Recruiting Roundup

AllBuffs put forth the following questions to several CU bloggers …

1) What is your overall take on this Class? Given the challenges, are you happy?

2) Which coach impressed you the most with his work?

3) Do you consider this to be worse than / on par with / better than a standard transitional class?

4) Who do have penciled in to be immediate contributors?

5) Who is your biggest sleeper in the class?

6) Which move or signing is the biggest head scratcher for you?

After you have pondered these questions for a few moments, below were the answers I submitted (the answers from bloggers from The Ralphie Report, The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo, and Boulder Buff from AllBuffs can all be found here).


1) What is your overall take on this Class? Given the challenges, are you happy?
 Back in late December, I posted “New Year’s Resolutions for Members of the Buff Nation“. Resolution No. 1 was “I resolve not to be concerned about the national ranking of the 2011 recruiting class”. With the excitement surrounding Signing Day, it could be considered a disappointment that Colorado is only considered to have a mediocre class (ranked 61st by Scout).

That being said, with the challenges presented to this coaching staff, I believe the Buff coaches did a remarkable job. With a limited number of scholarships with which to work, and some mandatory “gets” (quarterbacks, defensive backs) placing limitations on the types and numbers of player the coaches could pursue, Embree and his staff did well.

Overall, I gave the Class of 2011 a “B”. There are some quality recruits in this group. However, if Colorado has a class which is ranked in the 60’s nationally next February, the Buff Nation will be – justifiably – upset.

2) Which coach impressed you the most with his work?
 The easier answer would be Eric Bieniemy, as Bieniemy is high-profile and high-energy, and did a great job in just a few weeks on the road.

The coach I was most impressed with, though, was Brian Cabral. Circumstances put Cabral in the position of recruiting under a lame duck coach, then serving as interim coach, then being a candidate for the head coaching position, then serving for a new head coach after being passed over for the job.

So, how did Cabral do? He brought in a great group of new linebackers: Brady Daigh; Woodson Greer; and K.T. Tu’umalo. Cabral was also instrumental in bringing in three of the top players out of the state of Hawai’i – Tu’umalo; offensive linemen Paulay Asiata; and defensive end Juda Parker.

While it may seem that there is a well-established pipeline from Hawai’i to Boulder, in fact the Class of 2011 represented the first time – ever – that Colorado signed three players from Hawai’i in one class. Cabral had a great recruiting season, and did so under very difficult circumstances.

3) Do you consider this to be worse than / on par with / better than a standard transitional class?
 I did an article comparing the transition classes of the past four Colorado coaches , and there were some interesting findings.

Dan Hawkins had a mediocre class at best in 2006, with son Cody Hawkins one of his highest rated recruits. Meanwhile, potential first-round NFL draft picks Jimmy Smith and Nate Solder were three- and two-star prospects, respectively.

Gary Barnett’s first class was a disappointment, with few players panning out (wide receiver Derek McCoy one of the few names which would be remembered by most CU fans).

Meanwhile, Rick Neuheisel’s first class, the Class of 1995, was one of the highest rated recruiting classes in Colorado history. Twenty of the 22 recruits were prep All-Americans, with 17 “multiple” All-Americans (four-star players). As it turned out, though, the Class did not produce much in the way of All-Big 12 players, with one of the two players who did not receive All-American prep status, kicker Jeremy Aldrich, becoming the player with most ink in the CU record books.

Bill McCartney’s first recruiting class, the Class of 1983 (McCartney was hired in June of 1982, and so did not participate in bringing the Class of 1982), was not recognized as a great class nationally. What the Class of 1983 had was 13 Colorado high school players out of 25 signed. In-state stars who stayed home instead of going out-of-state – Jon Embree; Eric McCarty; Barry Helton; David Tate; and Dave DeLine among them – helped form the backbone of the teams which brought Colorado out of series of losing seasons.

I would like to think that Jon Embree’s first class is like that of McCartney’s. Not in the sense of in-state players signed (only two signed in the Class of 2011), but in the sense that Embree brought in some core players – core leaders – which will help lead to championship teams in the future.

4) Who do have penciled in to be immediate contributors?
 I like defensive end Juda Parker. The highest rated player coming out of Hawai’i, Parker tore up the competition at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He seems to be on the rise as a talent, and is coming to Boulder to compete at a position which is in need of impact players.

Amongst the defensive backs, where immediate help is also required, I like Will Harlos. While Harlos played linebacker in high school, he is still growing into his 6’4″, 200-pound frame. He could see playing time at safety as a true freshman.

Another player who could see time early is kicker Will Oliver. Not because I believe that Oliver is necessarily better than Zach Grossnickle or Justin Castor, but because the Buffs are past due for some measure of success at recruiting this position.

5) Who is your biggest sleeper in the class?
 It will take a few years, but the least discussed member of this class, offensive lineman Alex Lewis, may become a very good player. Lewis is the grey-shirt holdover from the Class of 2010, who enrolled in January, and still has five years to play four.

Lewis was only 17 years old last February, and took this past year off to grow. He has gone from 6’4″, 255-pounds to 6’6 ½”, 288-pounds. He was a three-star prospect last February. He may be a four-star prospect now.

6) Which move or signing is the biggest head scratcher for you?
 (Note: My answer was submitted before the Buffs signed Tyler McCulloch, who would have been my new choice) … Colorado is in dire need of help at defensive back, and there was a need to sign a quantity of defensive backs. It was a surprise to me, though, that the Buffs were not able to attract more defensive back talent to come to Boulder. The Buffs have two cornerbacks, Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown, who will be going high in the NFL draft, and Colorado is heading into a pass-happy conference. There should have been some top flight cornerbacks out there aching for the opportunity to start as a true freshman for a Pac-12 team.

