, and Bieniemy coming in as their offensive coordinator. Man, I couldn’t really ask for a better situation than how it all played out.” Farrow did suffer a (minor) shoulder injury late in the season, but was leading the region in rushing before his injury. Farrow was averaging 152.9 yards per game and nearly six yards per carry through the first eight games of the season.

Farrow is considered as a three-star prospect, the 68th-best running back prospect in the nation by Scout.com.

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