January 13th

Buffs lose one from roster, keep another

In a move that has been a rumor on the message boards for about a month has come to fruitition. Running back Demetrius Sumler, who would have been a senior in 2010, will not be back to play for Colorado. Normally, such a move would end a player’s career. However, the NCAA allows a player who has graduated to transfer and not sit out a year. Sumler is in line to graduate in May, allowing him to play elsewhere this fall as a senior/graduate student.

Sumler leaves the Buffs having accumulated 714 career yards (on 199 carries), with 333 receiving yards on 45 catches. His only touchdown in 2009 came on a seven yard carry against Texas A&M. The fact that Sumler’s touchdown run against the Aggies came on his only carry of the game may be telling. Even though the Buffs are not deep at running back, Sumler’s participation slid as the season wore on. In the first three games of this past season, Sumler had 20 carries. The final nine games, Sumler had only 16 total carries.

The loss leaves the Colorado backfield periously thin.

Rodney Stewart will be the undisputed starter – there is no one else. Stewart had 804 yards this past season, and will be counted on heavily in 2010. After Stewart, there is … Brian Lockridge, who had all of 12 carries in 2009 … and that’s it. Senior-to-be Corey Nabors is on the roster, and walk-on Quentin Hildreth, who sat out 2009, will be available as a red-shirt freshman. That’s the roster.

The Buffs also have one known running back commitment, received recently from three-star prospect Tony Jones from Ramsey, New Jersey.

But that’s it, folks.

Who else is out there for the Buffs? Speedy is great, but he also has been unable to play an entire season without injury. Will he hold up all of 2010 as the lone Buffs’ threat? Lockridge is swift, but he has not been a featured back. Most of Lockridge’s dozen runs in 2009 came on end arounds, with Lockridge lined up as a slot back.

Darrell Scott? Classes started this week in Boulder, and there has been no official word as to whether Scott has transferred … or enrollled.

There are other running backs that Colorado has offered, but there are no other known commitments at this time. The Buffs had a commitment from Denver prep star Mister Jones this past fall, but Jones de-committed and gave his verbal commitment to Texas A&M in December. Perhaps Mister Jones can be tempted back. There are at least two four-star running back prospect who have at least listed Colorado as a possible option – No. 24 running back James McConico, from Compton, California, and No. 26 running back Erick Howard, from North Canton, Ohio, but Colorado is not amongst the list of probable choices.

Former running back Ray Polk may also be asked to move back from his new position at safety, but if this happens, it would, in my opinion, smack of desperation.

The lure of immediate playing time is evident at Colorado … do you think any potential running back recruits are noticing?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

While Sumler has been lost to the Buffs, Colorado has officially welcomed back three other players.

Tight end Luke Walters return brings the Buffs’ loses at that position down from four to three. Walters was amongst a quartet of senior tight ends in 2009, but Walters, who was a transfer from New Mexico, was granted a sixth year of eligibilty by the NCAA (Walters had to sit out the 2008 season after suffering a stress fracture in his lower leg during summer conditioning drills). Walters’ return will lend depth and experience to a squad which loses Riar Geer, Patrick Devenny, and Devin Shanahan.

Also re-enrolled is wide receiver Kendrick Celestine, who has been gone for the better part of two seasons. Celestine worked his way back into the lineup by paying his own way this past summer and fall, and by earning high enough grades to be given back his scholarship. Celestine will be available for spring practice.

Joining Celestine back on the team is offensive lineman Sione Tau. Back from academic and team suspensions, Tau is enrolled and available for spring drills. According to the CU website, www.cubuffs.com, the biggest issue for Tau is getting back into playing shape – so its good to have him back in uniform early.

January 12th

We have consensus!

UPDATE – It took a few days, but the recruiting services are now in harmony. Of the three recruits discussed below, it is now agreed that junior college linebacker Evan Harrington and tight end Henley Griffon will be Buffs come signing day (February 3rd), and that kicker Justin Castor, while still considering the Buffs – and while still on the official visit list for this weekend – has yet to decide between Colorado and Arizona State..

More tonight on the official visits the Buffs have for this weekend, as well as for the final two weekends before signing day …

January 11th

Buffs pick up one new commitment – or is it two? or three?

It’s been a crazy day.

Let’s recap. As of right now (Monday night), there are either one, two, or three new Buffs. If you’re keeping score, Rivals has linebacker Evan Harrington and tight end Henley Griffon as new Buff commits, but not kicker Justin Castor. Scout.com, meanwhile, has the exact opposite scenario – Justin Castor as a new commit, but neither Evan Harrington nor Henley Griffon …

So, while we’re waiting for the dust to settle, let’s introduce you to these three new – potentially new – Buffs …

The most likely new Buff amongst the trio is linebacker Evan Harrington, the 6’0″, 220-pound junior college prospect from the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. Harrington made his official visit this past weekend, and was previously quoted as saying that, if he received an offer from Colorado, he would take it (see January 10th update, below). This appears to have been the case. “After I had breakfast (Sunday),” Harrington told BuffStampede.com, “I talked with Coach Hawk. He offered me a scholarship. I accepted.” As a sophomore, Harrington led his junior college team in tackles, sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles on his way to being named an all-conference player. Harrington, who will have three years to play two, is slated as an inside linebacker at Colorado. He will not be available to the Buffs until May, though, as he still has three classes to take this spring at his junior college.

Another commitment this weekend – at least according to BuffStampede.com – came from a tight end prospect from Florida. Henley Griffon played last fall for Apopka high, and had been a Memphis commit. Then, on November 9th, the Tigers fired their coach, Tommy West, and Griffon was advised by his coach to re-open his recruitment. Tight ends coach Kent Riddle then helped land the 6’5″, 217-pound recruit (6’5″!!). “I’m taking my official visit to Colorado this coming weekend,” Griffon told BuffStampede.com. “I have heard great things about the college and the program.” Florida Atlantic, Alabama-Birmingham, Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Eastern Michigan were also in play for Griffon’s services, though Buff fans should not be disappointed that their new tight end was not receiving more BCS attention. Griffon’s head coach Rich Darlington thinks the Buffs have landed a star – he indicates that he has never coached a player who catches the ball as well as Griffon.

Then there is the saga of kicker Justin Castor from Arvada West high school in Denver. Castor has de-committed from Kansas, upon that the recruiting services agree. According to PrepColorado.com, and as listed on Scout.com’s commitment list, Castor is switching his commitment to the Buffs. Castor, ranked as the 22nd-best kicker prospect in the nation, had been considered a “solid” commit to Kansas, even after the coaching change which saw Mark Mangino replaced by Turner Gill, but that changed this past weekend. In 2009 at Arvada West, Castor was 14-of-24 on field goal attempts, and had a 43.46 yards/punt average. Quite the athlete, Castor also had 600 yards receiving, with seven touchdowns. However, BuffStampede.com is reporting that while it is true that Castor has de-committed from Kansas, he has yet to give Colorado a commitment. According to Rivals, Castor will be taking an official visit to Colorado this weekend, but has also scheduled an official visit to Arizona State next weekend.