This is not a knock on the cornerbacks Colorado did sign – Sherrard Harrington, Gregory Henderson, and Kyle Washington – but it is hard to see these players as anything more than place holders bringing depth to the secondary as the Colorado coaches go out in search of top flight defensive back talent help from the Class of 2012.

Again, if you would like to see the answers from all four bloggers, you can read them all at


 February 17th

Buffs pick up a legacy

Under Dan Hawkins, Buff fans were lucky if there was a verbal commitment to the upcoming Class before June.

Under Jon Embree, Buff fans will not have to wait that long.

Clay Norgard, a defensive standout from Mountain Vista high in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, has become the first commit for the Colorado Class of 2012.

 Norgard, as a junior, played at 6’2″, 245-pounds, and plays defensive tackle in high school, but could be moved to linebacker in college. Norgard’s father, Erik, was an All-Conference player for the Buffs, while Clay’s mother, Lisa, also graduated from Colorado. “I real excited about CU,” Norgard told “They said I’m the kind of athlete that would be dominant and effective wherever they decided to put me on defense.” Norgard may be a “green shirt”, meaning that he may graduate early, and enroll next January so that he can participate in spring practice, 2012.

Norgard was one of six juniors who was named All-state last season. Despite double-teams, Norgard recorded 100 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks in only 10 games last fall. The number of schools which had already expressed an interest in Norgard was high, as Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse, Kansas State, Colorado State and Washington were all schools who had already been in contact with Norgard.

“I went up to CU to talk with the coaches, and it felt great,” said Norgard. “It felt like I was at home, to be honest. All those guys share the same kind of love for football that my dad does. My dad played with coach Jon Embree (in 1985 and 1986), and they both helped set the stage for the national championship team. I would run through a brick wall for those guys.”

While ratings are not out for many of the 2012 class, look for Norgard to be rated highly. Norgard is a great step forward for the CU coaching staff, as closing the borders is a top priority for this coaching staff.

Welcome, Clay Norgard, to the Buff Nation (and p.s., thanks, Mom and Dad!).

February 14th

McCulloch signs with Colorado

Was it is his height (6’5″)?

Was it his ability to play well in big games (scored all four touchdowns in a 28-27 playoff loss to end his team’s season)?

Was it because of his ability to compare liver/spleen injury recovery stories with quarterback Tyler Hansen?

Hard to say. All we know for sure is that tight end/wide receiver Tyler McCulloch has become the latest member of the Colorado Class of 2011 (full bio has been posted under “CU Recruiting Class of 2011”). “We’re excited to have him as part of the program, and he is a great addition for us,” said Colorado head coach Jon Embree in a press release. “Tyler has a great combination of athleticism and size. Plus, he is an exceptional student (3.9 GPA).”

“I came up on my visit with the mindset that I was ready to commit,” McCulloch told “So when (coach Embree) offered, I think he knew, and I definitely knew, that I wanted to be a Buff.”

UPDATE: While McCulloch wasn’t offered a scholarship by New Mexico or New Mexico State, there may be a reason behind that. Under Comment No. 57, below, Cmac writes: “FYI: in NM there is a “Lottery” funded college scholarship for NM residents. Students maintain 2.5 GPA at in-state college, and their tuition is paid for. THAT is why NM athletes don’t “sign” with local schools. Their programs usually encourage players to “walk on” thereby preserving scholarships for “out of state” kids… Stinks but true.”

McCulloch becomes the 21st member of the Colorado recruiting Class, and will start at wide receiver. “As of right now, they are looking at me as a true wide receiver,” said McCulloch. “But in a few years, I may bulk up to 240 pounds or so. Who knows? With my frame, I might eventually move to tight end.”

February 13th

At least one wide receiver coming to Boulder

While Buff fans are waiting to hear if Michael Thomas will be visiting Boulder, BuffaloSportsNews is reporting that a wide receiver/tight end is coming … Tyler McCulloch.

McCulloch is a 6’5″, 195-pound wide receiver from Eldorado high in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The strength of my game is my size, I can go up and get the ball,” McCulloch said. “I would like to play wide receiver, but I’m not sure if I have the speed (4.7 in the 40) for it.”

Scout does not rate McCulloch, and does not show offers from any other schools. Rivals doesn’t even list McCulloch in its database.

Perhaps the reason McCulloch fell off the radar is that he injured his spleen in a September 17th and missed half of his senior season. McCulloch did return and play well enough to earn all-state honors, and in the playoff game which ended Eldorado’s season, McCulloch scored all four of the Eagles’ touchdowns in a 28-27 loss (Eldorado went for a two-point conversion late instead of kicking an extra point and going into overtime … tough way to end a season).

McCulloch will be in Boulder on Monday, but does not yet have an offer of a scholarship. “They told me they want to get to know me better,” McCulloch told McCulloch has been to Colorado before, as he was a participant in the Buffs’ summer full-contact camp. “I really like Colorado. I like the campus; it’s beautiful. Boulder is a fun place. Colorado is going to be in the Pac-12, so that is pretty cool, too.”

Jon Embree is known to want more depth at wide receiver, but McCulloch seems to be a position where he is too slow to be a wide receiver, and – at least for now – not big enough to be a tight end. With scholarships now at a premium, McCulloch may be asked to come to Boulder as a preferred walk-on … Tyler McCulloch YouTube video highlights

Not exactly the visit from a four-star wideout we were looking for … but Michael Thomas is still out there, at least for now.

February 9th

The Colorado Prep Class of 2012

The state of Colorado is not noted nationwide for producing top caliber high school football talent year-in and year-out. For the Buffs to compete nationally, they must recruit nationally (or at least make great inroads into the prep hotbeds of California and Texas).

Nonetheless, many Buff fans will focus on how well Jon Embree does in “closing the borders” when it comes to Colorado high school prep stars. As we have discussed before, quarterback Cyler Miles of Mullen high is likely to be considered the state’s top player, and is already attracting offers from all over the country. The fact that Colorado is in the market for a quarterback from the Class of 2012 will only heighten the scrutiny.

While there will be much said and written about Cyler Miles in the next twelve months, there are a number of other names with which you will become familiar in the next year. Jeff Stroud of has come up with a list of those players whom he believes will be receiving the most national attention:

Paul Thurston, offensive tackle, Arvada West … Thurston is 6’4, 265-pounds, and has already been a three-year starter for Arvada West.

Shane Callahan, offensive tackle, Chaparrel … Callahan is bigger than Thurston, at 6’6″, 285-pounds, but is not as ready as Thurston to take his game to the next level.

Max McCaffery, defensive back, Valor Christian … McCaffery already has great size for a defensive back, 6’2″, 185-pounds, and was all-state as a junior.

Clay Norgard, defensive lineman, Mountain Vista … Norgard is undersized for a defensive lineman (6’2, 245-pounds), but Jon Embree has indicated that defensive linemen are a priority for the Buffs in the Class of 2012, so don’t think that Colorado will be over-looking Norgard.

Evan Bayliss, tight end, Grandview … Colorado did not take a tight end in the Class of 2011, but should change with the Class of 2012. If this 6’6″, 220-pound prospect is interested in staying in-state, Bayliss might fill that slot.

Caleb Flack, quarterback, D’Evelyn … If Cyler Miles decides to go elsewhere, this 6’2″, 205-pound quarterback with outstanding stats (5,600 yards and 60 touchdowns in two seasons) might serve as a consolation prize that may pay dividends.

Cameron McDondle, running back, Columbine … Before he was injured during his junior season, McDondle (5’9″, 190-pounds) was averaging over eight yards per carry. If McDondle can remain healthy all season, he may be the highest rated running back in the state.

Zach Jones , tight end, ThunderRidge … Jones is a three-sport athlete, who even played running back last season when injuries took out the starters. A real athlete with good size – 6’4″, 235-pounds.

Tyler Henington, defensive end, Mullen … Henington, at 6’5″, 265-pounds, earned All-state recognition as a junior for the three-time state champions at Mullen.


February 8th

Book not yet closed on Class of 2011?

The latest rumor … not only are the Buffs still in the market for a wide receiver, but that there is a four-star wide receiver taking an official visit to Boulder next Monday.

Michael Thomas, a four-star wide receiver from Woodland Hills, California, did not sign a commitment letter last Wednesday. Thomas is 6’3″, 180-pounds, and is considered by Rivals to be the 36th-best wide receiver in the nation. Thomas has interest from Boston College to Arizona, from North Carolina to Oregon.

So, why hasn’t he signed?

The first answer in a situation like this is usually grades, that teams are reluctant to sign a player who is not likely to qualify. For Thomas, though, it may have been a combinationn of issues. First, he was home-schooled for a year, and that may have made it difficult to assess his qualifications and eligibility. Then, Thomas’ grandmother died in January, and Thomas told the recruiting services that he just wasn’t going to be able to make a decision by Signing Day.

The latest rumor is that Thomas will be taking an official visit to Boulder next Monday. In addition to Colorado, Thomas has offers from Oregon State, Colorado State, Houston, and Wyoming, and may be planning on taking more visits before he makes a decision. (In case you are wondering, none of this is outside of any NCAA limitations. Signing Day is just the first day a Letter of Intent can be signed and sent in to a school. Players have until April 1st to send in their Letters. As for Colorado, the Buffs failed to use over 25 of their allotted official visits this cycle, so there is no issue with granting an official visit to Thomas. Unfortunately, a team can only “bank” an extra six official visits from year to year, so Colorado will have the maximum allotment – 56 plus six “banked” visits, for a total of 62 visits – for next fall).

Colorado only signed one wide receiver last Wednesday, Nelson Spruce. The Buffs lost out on signing day (to UCLA) on coveted wideout Devin Lucien. According to Scout, Thomas’ strengths are his hands and his ability to  run precise routes. “He does a great job of catching the ball at its highest point, and can make the tough catch in traffic,” said Brandon Huffman, west coast recruiting coordinator for Scout. “Michael Thomas has a lot of things going for him right now,” said Brian Dohn for “He has a pretty good little shake to him on his releases out there (at the ESPN UnderArmour All-American game in  January) … Vertical routes tend to be his best.”

Getting Thomas would be a major coup.


 UPDATE – From Kevin Scarpati of … “Thomas was perhaps the City Section’s most prolific pass catcher this past season, hauling in 86 passes for 1,656 yards and 21 touchdowns. The performance really came out of nowhere, as Thomas didn’t catch a single pass as a junior. Thomas is the definition of a late bloomer, and, because of it, his recruiting got off to a much later start than most. He’s still unsigned, and with offers from Colorado, Oregon State, and Wyoming sitting on the table. The four-star athlete could pick up offers from larger schools with scholarships remaining, and will likely be a  hot commodity in the coming weeks. Oregon , North Carolina, and USC are reportedly interested”.

It now appears now that the Buffs are not the only team who is interested in this unsigned potential star (did you wince with the “larger school” comment? So, Colorado is now one of those “smaller” schools like Oregon State and Wyoming, who can give a recruit an offer, at least until the “larger” schools like USC and Oregon come calling. Ouch!).

February 4th

Trivia time

How well do you know the Colorado recruiting class of 2011? How well do you know the history of Colorado recruiting? What about CU and the Super Bowl?

Time for a little quiz … (Answers below):

1) Colorado signed three players from the state of Hawai’i this year. When was the last time Colorado signed three players from the Aloha State?  …  A) 2006; B) 2001; C) 1996: or D) Never.