While linebacker Harrington may not fill an immediate need, he would be most likely to play in 2010, coming in as a junior. However, both Griffon, the tight end, and Castor, the punter/kicker, would fill more significant needs.

Update – Scout.com has added Evan Harrington to its commit list, and has taken Justin Castor off – we now have consensus on those two …

January 10th

Two linebackers on campus this weekend

Colorado has two known official visitors this weekend, and both are linebackers. The first is from Lakewood, Colorado, a three-star prospect by the name of Joe Hemschoot. At 6’1. 210-pounds, Hemschoot would be considered small by linebacker standards, but he has his youth – he won’t turn 17 until April 15th. “Coaches have told me that they think it is a positive that I am young for my grade, and I think so, too” Hemschoot told ColoradoPrepReport.com, “that means I have more room to grow and mature as a football player.” Hemschoot played both quarterback and linebacker as a senior, and has attracted the attention of the Buffs – who were the first BCS school to offer him – as well as Oregon, Stanford, and Oregon State. After visiting Boulder this weekend, Hemschoot has visits planned to USC (which has yet to tender an offer) next weekend, then Oregon the weekend after that.

Buff fans hoping to land Hemschoot should be aware that Oregon may have an “in” here. Lakewood High linebackers coach John Bacon has been assisting Hemschoot with his recruitment. Bacon was a starting linebacker in 2007 and 2008 at – you guessed it – Oregon.

The other linebacker visiting Boulder would love to be a Buff – if he can get an offer. Evan Harrington has played for junior college College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. The 6’0″, 220-pound linebacker was a “tweener” out of high school, landing him in junior college. He reports having put on 10-20 pounds while at the College of the Canyons, and would accept immediately if offered by the Buffs. “They’re my #1 choice,” Harrington told BuffStampede.com. “I really like how since their coaches are, and I can really feel they want to win.” If offered, Harrington would not be available to the Buffs right away, as he still has three classes to complete this spring to be eligible. To date, the only other team known to have extended an offer of scholarship to Harrington is Utah State …

January 8th

Three new Buffs on campus

While speculation about which names will appear on fax machines across the nation on February 3rd continues, there are at least three names Colorado fans do not have to worry about – they are already on campus and ready to begin classes on Monday. The three, quarterback Josh Moten, offensive lineman Eric Richter, and quarterback Nick Hirschman, took different paths to Boulder, but all three are now Buffs.

Josh Moten was a quarterback/athlete recruit from the Class of 2009, but questions arose over the summer about his test scores. As a result, Moten had to re-take the tests, and, having passed them (again), he is now a Colorado Buffalo. Moten indicated that, while he feels vindicated that his second set of test results proved he didn’t cheat the first time, he is ready to move on. “I’m really excited,” said Moten. “I’m happy it’s over and I can get up there and help my teammates”. Moten, at 6’1″, 180 pounds, was considered the 95th-best quarterback prospect of the 2009 class by Scout.com, and comes to Boulder from Harbor City, California. Moten runs a 4.6 40, and, with the high number of quarterbacks the Buffs have on scholarship (including 2010 recruits Nick Hirschman – see below – and Munchie Legaux), Moten may be given the opportunity to shine elsewhere on the roster.

Like Moten, new Colorado quarterback Nick Hirschman also graduated high school in 2009, but Hirschman did so in December. Hirschman is the first member of the 2010 freshman class to set foot officially on campus as a Buff, will be taking four classes this spring, making him eligible to participate in spring practices. The 6’4″, 215-pound quarterback said he will miss not being at home in Los Gatos, California, for what would have been the final semester of his high school career, but he is ready to move on to college. “This is just a very exciting time for me,” Hirschman told BuffStampede.com earlier this week. “It was sad to say goodbye to all my friends, but the excitement outweighs the emotions at this point.” Hirschman heard from a number of Pac-10 schools during the recruiting process, including USC, Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State, but said saying “no” to Harvard was the hardest part of his decision. “My sister went to Yale”, explained Hirschman. While he believes he can run well if pressured, Hirschman sees himself as an “old school, drop-back-and-throw-the-ball-from-the-pocket” kind of a quarterback.

The other new Buff already on campus will be charged with blocking for his new teammates. Eric Richter is a 6’4″, 315-pound guard who signed with the Buffs out of Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California. Richter, who made his official visit to Colorado on December 13th, committed and signed the following week. “It was a great fit for me, and I really enjoyed the coaches and players a lot,” said Richter, who will have three years to play two in Boulder. “I’m excited (to be eligible for spring practices) because I have a lot of work to do, and I want to compete for that starting spot.” Richter, who is considered a three-star junior college prospect, had offers from no other BCS schools, though Auburn, Tennessee, Cal, Arizona State, and Iowa reportedly had expressed interest.

For these three, the wait is over. Classes start on Monday, and they will be picking up their books and class syllabi, waiting for spring practice to begin.

Welcome, Josh, Nick, and Eric, to the Buff Nation!

January 6th

Tony Jones looks like the real deal!

The latest on running back recruit Tony Jones is all good. Many thanks to CU at the Game friend Robert Silber, a Buff fan who lives in New Jersey, who passed along some good inside information, as well as the article from the local paper (Jones’ commitment made the front page of the local sports section!).

According to the article in the Bergen Record, Jones is fully qualified. “He’s ready to go (academically), qualified and cleared across the board,” said Don Bosco assistant coach Billy Lopez, “all his ducks are in a row.” It is true that Michigan and Boston College withdrew their offers this summer, but not due to Jones’ academic standing. Said the Bergen Record, “Michigan and Boston College had offered scholarships to Jones following his junior season, but wanted him to commit early. He opted to wait, though, and soon thereafter those offers were no longer there, having been taken by other recruits or pulled at the discretion of the coaches involved”.

My apologies to Mr. Jones, as I had assumed that the scholarship offers had been rescinded due to academic concerns …

On Tuesday (January 5th), Dan Hawkins, running backs coach Darian Hagan, and tight ends coach Kent Riddle met with Jones, who committed as soon as the offer was tendered. “I was hoping the Colorado coaches would come through, and when they did, it was a little stunning,” said Jones, “because I didn’t expect (to be offered Tuesday).” Jones, who is 5’8″, 180-pounds, may compete for the kick returner job this fall, then work his way into the running back rotation thereafter. Said his assistant coach, Billy Lopez, “I think Colorado stole a real good kid from Jersey, to be honest with you. Tony’s done everything we asked of him here, and he has earned this opportunity.”

But wait, there’s more … Robert Silber emailed me to tell me that a colleague of his, who is one of Jones’ scholarship sponsors (the high school equivalent of a Buff Booster, had relayed to him that Jones “is a good kid”.

I’ll leave the final word to Jones. “I think this is a good spot for me,” Jones told his local paper. “Colorado has a very good football program in the Big 12 … I’m stunned, and I”m really happy for me and my family. This is a blessing.”

We’re happy for you, too, Tony. Welcome to the Buff Nation!