2) The last year Colorado signed as many as three players from a state other than Colorado, Texas, or California, was in 2004. From what state did three new Buffs come from that year? …  A) Utah; B) Michigan; C) Arizona; or D) Ohio.

3) Colorado has signed only four players from the state of Colorado over the past two seasons. The Buffs signed two this year (Brady Daigh and Marc Mustoe), and two last year (Kyle Slavin and Justin Castor). The last time that the Buffs signed only four players from the state of Colorado over a two year span occurred in: … A) 2004-05; B) 1997-98; C) 1987-88; or D) Never.

4) On only one occasion in the last forty years has the state with the most new Buffs been a state other Colorado, Texas, or California. The year was 1978, and the state from which the Buffs brought in seven players was … A) Illinois; B) Missouri; C) Florida; or D) Louisiana.

5) True or False: Over the past 40 years, excluding California and Texas, Colorado has signed more players from the other Pac-10 states (Washington, Oregon, and Arizona) than it has from the other Big Eight states (Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma).

6) Much has been made about Jon Embree bringing back a number of Colorado graduates to coach on his staff. Yet there is a Colorado State alumnus who has infiltrated the 2011 CU coaching staff. Can you name the former Ram? … A) J.D. Brookhart; B) Bobby Kennedy; or C) Greg Brown.

7) Colorado joins the Pac-12 in 2011. Amongst the 12 schools, only one has played more football games in its history than Colorado. Name that school … A) Arizona; B) California; C) USC; or D) Washington.

8  Of the 12 schools in the Pac-12, only two have an all-time winning percentage under .500. One is Washington State (.492). The other is … A) Arizona State; B) Utah; C) Oregon State; or D) Stanford.

9)  Two former Buffs are on the rosters for teams playing in the 2011 Super Bowl. Name them.

10) Who was the last Buff to win a Super Bowl ring? … A) Alfred Williams; B) Ted Johnson; C) Christian Fauria; or D) Mitch Berger.

Bonus: Former Buffs Cliff Branch, Tom Ashworth, and Ted Johnson share what distinction?


1) D. Never. As recently as 2006 and 2007, Colorado has signed two players from Hawai’i in a year, but never before this year has Colorado signed three players from Hawai’i in the same season.

2) B. Michigan. (DT Josh Hunt, LB Brad Jones, and CB Corey Reid).

3) C. 1987-88. In the smallest class over the past 40 years (the Class of 1987 had only 12 members), there was only one Colorado player, and there were only three Colorado players in the Class of 1988.

4) C. Florida. Bill Mallory brought in seven players from the Sunshine State that year, and only nine combined from Colorado (5), California (3), and Texas (1).

5) True. There have been 39 players from former Pac-10 states in the past 40 years, but only 38 from the Big Eight states where the Buffs played every season. (BTW: Since 1973, there have been almost twice as many Buffs who have come from California – 214; than there have been from Texas – 109. Anyone else excited about the move to the Pac12?).

6) A. J.D. Brookhart is a Colorado State graduate (1988). Bobby Kennedy graduated from Northern Colorado (1989), while Greg Brown, from Colorado, went to school at UTEP (1980).

7) B. California. Colorado has played 1,149 games through 2010; Cal has played 1,194. Colorado is also second in games won in the Pac-12, with 671 (USC has won 769 to lead the league).

8  C. Oregon State. The Beavers have the worst winning percentage (.482) of any school in the Big 12. Colorado is fourth in that category (.600), behind USC (.702), Washington (.612) and Arizona State (.611).

9) Mason Crosby and Brad Jones are on the rosters for the Green Bay Packers, though Jones is on injured reserve.

10) D. Mitch Berger. Berger won a Super Bowl ring as the punter for the Pittsburgh Steeler in 2008.

Bonus: Cliff Branch (Oakland Raiders), Tom Ashworth (New England Patriots) and Ted Johnson (New England Patriots) share the distinction of being the only three former Colorado players to have each won three Super Bowl rings.


February 3rd

So, where did they go?

In addition to the higher profile recruits which went elsewhere, like Leilon Willingham and Devin Lucien, there are several other names with which Buff fans became familiar during the recruiting process … where did they go?

Remember Vladimer Emilien? He is the four-star safety from Michigan who said he was interested in transferring to Colorado if, and only if, Ashley Ambrose was retained as a coach. Well, Ambrose wasn’t retained, ultimately surfacing as a coach at Cal. As for Emilien, he wound up signing with … Toledo.

Remember Nick Sherry? He was the quarterback recruit from Petaluma, California, who committed to Colorado last fall. Jon Embree withdrew the scholarship offer, opting instead to go with Brent Burnette and Stevie Dorman as his two quarterback recruits. Nick Sherry did earn a scholarship, and he will play next season for … UNLV.

Remember Shaun Simon? He was the offensive lineman who signed on late with Colorado a few years ago. Then it turned out that a correspondence course he took for a core class didn’t count, and he didn’t qualify. He went off to junior college, promising to remain a Buff. In the end, though, the parties (I believe mutually) decided to part ways, and Simon ended up where many junior college players tend to end up when qualifying is an issue … Kansas State.

Others … Colorado defensive tackle David Moala … Arizona State; California defensive end Ian Seau … Kansas State; cornerback Stefan McClure … California.

 Any others you are curious about? …

The latest on those who are still uncommitted

Linebacker Leilon Willingham – Scout is reporting that Willingham has sent in his Letter of  Intent to Central Florida. No official word from Willingham is expected until the signing ceremony at Mullen high Thursday morning. UPDATE: Willingham did in  fact commit to play for UCF, following a teammate to Orlando.