January 5th

Buffs pick up unlikely running back commit

BuffStampede.com is reporting that Colorado has picked up its 14th commit of the 2010 class, running back Tony Jones, from Ramsey, New Jersey. Jones was not on the radar of either of the recruiting services as a prospect the Buffs had offered, so the commit came as a surprise. Jones is only 5’8″, 178 pounds, but did rush for 1,387 yards and 34 touchdowns on only 174 carries in 2009, a per carry average of 7.97 yards. (Before dismissing Jones as too small, I give you, for comparison’s sake, Brian Lockridge and Rodney Stewart, known quantities to Buff fans, listed at 5’7″, 180, and 5’6″, 175, respectively).

According to both services, Jones is a three-star back considered (by Rivals) to be the 14th-highest rated all-purpose back in the country, and was named the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year.

Sounds great!

But … Tony Jones had no known scholarship offers.

From any school.


Back in July, Jones had offers from both Boston College and Michigan, but both schools rescinded their offers. It appears that grades may have been the issue. On November 17th, Jones told EagleAction.com, a Boston College site, “I’m not even focused on (recruiting) right now because I’m basically in my school work,” said Jones. “I’m really just focused on my homework and my tests, just getting all my grades up so I can be qualified for colleges to start scouting me.”

Before grades became an issue, Jones was hearing from a number of schools nationally. In addition to Boston College and Michigan, Jones had heard from Miami, UCLA, Rutgers and UConn. His school, Don Bosco Prep, finished the season, according to one poll, as the number one school in the nation, and won the New Jersey state title for the fourth year in succession. In the state title game, Jones rushed for 215 yards and five touchdowns.

Jones may turn out to be a steal … if he qualifies.

January 3rd

Buffs pick up commitment No. 13

On Sunday, Colorado picked up its 13th known commitment of the 2010 recruiting class, offensive lineman Kaiwi Crabb, from Honolulu, Hawaii. Crabb is 6’4″, 272 pounds, and is considered by Rivals.com to be the 39th-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation. Crabb has been to camps in Boulder the past two summers, and took his official visit the weekend of the Texas A&M game. The three-star prospect had offers from several Pac-10 schools, including Washington and Arizona, but was sold on the Colorado coaching staff. “Definitely, the coaching staff made a difference,” Crabb told BuffStampede.com. “I really like (offensive line) coach (Denver) Johnson. I think he’s a great coach and a great person.”

Crabb becomes the 13th player, and third offensive lineman, of the 2010 Colorado recruiting class, joining junior college transfer Eric Richter, who is already enrolled and will be part of the team for spring practice, and Daniel Munyer, a three-star prospect from Sherman Oaks, California.

As the Buffs lost no senior offensive lineman this fall, Crabb may be the last offensive line recruit Colorado takes this recruiting cycle.

January 1st – Happy New Year!

The North hangs up its cleats

Within a span of 24 hours, the Big 12 North stepped onto the national stage, and quickly receded. With the Holiday Bowl, the Insight Bowl, and the Texas Bowl now assigned to history, Nebraska, Iowa State, and Missouri have joined Colorado, Kansas State and Kansas on the college football sidelines. Nebraska and Iowa State emerged victorious, while Missouri lost its final game of 2009.

What it all means for 2010 …

Nebraska 33, Arizona 0 – Holiday Bowl

The Cornhuskers completely dominated the Wildcats, posting the first shutout in the 32-year history of the Holiday Bowl (note to Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes: If you wanted to be a serious candidate to follow your father and be the head coach at Texas Tech, you may have wanted to put up something other than a “goose egg” against a Big 12 opponent). Arizona set several Holiday bowl records for futility. No team had ever scored fewer than 10 points previously, but Arizona never got close to scoring against Nebraska, mustering only six first downs and 109 yards of offense. Nebraska entered the game ranked 22nd; Arizona 20th, so the game represented the first win by Nebraska over a top 20 team in nine seasons.

What it means for 2010 … Nebraska finished with its first ten win season since 2003, and will end up near the Top 15 in the final polls. Look for the Cornhuskers to start there in 2010. If there is anything which is a lock for the 2010 preseason magazines, it will be that Nebraska will be picked to win the Big 12 North. Every other team has issues, but Nebraska has solidified its role as the top dog in the division. In some magazines, Nebraska will be a trendy BCS bowl pick, as the schedule favors such a run. The non-conference schedule includes the likes of I-AA South Dakota State and Western Kentucky (0-12 in 2009, the Hilltoppers first year in 1-A; outscored 475-245). The road games for Nebraska are managable – Washington (coming back, but not yet there), Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State (which may suffer the same fall from grace which hit Missouri in 2009 – the talented players on offense are all graduating).

Iowa State 14, Minnesota 13 – Insight.com Bowl

A 14-13 win over Minnesota gave Iowa State a 7-6 record, the first winning season in Ames since 2005. A year removed from a 2-10 season which witnessed the Cyclones finish on a ten-game losing streak, Iowa State turned things around under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads. Junior quarterback Austen Arnaud threw for 216 yards and ran for another 77 yards in leading the Cyclones, as Rhoads became the first head coach at Iowa State to post a winning record since fabled George Veenker turned the trick in 1931. It gets even worse for Minnesota. In losing their fourth straight bowl game, the Golden Gophers fell to Iowa State for only third time in 26 meetings – and for the first time since … wait for it … 1898.

What it means for 2010 … Iowa State will certainly get some love in the 2010 preseason magazines after a five win improvement (tied for third in the FBS), but the schedule next season makes any improvement over 2009 unlikely. In addition to the traditional in-state rivalry game against Iowa (in Iowa City), the Cyclones also must play Utah. In Big 12 play, the Cyclones must play Texas and Oklahoma – on the road – in successive weekends – in October. Another bowl appearance is achievable, but that’s about as much as the fans in Ames can expect.

Navy 35, Missouri 13 – Texas Bowl

Navy ran through, over, and around Missouri in amassing 385 yards rushing in a 35-13 rout. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs ran the triple option to perfection, running for 166 yards and three touchdowns, while also passing for 130 yards and another score. Despite having a month to prepare for the Midshipmen’s offensive tactics, the Tigers had no answer for the Navy attack. Meanwhile, the Missouri offense, with only 19:06 of possession, was held below 32 points for the first time in six games. Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for 291 yards, but was intercepted twice and was sacked four times by a defense which often lined up with only two down lineman.

What it means for 2010 … Missouri finished 2009 with eight wins, but you would be hard pressed to find a Tiger fan doing handstands over this past year. Without its star offensive players from 2007-08, including quarterback Chase Daniel, tight end Chase Coffman, and all-everything Jeremy Maclin, the Tigers failed to three-peat as Big 12 North champions. Instead, the Tigers are left with the bitter taste of a rout at the hands of a service academy. Missouri will be a tough call for the preseason magazines – are the Tigers rebuilding, or is 2009 the beginning of the end of a good run? The 2010 schedule favors the former. Missouri starts 2010 with Illinois (3-9 in 2009) in St. Louis, and doesn’t leave the state until mid-October. The remainder of the non-conference schedule – McNeese State, San Diego State, and Miami (Ohio) – is light, and all three games are at home. The Tigers then get a bye week to prepare for Colorado – again in Columbia.

Kansas State will be in year two of the second stint for Bill Snyder, and Kansas will be in its first year under Turner Gill. Both teams are likely to be given a pass by the preseason magazines. Neither will be picked to win the division, but both will be seen as being “on the rise”.

Which leaves Colorado. No new coach. No bowl win to build on. Four straight losing seasons. A schedule which includes five road games – with four of those opponents 2009 bowl participants. No road wins since 2007. Georgia and Cal on the non-conference slate, in addition to Colorado State in Denver.

If you were writing up the 2010 Big 12 North preview section for your preseason magazine, how would you rate Colorado?

Unfortunately, with the results of the 2009 bowl games, there are only two certainties … Nebraska will be the consensus pick to finish atop the Big 12 North; Colorado will be the consensus pick to finish at the bottom.

Happy New Year …..

December 30th

Leach Fired

Pre-empting a hearing on Mike Leach’s motion for a restraining order, Texas Tech University fired its head coach Wednesday. Just two days after suspending their coach, Texas Tech gave Leach’s attorney a letter, the full context of which reads as follows: “Dear Coach Leach, This letter shall serve as formal notice to you that, pursuant to Article V of your Employment Contract, you are terminated with cause effectively immediately, for breach of the provisions of Article IV of that contract. Sincerely, Guy Bailey, President.”

In his affidavit prepared for the restraining order hearing, Leach stated he “would never intentionally harm or endanger a player”, and that he had been given a suspension “without being afforded any process”.

If the “for cause” termination is upheld, Texas Tech will not owe Leach the remainder of his contract – a five-year, $12.7 million contract which was extended last February. There will almost certainly be litigation over the firing. “We guarantee that the fight has just begun,” said Ted Liggett, attorney for Mike Leach. The end game for Leach? Some sort of a financial settlement similar to the $3 million deal afforded ousted Kansas head coach Mark Mangino last month.

In the meantime, the Red Raiders will take the field against Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl January 2nd, led by defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

Speculation will begin immediately as to who will be named the new head coach at Texas Tech, a school which has been to a bowl game every season this decade. Names already being tossed out:

Baylor head coach Art Briles. Before he turned Houston around, Briles was an assistant coach at Texas Tech under Leach. Briles knows Lubbock, and he is used to recruiting in the state of Texas;

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill. This move would make the most sense, damage control-wise. McNeill, unlike Leach, has been a popular coach at Texas Tech. In the past two seasons, McNeill has developed a defense which can compliment the potent offense. If the Red Raiders wish to salvage this year’s recruiting class, this will be the hire.

Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. Another name familiar to Red Raider fans, Sonny is the son of Spike Dykes, who was the head coach at Texas Tech before Leach. Sonny played baseball in Lubbock, and was on Leach’s staff for seven seasons before taking off for Tucson to coach at Arizona.

If Texas Tech is planning on a quick move, it will probably be hiring one of the above three. If the hiring process goes on much past the Alamo Bowl on Saturday, other names will come into play …

December 29th

Leach Update

The Texas Tech v. Mike Leach story continues to develop (background below). On Tuesday, an attorney for Mike Leach filed a request for a temporary restraining order to allow Leach to coach the Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl January 2nd. A hearing on the request will be heard in Court in Lubbock at 8:30 on Wednesday.

The request for a restraining order aside, Mike Leach’s attorney indicated that he believed Leach would be fired by Thursday. The reason? If Leach is the head coach come January 1st, he will be entitled to an $800,000.00 bonus.

In firing back against the accusing family, Leach’s attorney called ESPN analyst Craig James a “helicopter dad”, meaning that James was hovering over the program, and that the James family was unhappy with the playing time Adam Leach saw this past season (in the 2009 regular season, James had 17 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. At Colorado, these numbers would have made James the fifth-leading receiver. At pass-happy Texas Tech, however, James was 10th in both categories. James did not register a catch in the last two games of the season).

Craig James, for his part, denied being a “helicopter dad”, insisting that this was all about the concussion his son sustained, and how the Texas Tech coaching staff reacted to the injury. “It’s not a good situation for anybody,” said James. “(Adam) loves this football team. So much so that he convinced his brother to go to Texas Tech. The Texas Tech Nation has been good to the James family.” James went on to indicate that he had no interest in the outcome of the Mike Leach v. Texas Tech dispute.

As to what happened after Adam James sustained his concussion, there is still ample dispute. The James family reports that their son was put away in a dark room as punishment; Leach’s representatives indicate that the coach was instructed to keep James quiet and out of the sunlight. According to Leach’s attorney, Ted Liggett, James was placed in an “equipment garage”, a room with “low light”. The idea behind the move, according to Liggett, was to keep the injured player as close to the practice as possible (“Mike’s very big on keeping the team together”), and that the actions taken by Leach placed James in no danger. “Nothing Mike Leach did harmed this gentleman, or did damage to him in anyway,” said Liggett. “This comes straight from the mouth of the doctor who examined (James).”

Stay tuned …

December 28th

Celestine in / Leach out

If you thought you had a good Christmas, it was nothing like that of wide receiver Kendrick Celestine.

Celestine left the Buffs three games into the 2008 season, citing personal reasons. Those “personal reasons” turned out to be the birth of his son back in Louisiana. Last summer, Celestine returned to Boulder, but not as a scholarship player. For Celestine to rejoin the team, he had to work his way back, not only physically, but in the classroom as well. Over the summer, Celestine received two B’s and a C+, collecting an A- and two B’s this fall – all while working full time and looking after his girlfriend and infant son. While his overall GPA of 1.97 is not good enough for eligibility just yet, it was good enough for the Colorado coaching staff. On Christmas Eve, Celestine received a call from Dan Hawkins, informing the 5’11”, 180-pound junior-to-be that he was back on scholarship. “It was very, very overwhelming,” Celestine told BuffStampede.com. “(Coach Hawkins) giving me a second chance is helping me to continue changing my life.”

Celestine has used up his red-shirt season, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. He will be able to practice this spring, but he will have to get his overall GPA up over 2.0 to play in 2010. Not a problem, says Celestine. “Like I told Coach Hawk, by the time I graduate I plan to have a GPA higher than 3.0; that is my personal goal.”

With the overall lack of production from the wide receiver corps in 2009, this is welcome news to Buff fans.

Congratulations – and welcome back – Kendrick!

Leach in trouble at Texas Tech

Texas Tech Mike Leach has been suspended for the Alamo Bowl after it was announced that Leach was being investigated concerning complaints from a player about treatment following an injury. ESPN is reporting that a player and his family complained about harsh treatment of the player after he was unable to play after sustaining a concussion. The player has been identified as wide receiver Adam James, son of ESPN commentator Craig James. The injury was sustained during a December 16th scrimmage, with the James’ issuing a statement, “Mr. and Mrs. James took the step with great regret, and after consideration and prayer to convey to the Texas Tech administration that their son had been subjected to actions and treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health.”

For now, the suspension is indefinite, with defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill taking over for the Alamo Bowl game against Michigan State on January 2nd.