Wide receiver Devin Lucien – Scheduled to announce his decision at 4:00 p.m. MT. Choosing amongst UCLA, Miami, Arizona, and Colorado. Loved his trip to Miami last weekend, but parents want him to stay close to home in Encino (an LA suburb). If Lucien is concerned about Rick Neuheisel’s future with the Bruins (and why wouldn’t he be?), then the Buffs still have a chance. UPDATE: Devin Lucien has opted for UCLA over Miami and Colorado.

Defensive end Stephan Nembot – Scheduled to announce his decision at 6:30 p.m. MT. Nembot wants his family in Cameroon to see his announcement on television, so Nembot is going to wait until the end of Signing Day. Washington State is out; it’s  down to Washington and Colorado. UPDATE: Nembot opted for Colorado!

Offensive lineman Marcus Martin – Still showing as a “soft verbal” for USC, Colorado is seen to be running third behind USC and Arizona. The only chance the Buffs have here is if USC asks Martin to grey-shirt, or withdraws its offer of scholarship due to NCAA penalties. Annoucement due early this evening. UPDATE: Martin has chosen to stay with his commitment to USC.

February 1st

So, where are we at?

Who’s left on the Colorado radar, and what are the chances that they will become Buffs?

Four-star linebacker Leilon Willingham would be a huge get, not only because he is a star player, but because he is the top player in the state of Colorado. For Jon Embree to make his mark, he will have to close the state borders to intruders, so getting Willingham to be a member of his first recruiting class would be a huge first step. Willingham committed to Texas A&M over the holidays, then de-committed right before he was scheduled to take his visit to College Station. Willingham took official visits to Colorado, Arizona State, Washington, Michigan, and Central Florida. Willingham visited Michigan last weekend, and the whispers are that Willingham will commit to the Wolverines at 7:30 a.m., tomorrow – maybe. UPDATE … Due to bad weather, Mullen high has cancelled its signing day ceremony, and has post-poned it until Thursday. No word yet as to whether this will delay Willingham’s announcement …

Four-star wide receiver Devin Lucien will wait until the end of the day (around 4:00 p.m., MT) to make his announcement. Lucien, from Encino, California, has been recruited hard by Colorado, though hometown UCLA may have the advantage. Lucien enjoyed his official visit to Miami last weekend, but Lucien’s parents want him close to home. The official final four are Colorado, Arizona State, Miami, and UCLA. Best guess here is that Lucien may well opt to stay home and play for UCLA …

Four-star offensive tackle Paulay Asiata will announce around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday (MT). The top recruit out of the state of Hawai’i this year, Asiata committed to Washington last week. However, it is now being reported that he has de-committed from Washington, and may well follow his teammate, defensive end Juda Parker, (see below) to Boulder. Of the three four-star players Buff fans are keeping an eye on during Signing Day, Asiata is suddenly the most likely to wear the black-and-gold …

Three-star offensive guard Marcus Martin is a true unknown. A longtime solid verbal commit to USC, Martin’s status may well hinge more on the USC appeal to the NCAA than anything Colorado coaches have said or done. If USC does not have its scholarship penalty reduced (it’s speculation at this point. There will not be a ruling on the appeal for another month), Martin may be asked to grey-shirt, or may have his scholarship offer rescinded altogether. Even then, Colorado would have to hold off Arizona, which is also bidding for Martin’s services …

Three-star defensive end Stephan Nembot took an official visit to Boulder this past weekend, just days after committing to  Washington. Nembot committed to Washington not long after committing to Washington State. A native of Cameroon, the 6’8″ Nembot has only been playing football for two years. He has a tremendous upside, and may turn out to be an offensive tackle. Nembot loved his trip to Boulder, just as he loved his visit to Seattle the weekend before. This impressive, but probably confused, young man, will announce his choice between Colorado and Washington around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. “There are only two choices I am looking at, I will choose either Washington or Colorado,” Nembot told “There are pluses and minuses on both schools, so you have to choose what is best for you,” Nembot told The Seattle Times. If you are looking for a ray of hope for the Buff Nation, you have to like this quote … ‘They (Colorado) have 300 days of sun. That might be something,” said Nembot. “Right now, there are so many questions, so I just don’t know. I’ll just wait until signing day and it will be over.” UPDATE: Nembot wants his family to see his announcement on television, so his announcement will be delayed until 6:30 p.m. MT, so that Nembot can announce his choice on

Two-star running back Malcolm Creer is the most likely of the Signing day announcment prospects to name Colorado as his choice. Creer only visited Boulder, and, even though he had interest from Washington and Nebraska, cancelled visits to both schools. Perhaps the only chances Creer announces for a school other than Colorado (around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday) is if Creer has offers we are unaware of, or if Colorado pulls its offer at the last minute due to the late rush of other commitments.

There is another four-star wide receiver out there who hasn’t been receiving much attention. Michael Thomas is a 6’3″, 180-pound prospect from Woodland Hills, California. While highly rated, Thomas did not take any official visits. Thomas has offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Wyoming, Houston, and Colorado State, but will not make any announcements on signing day due to the recent death of his grandmother. There is also apparently concern about Thomas qualifying, which has made it less likely that Thomas would have signed a letter of intent on Wednesday, anyway.

How many scholarships are out there?

Counting two January enrollees, offensive tackle Alex Lewis (2010 grey-shirt) and quarterback Brent Burnette (junior college transfer), Colorado now has 17 members of the Recruiting Class of 2011. Considering Colorado had 13 scholarships to offer, the math doesn’t seem to work.

Or does it?

There is always attrition, and that is even more often the case in a transition year. We already know that some players will not have their scholarships renewed (Kendrick Celestine, for example), while others (Andre Simmons?) may also not return. Plus, it is actually rare for a school to have all 85 of its allotted scholarships out at any one time. Many schools like to have a  few scholarships in their pocket for late signees (like wide receiver Paul Richardson last summer), and to give to walk-ons (think Aric Goodman, who received a scholarship after kicking the game-winning field goal against West Virginia in 2008).