While this might not go far at other schools, Leach has a history of butting heads with Texas Tech administrators. Despite taking the Red Raiders to ten consecutive bowl games, Leach has been a maverick, and has had other public relations issues this season. After a loss to Texas A&M, Leach called out his players for listening to “their fat little girlfriends” for thinking that the Aggies would be an easy win. Leach also faced criticism after banning Twitter pages following a Twitter by linebacker Marlon Williams, wondering why he had to be on time for meetings when “the head coach can’t even be on time.”

If the allegations have legs, this event may lead to a regime change in Lubbock. Considering the player’s father is prominent in college football (and would not make such accusations without thought for their consequences), you have to think that the accusations have at least a measure of truth to them …

Colorado plays Texas Tech, in Boulder, on October 23rd.

December 24th

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Just a little coal for your stockings, though. The highest rated recruit in town this past weekend, Davon Dunn, a four-star running back from San Diego, has de-committed from Cal.


Oh, but it doesn’t look like Colorado will be in the mix for Dunn’s services, either. Dunn told BuffStampede.com that, while he enjoyed his trip to Boulder, Colorado wasn’t amongst his leaders. “I really like Coach Kiesau … he’s really cool,” said Dunn. “We had a long talk about how they we’re so close to winning so many games last year.”

Sounds good. But …

“Colorado is a good school, but it is just too far away for me.”


Dunn is looking to commit to Fresno State. “I feel like that is the best fit for me”, but Dunn is still planning on an official visit to UCLA.

More on the quotes from players who visited December 18th are found below …

December 22nd

Notes on weekend visitations

No new commitments were announced after eight players made their official visits to Boulder this past weekend, but at least one player is just waiting for an offer …

Three-star defensive back A.J. Powell told Scout.com that he is ready play for the Buffs. “If they offered, I’d commit right away,” said Powell, who visited with three of his Charter Oak (Calif.) teammates this past weekend. Powell is considered the 66th-best safety in the country by Rivals, has offers from Colorado State, UTEP, and New Mexico. “My visit to Colorado was great,” said Powell. “Being in Boulder and Denver, it was just beautiful there.”

And what about his three Charter Oak teammates, linebacker Keith Smith, running back Adam Muema, and cornerback Brandon Golden, who also were in Boulder this past weekend? “We could all play together in college,” said Powell. “We all have the same work ethic and the same mentality to win.”

Linebacker Keith Smith is also waiting for an offer from the Buffs. Smith is a three-star prospect who currently has offers from UTEP, Nevada and Air Force. “It was great and it was fun,” Smith told Scout.com. “They treated us like kings.” Colorado is Smith’s top choice, but there has not yet been an offer. “The way they were talking to me, they sounded like they were going to offer me, but I’m not sure when.” Even if he gets an offer, Smith may not jump at an offer from the Buffs. “I’ll decide after I make my trips,” said Smith, who will visit UTEP and Nevada after the holiday break.

One player that Colorado would like – but who doesn’t sound like he’s excited about being a Buff – is Westland, Michigan, running back Jeremy Langford. The three-star running back recruit was offered by Michigan State last week. “They are definitely in the mix,” Langford told Spartan.mag of Michigan State. “The coaches are nice there. I like the distance away from home. It is almost right around the corner for me, I like that.”

What about the other running back in town last weekend, Charter Oaks’ Adam Muema? “It was a little cold, but it was a nice experience. I liked it,” Muema told BuffStampede.com. “We bowled, went to dinner, went to Dave and Buster’s, toured the campus, hung out with the players. I really liked going into their locker room. They had uniforms for us.” Of the Charter Oaks’ recruits, Muema sounds the least likely to become a Buff. He has official visits planned for Washington State and San Diego State in January, and won’t be making a commitment any time soon.

One of the highest rated recruits amongst the visitors from this past weekend, linebacker Kyle Benson, isn’t ready to make a decision, either. Benson, considered to be the 34th-best linebacker in the nation by Scout.com, is down to his final two. Benson was in Colorado this past weekend, and will visit Arizona after the holidays. “I have narrowed it down to those two (Colorado and Arizona), Benson told GOAZCATS.com, “so whichever one I like better on the trip, I will commit to.”

So, there may be an announcement concerning this past weekend’s visitors soon … or not …

December 19th

Smith to return for his senior year

Colorado picked up perhaps its most important “recruit” this December, when junior cornerback Jimmy Smith announced that he would return to Boulder for his senior season. Smith played all but three snaps on defense in 2009, and was a potential second round pick in April’s NFL draft. “We’re excited to have the chance to work with him one more year,” said Dan Hawkins. “We’re proud of his accomplishments, and look forward to his growth as a player and as a person, and firmly believe he will be one of the best cornerbacks in the country next year.”

Smith, according to CU statistics, allowed only eight completions in man coverage all season. Smith has had 15 consecutive starts at cornerback, and had 70 tackles in 2009. “I am a lot more comfortable now on the field,” said Smith. “I used to play not to make a mistake. Now, I am playing to make plays.” With fellow senior-to-be Jalil Brown (with ten consecutive starts of his own) also coming back, the Buffs are appear set at cornerback for 2010.

December 17th

Vistations – December 18th

I guess Colorado is back in the recruiting business … or at least the Buffs are up for hosting a Charter Oak High school reunion …

No fewer than eight prospects are coming to Boulder this weekend to make their official visits, four of them from Charter Oak High school in Covina, California. Overall, according the Rivals.com, five of the players are three-star prospects; two are two stars. There are two linebackers, two running backs, a defensive tackle, a defensive lineman, and an athlete …

With the defection of running back Mister Jones to Texas A&M this week, the two running backs coming in to town are of particular interest. The first, Jeremy Langford, from Westland, Michigan, we already knew about (see: 2010 Running backs’ preview). Langford is 6’0”, 185 pounds, is considered the 58th-best running back by Scout.com (Mister Jones is ranked 77th). Langford is still holding out for an offer from Michigan, but to date only has offers from Bowling Green, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, and, as of this week, Michigan State.

The second running back making an official visit this weekend is Adam Muema, the first of the “Covina Four”. Muema is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals – the 70th-best running back of the 2010 class (Muema is only a two-star recruit in the eyes of Scout.com). Muema is 5’10”, 175 pounds, and has been timed at 4.62 in the 40. Other schools vying for Muema’s services include Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State, and UTEP.

One of the highest rated athletes of the seven on the visit list is cornerback A.J. Powell, considered to be the 66th-best cornerback prospect in the country. Powell, like Muema, is from Covina, California, is 5’8”, 185 pounds, and has been timed at 4.68 in the 40. Other schools Powell is considering include Colorado State and UTEP. If these schools sound familiar, they are also on Adam Muema’s list. (It’s worthy of note that Powell is also being courted by, of all places, New Hampshire). “I’m not a 6’2” safety, so I have to work that much harder” Powell told BuffStampede.com. “Those that think that I’m too small to get the job done, I prove them wrong.”

The third member of the “Covina Four” coming to Boulder is Keith Smith, a 6’0”, 209 pound linebacker. Smith is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, but only a two-star athlete by Scout (though Scout does rate Smith as the 60th-best middle linebacker prospect in the nation). Smith attended a camp at Colorado last summer, and was expecting an offer based upon what Buff coaches told him then. Smith also attended camps at San Diego State and Washington State, and is on the radar of other Pac-10 schools Oregon State and UCLA. Smith also has offers from a number of Mountain West schools, including Utah, Nevada, and Air Force (so we know qualifying should not be a problem). Smith was named the Miramonte League Defensive Player of the Year, recording 132 tackles in 2009.