With an extra large junior (now senior) class next fall, Jon Embree and staff may be willing to push the envelope with this year’s class.

Juda Parker just couldn’t wait!

Three-star defensive end prospect Juda Parker was going to wait until Signing day to announce his choice of schools … but he  just couldn’t wait.

“I took my official visit to Colorado on January 21st and just fell in love,” Parker told “I just knew from everything that they were talking about, everything they wanted to do with the program, it just made them stand out from all the other schools that were recruiting me.”

Parker took official visits to Hawai’i and Oregon State, and also had offers from Baylor, New Mexico State, Weber State, and Wyoming. Parker is rated by Rivals to be the 2nd-best prospect out of Hawai’i this year, and the 28th-best weakside defensive end in nation. Scout lists Parker as the 36th-best defensive end in the country.

More on Parker later today (I do have to work today!), with his full bio to be posted under “CU 2011 Verbal Commitments”

So, what about Asiata?

It has long been reported that teammates Juda Parker and Paulay Asiata wanted to play together. Asiata, the four-star offensive tackle prospect, committed to Washington on January 24th. The problem for the pair was that Juda Parker didn’t have an offer from Washington.

But Asiata did have an offer from Colorado. is quoting the report from yesterday that Asiata has de-committed from Washington, and, according to the Washington fansite, “The  two (Asiata and Parker) have been friends for several years, and it appears that Parker is going to be bringing Asiata with him to Colorado.”

Nothing official, mind you, and Asiata’s still scheduled to announce his decision early on signing day, but it is certainly looking more  and more like Asiata will join Parker in wearing the black and gold!

63 Replies to “Recruiting Update – February”

  1. Have you taken a look at the full/wing back/wide receiver who blocks for Cameron Mcdondle from Columbine H.S.

    6’2″ and a bit 205 4.62 40yd dash Noah Thompson. He is a natural wide receiver who blocks well and has excellent hands, to bad Columbine does not throw more.. See his video Noah Thompson high school recruitment video(google).

    He is also The nephew of Jeff Thompson a C.U. class mate of Eric Bieniemy. You may remember him from the late 80’s. Louisiana kid.

  2. Stuart, you referred to the Buffs moving to a “pass happy” conference, in the PAC 12 this year. Yes they like to throw the ball and always have but it will not be as big a shock as a few years ago would have been leaving the Big 12. I think that you would agree that the Big 12 over the last few years has morphed into a conference that is not at all shy about throwing the ball around. Although maybe the best QB in the country now resides in the PAC (Luck) the past guys from OU, UT, MU, & KU were pretty good college QB’s the last few years, and the same could be said for the receivers of the Big 12.

  3. Love the early verbal of a great in-state player. This has to be the earliest verbal we have received in at least 8 years.

    Stuart, what does your crystal ball say on Michael Thomas?

  4. FYI: in NM there is a “Lottery” funded college scholarship for NM residents. Students maintain 2.5 GPA at in-state college, and their tuition is paid for.
    THAT is why NM athletes don’t “sign” with local schools. Their programs usually encourage players to “walk on” thereby preserving scholarships for “out of state” kids… Stinks but true..

  5. No way this is a reach. They did not have to extend any more scholarships. They found this guy or just like Stevie, he found the buffs.

  6. Hopefully we have still have a shot at Mike Thomas…Not sure about McCulloch. I’m a little skeptical considering neither UNM nor NM State offered. Let’s hope he proves me wrong. Also, maybe there’s a junior or sophomore at his HS the coaches are looking at?…Any updates on whether Paul Richardson is definitely coming back? I assume no news is good news.

  7. Don’t need a bunch of Stars next to your name to be good , just gotta have heart , determination and a inner drive to beat the snot out of the guy across the line from you. McCullogh only got a half of a Senior year do to an injury , can you say flying under the radar. Still have Mike Thomas out there and a local kid Carzell Vickers he is a 3 star at 6 – 4 180lbs from Highlands Ranch CO Valor Christian High School , at this school you don’t play if you don’t have the grades.

  8. McCullogh looks pretty good. I could see him in the slot as a possession guy, plus at his size being very helpful blocking in the run game.

  9. Gotta get to a bowl. Embree has to show these kids the program is definitely headed in a positive direction. Gotta make these kids forget about Danny and the junior. I have to believe most of them would love to represent their home state, and as such play just a little harder with that pride. I know they want to go where they have the best chance of success…………but Kansas? figure that one out.

  10. Let’s hope it is sunny on the Flat Irons when Thomas makes his visit on Monday. We know Embry and EB will do their part. This would be huge!

  11. What is the story on Michael Thomas? I know he had a death in his family and that is why he has yet to declare. Are the Buffs still open to bringing him in or is there now no room? WE could sure use more WRs in this class.

    And how about Carzell Vickers? He hasn’t signed anywhere. Any chance he walks on? I’m assuming the CU offer listed for him was extended by Hawkins and perhaps withdrawn by Embree. ANy idea if that is how it went down?

    1. I believe at the time Embree said that, we were still waiting on Nembot’s official announcement, and still hoping that Willingham would change his mind.

      Unless there is a late qualifier (Michael Thomas?), I believe the book is closed on the Class of 2011.

  12. Do you have any updates on our injured players from last year? Major, Orms, Perkins to name a few. Will everyone be ready for spring ball?

    1. COS,
      Four players are out for certain for spring ball – Matt Bahr, Blake Behrens, Mike Iltis, and Max Tuioti-Mariner. all are recovering from off-season surgeries.

      TBD – Vince Ewing, Parker Orms, and Anthony Perkins

      Full Go – Shawn Daniels, Tyler Hansen, Brian Lockridge, and Jon Major

      1. Thanks Stuart!!!!

        I wonder if MTM will ever see the field again. Such high promise a few years back… I hope Orms and Perkins are ready soon. Impact players and impressive speed with Orms.

  13. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Juda Parker looks great!!! I am excited about this class. I know that it’s not a top class on talent rating, but I think if Embree and crew can coach this guys will be very good. I just have to say I have a membership to Rivals, and this site is just as good as far as info and timely info, GOOD JOB!!!Let’s wrap this up Mr. Embree and add a few more quality recruits.

  14. Very glad to be wrong as I tried to project what Juda Parker was trying to do (see my comments above). Great pick-up for the Buffs! And hopefully this does mean that Paulay Asiata will join Juda in Boulder.

    If my count is correct, the Buffs have 16 commits to date, with Asiata and presumably Malcolm Creer bumping that up to 18 commits. Assuming we have no defections from this group (and assuming the Buffs don’t rescind any offers to any commits), is there a way to offer scholarships to up to 3 other players that the Buffs would love to have? Do a couple of the lower ranked recruits end up gray-shirting to free up a few spots?

    This list oh top left players includes Leilon Willingham, Devin Lucien, Marcus Martin, Stephan Nembot and maybe even Todd Peat.

    Willingham would be a huge get for CU. Not only is Leilon a genuine 4 star prospect, but it would be awesome to start a tradition where Mullen’s top players head up the road to Boulder. Seems like Dave Logan has at least 4 legitimate BCS prospects at a minimum every year. I get the impression that Logan and the current CU staff will work together much better.

    WR Devin Lucien seems like a great playmaker. He has the size and speed to step in right away. You can picture him as the 3rd receiver after Richardson and Clements.

    All we need to know about OG Marcus Martin is his size (6’3″ & 357) and the interest he’s received from top programs (he’s a soft verbal commit to USC).

    DE Stephan Nembot seems to have a big upside (6’7″ & 270)and has only played football for a few years. Right now shown as a soft verbal to Washington.

    Would be great to steal Asiata and Nembot from Washington – the Buffs have butted heads with UW for a bunch of guys and up until now it seems that UW ahs been winning more than their share.

    Whatever happened with the TE Randy Horton ( He’s been a Nevada commit but a recent (1/26) cuatthegame had him listed as a possible commit.

    Plus we’re hearing that the Buffs are making a hard run at DT Ryan Campbell from Aurora ( Ii wasn’t able to find him at all on Perhaps the Buffs are lining him up as a preferred walk-on.

    Any other rumors about preferred walk-ons? Scotty McKnight worked out pretty well. It’s not always easy to project with 18 year olds. Plus some kids fall through the cracks.

    I’m excited to see how all of this shakes out.

  15. So Rivals is now showing Juda Parker as a Buff ( Rivals ) Juda Parker was hoping to wait until signing day to make an announcement about his college decision, but news of his commitment to Colorado started to leak more than a week ago. So the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end from Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis gave permission to add him to the Buffaloes’ commitment list on Monday evening.

  16. I’m liking what I’m hearing and hope it works out for CU on Wednesday. Thanks for the frequent updates – we are really grateful for all of your great work on your site.

  17. Am I incorrectly reading between the lines? Juda Parker hasn’t committed to the Buffs. He lists Washington first on this list, but he hasn’t been offered by Washington. Could he be hoping that Washington will offer him late and he can join Paulay Asiata at UW? If that’s the case, the Buffs won’t get a commitment from either of these guys until UW gives Parker the final word on an offer.

    I think that we can all relate to a young guy trying to get himself in the best position possible. Of course we think that will be in Boulder.

    Seems like the Buffs have gone head-to-head with Washington for a bunch of players (Paulay Asiata, Leilon Willingham, Stephan Nembot, Marvin Hall, Marcus Peters, etc.) And it seems that UW is winning just about every one of those head-to-head battles. Hopefully the CU staff will win more of these battles next year when they’ve had a chance to establish themselves with recruits.

    Did I miss it or did Leilon Willingham just update his profile and list CU as first and UW as second. Seems like he had UCF first and CU in the middle of the pack earlier today.

    Seems like all of the CU verbal commits are staying solid. Maybe we can have a positive surprise or three on Wednesday (Lucien, Willingham, Asiata, Martin, Nembot, Peat).

    Any other surprises in the works?

    I’m hoping that the Buffs start scouring the transfer players available, particularly on the D-Line. And maybe find a QB like Brandon Weeden or Joel Klatt that gives up on semi-pro baseball and is looking for a BCS school with a great opportunity to challenge for a starting position right away. A more mature guy like this would be great to bring into the fold this year. That’s an option that was never possible under Hawk – who’s going to go to a school where the coaches’ kid is also a QB?

    And what’s going on with Tricky Ricky at UCLA – rivals has them listed as only having 3 verbal commitments. How is that possible – Rick could always recruit.

    Go Buffs!

  18. Stuart,

    Thanks for all the updates. I truly believe that Weds will be the start of the Buffs return to national prominence.

    Go Buffs!!!!

  19. Devin Lucien, Leilon Willingham, Juda Parker, Will Harlos, Marcus Martin, Stephan Nembot, and last but NOT least Malcom Creer. All these guys would make a difference for the Buffaloes. They all understand that Coach Jon Embree and his staff are headed in the right direction. Boulder is a wonderful place.

    Juda Parker is the only one we really know of signing. Creer is taking his time along with our top prospect Lucien. Colorado’s overall best player Leilon plans to announce early Wednesday which is good. Harlos, Martin, Nembot (he should leave WA for CU) are the only ones that are truly unknown.

    I really hope Devin’s mom becomes excited about her son playing for the Buffs and seeing him playing at UCLA in a Buffs uniform next season. Leilon would be my other suprise of the day if he decides to help the Buffs new coaching staff.


    P.S. Thanks for all the GREAT updates!!!!!!