The final Charter Oak player who will be making an official visit on December 18th is Brandon Golden, who is considered an “athlete” by Rivals, but is listed as a cornerback prospect by Scout.com. Both see Golden , who is 6’0”, 192 pounds, with a 4.4 40, as a two-star player. Of the four Covina, California, players coming to Boulder, Golden would have to be considered the least likely Buff. Last July, Golden committed to play for Washington State, and remains on the Cougars’ list of verbal commitments.

Will the foursome all be coming to play for Colorado? It’s hard to say, though at least one of the foursome likes the possibilities. “I was ecstatic when Colorado offered, especially because they also offered my boys,” said linebacker Keith Smith. “We actually have been trying to be a package deal so we can play together in college.” We’ll see …

Perhaps feeling a little bit left out by the Covina group is an Arizona linebacker, Kyle Benson. The three-star prospect from Corona Del Sol High is considered to be the 34th-best outside linebacker by Scout.com, coming in at 6’2”, 212 pounds. Benson can run a 4.48 40, and is being courted by Arizona and Oregon from the Pac-10, as well as Utah and BYU from the MWC. Benson is another player who attended camp in Boulder last summer.

The final official visitor coming to Boulder the weekend before Christmas is defensive tackle Dontrell Onuahu from La Quinta, California. Onuahu is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, weighing in at 283 pounds. The 6’2” tackle can run a 5.05 40, but currently is only being recruited heavily by Colorado and San Diego State, though Fresno State, Nevada, and New Mexico State are also in the picture. Onuahu has scheduled an official visit to San Diego State for the weekend of January 8th.

[Update: Rivals reported that four-star wide receiver prospect Davon Dunn, from San Diego, California, also made an official visit this past weekend. Dunn, considered to be the 34th-best wide receiver of the 2010 class, is listed as a solid verbal to Cal. As recruiting fans know, though, nothing is official until February … ]

Seven visitors, four from one California high school. Stay tuned this weekend – there may be some recruiting news this Sunday …

December 15th

Buffs add defensive end

Colorado has added defensive lineman Kirk Poston to its list of verbal recruits for the 2010 class. Poston is a 6’3″, 245-pound defensive end from St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas. Poston is considered by Scout.com to be a two-star recruit, and is ranked as the 120th- best defensive end prospect in the nation. Poston made his official visit to Boulder on November 7th, and chose the Buffs over Arizona, Georgia Tech, Baylor, and Kansas State. Poston is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com.

As a senior, Poston recorded 13 sacks for a team which ended its season one game short of the state championship. Poston, after his official visit in November, told Scout.com that one of the lures of playing in Boulder was the chance to play as a freshman. “I’d really like to play as soon as possible,” said Poston. “As soon as they think I’m ready. I’d like to play definitely during my sophomore year, but if I play during my freshman year, that would be fine also.”

The 12th recruit of the Buffs’ 2010 class should have no trouble qualifying, being called a “great student” by his high school head coach, Rene Ramirez. Poston’s coach is also a fan of his on-field talents. “Poston is a motor guy,” said Ramirez, “(he) can play sideline to sideline.”

Up on Thursday … this weekend’s official visits. There are seven recruits coming to Boulder this weekend, including four prospects from the same high school in Covina, California.

Buffs pick up offensive lineman

In a week of bad news, Colorado did pick up a piece of potentially good news … a new commitment.

Eric Richter, a junior college offensive lineman from Saddleback College, has pledged to become a Colorado Buffalo. Richter is 6’4″, 315 pounds, and made an official visit to Boulder this weekend that was off the radar of the major reporting services. Richter met with Buffs’ tight ends coach Kent Riddle on Tuesday, and five days later is a Buff. Richter played right guard for a 9-2 Saddleback team this past fall, and will enroll at Colorado this week, making him available for spring drills. Richter had offers from Arizona State from the Pac-1o, as well as from San Diego State and several other Division 1-A schools. Richter will have three years to play two at Colorado.

Richter projects as either a guard or center. Senior-to-be Keenan Stevens, a former walk-on, played much of the season at center, and was recently awarded a scholarship. Along with junior-to-be Mike Iltis, who also started at center in 2009, the Buffs will have three players to chose from at the center position in 2010.

December 12th

Greg Brown leaves Colorado

Defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown is leaving Colorado to join the staff at the University of Arizona. Brown, 52, is expected to be named co-defensive coordinator for the Wildcats. Brown coached at Colorado from 1991-93 under Bill McCartney, returning to the Buffs from the NFL in 2006. In his first stint in Boulder, Brown coached two Thorpe Award winners, Deon Figures and Chris Hudson. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Hawk gave me,” said Brown. “I know in my heart CU is on the right track with Dan Hawkins.”

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Brownie on our staff,” said Dan Hawkins, “and we wish him and his family the best.” The search for a replacement will begin immediately, with “shuffling assignments” amongst current staff also a possibility. One name mentioned is Ashley Ambrose, who came to Boulder because of Brown, and served as a defensive technical intern for the past two seasons. Ambrose was groomed this past season to take over as the wide receivers coach in 2010, but that may now change.

Good news or bad news? After the announcement that Dan Hawkins was returning, there was a great clamour for changes in the coaching staff. Greg Brown, who had four of his five chief defensive backs earn at least honorable mention All-Big 12 honors this fall, was not seen as one of the problems that needed fixing.

A net loss for Colorado.

Brown did say the right things upon his leaving – that he loves Boulder and CU; that it was not about the doubts about the future of the coaching staff at Colorado; that it was not about the money (Brown could make up to $100,000 more in Tucson than he did in Boulder) – but the dark clouds looming over the Dal Ward Center certainly had to have had an impact.

Greg Brown did Colorado proud – he will be missed.

Two more visitors this weekend

In addition to the official visits by tight end Kyle Slavin and linebacker Nigel Terrell (see below), Colorado added two players to its list for this weekend …

One is running back/safety prospect Conner Glenn from Windsor, Colorado. Glenn is 6’0″, 205-pounds, and played most of the season on offense, where he gained 1,800 yards rushing and scored 21 touchdowns. Glenn is not ranked by Rivals.com, and is considered only a one-star prospect by Scout.com. Glenn does have an offer from the Air Force Academy, and indicates that he has interest from Colorado State and Wyoming. Coming to Boulder, Glenn does not have a scholarship offer from the Buffs. “I’ve been interested in them for a long time,” Glenn told Scout.com. “That’s my number one school.”

The other prep player in Boulder this weekend is linebacker Matt Farris, from Greensboro, North Carolina. Farris 6’0″, 211 pounds, and runs a 4.7 40. Farris recorded 145 tackles playing middle linebacker for North Guilford High, posting two interceptions and recovering two fumbles. Farris is considered a two-star prospect by Rivals.com, a one-star player by Scout. com. To date, Farris does not have any Division 1-A scholarship offers, but hopes to receive one on his official visit. Farris is a good student, and has no problem playing away from home. “I’m looking for a place where I can get a good education,” said Farris, “and also a good atmosphere to play football and have the best competition.”