  20. I think being able to get Marcus Martin & Stephen Nembot don’t think we will but they should be a priority. Would also like to see them go after Willie Pounds Albuquerque NM or Ryan Campbell Aurora CO a couple of big kids for the OL and DL.
    Jacob Scheenberger 6-7 250lbs DE Fort Collins CO is another one.
    Need some beefy lineman to , where’s the love for the Big Uglies.

  21. CUBuff85

    Rivals is showing that Ian Seau, a three-star defensive end from Carlsbad, California, is down to Arizona State v. Kansas State. Rivals shows offers for Seau from a number of BCS schools, but only took official visits to Tempe and Manhattan.

    Michael Thomas is a mystery. He is a four-star wide receiver prospect from Woodland Hills, California, and is showing offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Wyoming, Houston, and Oregon State. His only reported official visit is to Oregon State this weekend, the last weekend before signing day. With the lack of offers from BCS schools, despite his high rating, you must consider whether eligibility is an issue …

  22. Stuart, what has happened to Ian Seau, the defensive end from San Diego. We heard a lot of him in December but nothing since. Also, Michael Thomas from Taft H.S. in California.

  23. I’ll be honest – I was quite shocked when there had been absolutely NO mention of picking up a kicker in this recruiting class.
    Welcome to the 2011 starting lineup Mr. Olive.

  24. VK
    I think you’re thinking of Branden Jackson, the PA defensive lineman.
    Jackson cancelled his visit, and will be taking an official visit to Pittsburgh instead.

  25. So Stuart

    now there are only 2 recruits scheduled to visit this weekend according to scout. A few days ago it was 4 and then it was 3. Do you recall who dropped off?

  26. Thanks Michael,
    But you should check out the January 22nd update, above.
    The DP is a little late to the party 🙂

  27. Correctomundo, VK, consider the article updated.

    BTW, thanks for posting links to the website at Buffzone!
    I can’t get over there as much as I would like, so I appreciate the plugs!

  28. Didn’t see any reports , Big Junior Offensive Tackle Shane Callahan was at BB game with CU coaches. He was sitting with his parents in section 5. He would be a big catch for 2012. He is the highest ranked 2012 Colorado recruit. I helped coach a little league team that had to play against him. I could see the group from my seat in section 4.

  29. His uncles, Ty and Koy Detmer, combined for more than 20,000 yards passing in college. The next generation in Texas high-school folklore, Stevie Dorman, will follow Koy’s foot steps to Colorado next fall.

    Dorman, 6-4, 215 pounds, committed Thursday night to new CU coach Jon Embree. Koy Detmer played for the Buffs from 1992-96, throwing for 5,390 yards. Ty Detmer won the 1990 Heisman Trophy for BYU and his 15,031 career yards stands second on the NCAA all-time career list.

    Although Dorman won’t take his official visit to Boulder until next week, Somerset (Texas) High School coach and Dorman’s grandfather, Sonny Detmer, said the extended family had been to the state many times.

    Sonny Detmer, a Texas high-school coaching legend, said while interest had picked up for Dorman, most schools want quarterbacks with spread offense experience. Somerset ran a West Coast style offense and Detmer has always had pass-oriented offenses since his sons played for him. Dorman is the son of Ty and Koy’s sister.

    “He understands the game,” the high school coach said. “He’s a little bigger than Koy and Ty were at this age. He plays like Ty and Koy. He sees the game. He understands the game.”

    Dorman threw for more than 9,250 yards as a three-year starter; he also played some as a freshman. The coach said he would have had more yardage if he hadn’t taken a seat by halftime in most games.

    He doesn’t have any stars listed on or, but that could change. Detmer said he doesn’t give information to the recruiting services.

    “I’d rather have 10,000 yards than four stars any day,” said the patriarch of the Detmer family.

    Read more: Colorado football lands quarterback from Detmer family – The Denver Post

  30. I like that we are aiming high and that some of these kids are now taking a look at CU. Just get them to Boulder for a visit…and let the the coaches and scenery do the rest! Go Buffs!

  31. ESPN is reporting that 6’4″ Penn St freshman QB Robert Bolden is leaving Penn St. He wants to go to another FBS school. He played in 8 games before getting a concussion and being replaced by a sophomore. He would have to sit out a yr but he was a 4* out of HS (and started most of the season as a true freshman). Depending on who Embree brings in as the QB coach, we might have a shot at a good one to push Hirschman in 2012 (plus whomever we bring in next year’s class).

  32. According to the local site,, newly hired CU fooball coach Jon Embree made an in-home visit to Mullen senior linebacker Leilon Willingham on Wednesday evening. ranks Willingham (6-feet-2, 240 pounds) as the state’s second-best senior prospect regardless of position, just behind Chaparral offensive lineman Brendon Austin and ahead of No. 3 Brock Berglund, the Valor Christian quarterback. Austin has given an oral commitment to Stanford, Berglund to CU.

    According to, Willingham has made official visits to Arizona State and Washington. Willingham was quoted as saying he might visit Texas A&M and Central Florida in January but isn’t sure if he will. His offer list also includes CU, Oregon and Boise State.


  33. Mustoe could be Nate Solder part 2 by the time he’s through CU.

    Great pickup and I’m very impressed that this staff is already getting things done.

  34. This is a nice get for Coach Embo! He commented in his initial presser about the importance of keeping the top notch instate kids rather than seeing them play for conference rivals in the Pac-12. Looks like he’s a man of his word.
    Go BUFFS!

  35. Stuart,

    Kyle Ringo at the Daily Camera has written on several occasions that Dan Hawkins didn’t always utilize the “best players” on the team, and instead doled out playing time based on work ethic. Does anyone know which players he is referring to? (Thornton?, Olatoye?) I’m just wondering if there is untapped talent hidden within the team.

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