So, there you have it, Buff fans – four visitors the weekend of December 11th-13th. One player already committed; one who will not be a Buff; and two that no one else is offering …

Recruiting is not going well …

Turner Gill to Kansas

ESPN reported on Saturday that Buffalo head coach Turner Gill will be named as the next head coach at Kansas. Gill has been the coach at Buffalo for the past four seasons, posting a 20-30 overall record. Gill did take a program which had been 10-69 in Mid-American Conference play before Gill’s arrival, and led the Bulls to their first title and first bowl game in 2008. This past season, Buffalo finished with a 5-7 record.

Last season, Gill was mentioned as a possible head coaching replacement at Auburn and Nebraska, and was mentioned as a possibility for Colorado when it appeared that Dan Hawkins would not be retained. Gill was an assistant for his alma mater, Nebraska, for 13 years before taking the head coaching job at Buffalo. At Nebraska, Gill was a Heisman trophy finalist in 1983 (teammate Mike Rozier won the trophy). Gill led the Cornhuskers to within one play of the national championship, throwing an incomplete pass on a two-point conversion in the 1984 Orange Bowl, giving Miami its first national title. Gill was 28-2 as a starter with Nebraska, going 20-0 in Big Eight play.

First blush reaction – same as it would have been if Colorado had hired Gill. He had one good season with Buffalo, but was 12-24 the other three seasons. Plus, if Kansas is successful and Gill creates a program capable of beating his alma mater consistently – which you would believe to be the goal of the Jayhawks – how long do you think it will be before talk of Gill returning to Lincoln begins? …

December 8th

Finally, some visitations …

The week before the Nebraska game, Colorado cancelled its official visits for 2010 recruits. This move was seen as a clear sign that there would be a regime change after the game with the Cornhuskers. A week later, Dan Hawkins had received his vote of confidence from the Colorado administration, and was back in charge for his fifth season.

Now, two weeks after the Nebraska game, the Buffs are setting some official visits. Coming to Boulder this weekend are two players, tight end Kyle Slavin and linebacker Nigel Terrell. Both players have given their verbal commitments – Slavin to Colorado; Terrell with Florida State. Slavin is a 6’5″, 230-pound, three-star prospect from Chatfield High in Littleton who committed to the Buffs back in June. It appears that Slavin’s visit is a formality – his commitment has never wavered. “I told my Mom if I ever got a scholarship offer from CU, I would be done,” Slavin told BuffStampede.com. “CU is really the only school I have ever really wanted to or even thought about playing for.”

The story behind Nigel Terrell is more intriguing. The 6’2″, 208-pound three-star linebacker from Pelham, Alabama, has been a Florida State commit since August, picking the Seminoles over the Rebels of Ole Miss. Since then, however, Terrell has back-pedaled, and now considers himself a “soft” verbal. Colorado will be his first official visitation, but certainly not his last. “I will visit Ole Miss and Arkansas, and of course I will visit Florida State,” said Terrell. “Florida State is still my favorite.” Terrell will not make a decision on his future school until January, but it doesn’t sound like he is going to be a Buff.

At least three players will be making their official visits to Boulder next weekend: Dontrell Onuahu is a three-star defensive tackle prospect from La Quinta, California; Jeremy Langford is a two-star running back from Westland, Michigan; while Kyle Benson is a three-star linebacker prospect from Tempe, Arizona. More on these three players next week …

Three Buffs make Big 12 All-Freshman team

Tim Griffin, the ESPN blogger for the Big 12, has put out his All-Freshman Big 12 team. With the constant drum-beat from the Colorado coaching staff about how young the Buffs are, you would think that Colorado would be well represented on this team. In the end, though, only three Buffs made the team – offensive lineman Bryce Givens; defensive lineman Will Pericak; and defensive back Ray Polk. Texas A&M had four players on the team, as did Oklahoma. Joining Colorado with three players on the team was Nebraska and Texas Tech. In all, only nine of the 26 players on the team were from teams in the North.

Only a few other players from Colorado would have been eligible for the team. Defensive linemen Nate Bonsu (184 plays; 15 tackles) and Forrest West (192 plays; ten tackles) saw significant playing time this fall, as did linebackers Jon Major (110 plays; 13 plays) and Douglas Rippy (67 plays; six plays). On offense, other than Givens, only wide receiver Will Jefferson (11 games, six catches for 45 yards) saw much playing time.

December 7th

Some random musings …

Did you notice … Nebraska played two top 15 teams in 2009, Virginia Tech and Texas. The Cornhuskers went 0-2, running their record against top 20 teams to 0-26 since losing the 62-36 game to Colorado in 2001. And there is this – against the Hokies and Longhorns, Nebraska scored exactly zero touchdowns. Nine field goals in eight quarters of play. Throw in a one touchdown performance against #24 Oklahoma, and a 12-0 deficit through three quarters against #24 Missouri, and you have an offense which makes the Colorado offense look, well, decent …

More on the Buffs’ 2010 quarterback recruits … If you haven’t read up on Buff quarterback recruits Nick Hirschman and Munchie Legaux, check out the “First Look – Quarterbacks” section. Here’s more: There was a report today that Nick Hirschman will enroll at Colorado in January, so that he can participate in spring drills. Hirschman, who threw for 34 touchdowns and only three interceptions his senior season (I’ll pause for a moment as that sinks in), is excited to get to Boulder. “Every week during the season I could see they were getting better,” Hirschman told BuffStampede.com. “I think the future is bright.”

Munchie Legaux has also reaffirmed his commitment to Colorado, but with language not quite as reassuring. “I am still committed to Colorado,” Legaux told Rivals.com. “Other schools call and show interest, but, as of now, I am still committed to Colorado.” Arizona, the only other major school who is recruiting Legaux as a quarterback, is seen as the Buffs’ major competition. Many other schools, including Michigan, Kansas State, Oregon, and West Virginia have offered Legaux as an athlete.

From the “You’ve got to be kidding department” … Kyle Ringo is reporting for Scout.com that Darrell Scott has not officially been released from his scholarship at Colorado, leaving the door open that Scott could still return to the Buffs. The former No. 1 running back recruit left the team in November, indicating his desire to transfer. UCLA was seen as the most likely destination, but the Bruins, with a plethora of running backs on the roster, has taken a pass. Arizona has been mentioned as another possibility, but, to date, Scott is still a Colorado Buffalo …

December 6th

Thoughts on Saturday’s games …

While it is difficult to come up with obscure Colorado statistics that are positive, here is one that came into play after Saturday’s Big 12 game (and feel free to use it on any Nebraska fan who gets under your skin) …

Since Oklahoma State joined the Big Seven to form the Big Eight in 1960, only two schools have won conference championships in each of the succeeding decades: Colorado and Nebraska … oops … scratch Nebraska. With the 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 championship game, the Cornhuskers have now gone a full decade without a league championship. The last Nebraska Big 12 championship came in 1999, meaning that Big Red went a Big 0-fer in the decade of the 2000’s.

Now, Colorado, and Colorado alone, can claim to have won a title in every decade since the Big Eight was formed.

For those of you keeping score at home, the Colorado titles since the formation of the Big Eight came in 1961, 1976, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 2001.

Oklahoma went 0-fer the 1990’s, the first (and only) decade the Sooners have gone without a title, going back to the formation of the Big Six in 1928. Missouri’s two titles came in the 1960’s, as did the only title for Kansas (1968). Oklahoma State shared the title with Colorado and Oklahoma in 1976, its one and only title since joining the league. Kansas State won its only title in 2003. For Iowa State, you have to go back to 1912, when the Cyclones were co-champions of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Association.

Makes the memories of last week’s game just a tad easier to swallow …

Other games of interest …

Wisconsin 51, Hawaii 10 … The Badger rout of the home-standing Warriors was the second-to-last game of the 2009 regular season (Army v. Navy next weekend), with the Wisconsin win bringing an end to Hawaii’s season. The Warriors finished 6-7, and ineligible for any further competition. With Hawaii’s loss, five of Colorado’s opponents for 2010 have also hung up their cleats for the season – Colorado State, Hawaii, Kansas, Kansas State, and Baylor. The remaining seven teams are bowl-eligible, and will receive their bowl assignments Sunday …

Washington 42, #19 California 10 … Cal, at 8-4, is one of those teams on the Buffs’ 2010 schedule which will be going bowling, but the Golden Bears finished out the season with a beating at the hands of the Huskies. California has been one schizophrenic team in 2009. In their eight victories, the Bears have scored, on average, over 40 points per game. In their four losses, the Bears have scored 30 points … total. It will be interesting to see which California team shows up in the bowl game, and which team shows up next September 11th, when Colorado travels to Berkeley. [Also of note from this game. Cal is Colorado’s Pac-10 opponent next fall. Washington, which finished 5-7 in 2009 after an 0-12 season in 2008, plays Nebraska. It will be the Cornhuskers’ only BCS non-conference opponent in 2010, a game which looks a little tougher than it did three months ago …]

December 1st

Hawkins clarifies “burned to the ground” statement

After losing to Nebraska last Friday, Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins made the comment that “this place was burned to the ground” when he arrived in December, 2005. Having already alienated much of the Buff Nation, this comment burned even more bridges. “Burned to the ground”? … after four Big 12 titles in five seasons? I grant that recruiting classes had suffered after the recruiting scandal during the tenure of Gary Barnett, but “burned to the ground”? What’s more, how is that Dan Hawkins can even pretend that, FOUR YEARS into his tenure, he can still continue to blame prior administrations? When will it be his turn to accept responsbility?

Looking through the articles on the “apology”, including the article on the Buffs’ home page, cubuffs.com, I failed to actually see an apology. As close as Hawkins came was the following: “I’m not trying to disrespect anybody. I’m not disrespecting any games won here, any championships won here, any alums here, any faculty. I’m not.”

There … feel better?

… in other news …

Colorado had one player named to the first team All-Big 12 team, with junior tackle Nate Solder earning first team honors. The Buffs had two members on the second team, senior tight end Riar Geer and senior cornerback Cha’pelle Brown. A total of nine Buffs received All-Big 12 honorable mention, four on offense: sophomore running back Rodney Stewart, senior fullback Jake Behrens, sophomore offensive lineman Ryan Miller, and junior wide receiver Scotty McKnight, with five from the defense: junior defensive end Marquez Herrod, junior cornerback Jalil Brown, senior safety Ben Burney, senior linebacker Jeff Smart, and junior cornerback Jimmy Smith.

So, for those keeping score, of the 12 Buffs receiving some All-Big 12 mention, five were seniors, five juniors, and two sophomores. Something to build on …

… Two names familiar to Buff fans were back in the news in the Dan Hawkins’ press conference, offensive lineman Sione Tau and wide receiver Kendrick Celestine. Tau, who would be a junior in 2010, sat out this past season with an in-school suspension, while fellow junior Celestine left the team abruptly last season to take care of family business (a new baby) but has been working his way back academically. Both players “can be, might be” back on the roster for spring practice. Hawkins allowed that “Odds are better than not” that these two players could be in uniform in 2010 …

November 30th

First reaction from 2010 verbal commitments

The first verbal commitment the Buffs received for the 2010 recruiting class came back in April, when Danny Spond, a four-star quarterback/linebacker/tight end prospect from Littleton commited to play in Boulder. This past weekend, though, Spond re-opened his recruitment. “Before the season, I just had such high hopes for Colorado,” Spond told BuffStampede.com. “Just with the season they had, it has kind of changed a lot of my thinking.” While Spond did not rule out Colorado as an option, he will be taking other official visits, with Stanford considered to be a leading contender. “I want to go to a program that is fundamentally sound and ready to win,” said Spond.


This is just the sort of sentiment many of us thought would permeate through the 2010 recruiting cycle. Colorado is on a down cycle; Dan Hawkins is a lame duck; there is no sense of where Colorado will be in four to five years.

But …

Another four-star Colorado high school prospect from Littleton, running back Mister Jones, is not backing away from his commitment. “I am still committed to Colorado,” Jones told BuffStampede.com. “All around it is a perfect school for me, and it is close to home.” Jones, despite a good GPA and a decent ACT score, still has some work to do in the classroom to qualify, and plans to skip running track in the spring to get through all of his classes.

And then there is this …

Three-star defensive end prospect Chidera Uzo-Diribe, from Corona, California, who has been a “soft verbal” for Colorado since September, firmed up his decision this past weekend. “Knowing that Coach Hawk will be back really solidified my decision,” Uzo-Diribe told BuffStampede.com. “I have decided not to take any more trips. I really feel comfortable in my decision right now.”

So, there you have it. The decision to retain Dan Hawkins for a fifth year has made different impressions upon different players.

Stay tuned, there are still 10-12 commitments out there to get to complete the 2010 class …

(This weekend, an in depth look at the quarterbacks – the present roster, incoming recruits, and those still being courted by CU).

4 Replies to “The Colorado “Semi-Weekly” (December/January)”

  1. Every coach has his own style. You definitely don’t want your team to get overexcited and lose focus. I agree with his move to tell the team it was just another game, most coaches with a young team would do the same to settle his team down.

    I don’t think Hawk should still have a job, but to slam him for that is a bit much imo.

  2. It sure feels like the program is burned to the ground now. The decision to retain Hawkins is a pretty big roll of the dice – or somebody got weak knees about making a fiscally unpopular decision. Smells like a politician (Benson, Bohn, Distefano??) Some of the same guys that got rid of Barnett who happened to be a winning coach even if he wasn’t slick in front of a camera. He says it was due to performance, but of course Bohn didn’t want to talk about those reasons on his radio interview with Alfred Williams. He didn’t want to “look back.” Maybe he should tell his current “the place was burned to the ground” rock star coach that he hired. What a disaster. It is hard to keep the faith for next year, but maybe the dice roll will pay off after all and everyone will come up smelling like North Champs. I’ll hope, but I think this time next year the place will be burned to the ground and the whole lot of them will be looking for new jobs (except the real politician, Benson, hmmmm).

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