It was an interesting week for the University of Colorado football program.

The Buffs lost one three-star recruit, then picked up a three-star recruit.

Not that unusual … except for the stories behind the players involved.

The two events – losing former CU running back commit Jomon Dotson to Washington, then picking up a commit from linebacker N.J. Falo 54 weeks before Signing Day, 2015 – help to demonstrate how important relationships between prospects and coaching staffs can be … and how tenuous.

Jomon Dotson, a California running back with almost 5,000 rushing yards in his high school career, had been a Colorado commit since October. Dotson was in Boulder for the Cal game in November, then took his official visit to CU in December, and came away a “solid verbal” commit. Dotson told Adam at right after his official visit: “Colorado is my No. 1 choice and I plan on sticking with them. I do have other schools coming in. But the chances are high that I will sign with Colorado. Probably 99.9 percent”.

What had sold Dotson on CU, in part, was his relationship with the coaching staff. “(I have) pretty good chemistry with (running backs) coach (Klayton)Adams,” Dotson told last fall. “He’s a pretty good coach. He came up here during track season. We have had good, long talks … Since I’m going to be there for the next four years I want to have chemistry with the school and the coaches”.

A month after Dotson was “99.9%” committed to Colorado, however, the .1% reared its ugly head, and Dotson switched his commitment to Washington, and former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen. Good chemistry with coaches, apparently, was not limited to Dotson’s relationship with Colorado. “I liked the coaches ever since Boise and they offered me at Washington,” Dotson told “They said I could come visit the school so I took one of my officials to their school and I liked it out there. The education was pretty good. I liked the academic advisors. The facilities were nice. I thought that was the right spot for me.”

It sounded as if the Colorado coaching staff did everything it could to convince Dotson to come to play for the Buffs … and it still wasn’t enough.

Meanwhile … Colorado picked up its earliest commit anyone can remember when high school junior N.J. Falo said he would be a member of the CU Recruiting Class of 2015 (CU has had several verbal commits on Signing Day in season’s past, coming a full year in advance, but Falo is the first to commit to Colorado before the seniors even had a chance to sign their Letters of Intent).

Why did Falo commit to Colorado so early? Falo says it was due to his relationship with the CU coaching staff, which dates back several years. “I’ve known them (CU head coach Mike MacIntyre and assistant coaches Klayton Adams and Brian Lindgren) every since my brother’s senior year, so 2011. For me it means a lot (to commit). Mainly the staff made me want to make the decision,” Falo the Daily Camera. “I know what they’ve done with their football squad and I’ve seen what they’ve done with people individually, as in, speaking of my brother.

“I had been waiting and going through the recruiting process, I feel like even though it is early, I have one more year to play, I’m just blessed this staff stayed with me throughout my sophomore year”, Falo said. “They kept up with me and kept me on this list. Knowing them really well made me make my mind up.”

Sounds like a “solid verbal” if there ever was one, doesn’t it?

Then again, Dotson sounded fairly certain – and sincere – in his commitment to CU (don’t read too much into this … but the CU coaching staff is not giving up on getting Dotson. It ain’t over until the Letter of Intent is faxed in on February 5th).

The harsh reality is that CU has been losing battles for players like Dotson for the past several years, and – as hard as it is to say – are likely to continue to lose such battles in the future (just as an example – and not to jinx anything – but last summer N.J. Falo said his dream school was UCLA. What if Falo has a great senior season, rises up in the ratings, and Bruin coach Jim Mora knocks on his door …?).

There is no other way to put it: The University of Colorado football program is caught up in a whirlpool of negativity, and it will be hard to break out of this habit of losing. Winning breeds winning, and losing breeds losing, and CU is mired in a streak of losing seasons longer than any seen in the 124 years football has been played in Boulder. The Buffs started play in the Pac-12 behind the eight ball in terms of facilities, then had to go through two years of reduced income, furthering hampering efforts to catch up with the rest of the conference. Pile on top of this a history of a (relative) lack of support from the University and community and a depth chart deciding lacking in talent … there are simply no quick fixes available to this program.

Welcome, Mr. MacIntyre … now go out and recruit top players who can compete in the second-best conference in the nation.

All Mac & Co. have to pitch to recruits right now is themselves and a vision for the future (and drawings of what may someday be competitive facilities). In a world of instant gratification, that’s a hard sell to a 17-year old who sees himself as a future NFL star, and doesn’t want to be on the sidelines of a team which consistently loses by double digits to conference rivals.

So what the CU coaching staff has to do is work harder than everyone else. The story N.J. Falo tells of his relationship with the CU coaches, dating back to when they were recruiting his brother to play at San Jose State, is encouraging. We’ve heard that Mike MacIntyre and his staff, while at San Jose State, visited every high school in California, and that this staff plans to not only continue to carpet all of California, but build relationships with every high school coach in Colorado as well. That’s good news.

It’s also going to take the salesmanship of the present players. When recruits come on official visits, they have official hosts, potential future teammates trying to help sway recruits to take a chance on the Buffs. That’s more to the selling of a program than just reciting the party line … the player hosts have to believe in the program, the coaches, and the team’s collective vision for the future.

Rebuilding of team chemistry also seems to be going fairly well. While there have been defections in the 13 months since Mike MacIntyre was hired, even those who have left the program have tended to do so on good terms.

Let’s use the quarterbacks as an example. Here are some of the quotes from three of the quarterbacks who have left the program:

Nick Hirschman: “I loved my time here and the relationships I’ve had with my fellow teammates; I wouldn’t trade them for anything”;

Stevie Joe Dorman: “But I really enjoyed my three years here at CU. I liked my coaches, and appreciated what everyone did for me”; and

Connor Wood: “I would like to give a special thanks to the University of Colorado football team, and coach MacIntyre for allowing me to be a member of its family for the last three years”.

Signing Day, 2014, is less than two weeks away. By all accounts, the CU Recruiting Class is going to be – compared to much of the Pac-12 – a disappointment. There will be few stars (though there may be a few surprises), and the pundits will rank  the CU Recruiting Class in the bottom quarter of the conference, and in the bottom half of the nation.

While many in the Buff Nation may not take away much from February 5th, Buff fans will have to trust in Mike MacIntyre and his staff to find  “diamonds in the rough” from this list of signees. We simply have no choice. We simply have to hope that there are a few more players like Addison Gillam, Chidobe Awuzie and Michael Adkins in this group – players overlooked by other schools who can excel at the BCS level of play.

There will not be enough star power to build a Pac-12 champion out of this Class.

But, perhaps, there will be enough star power to build a bowl team.

If it happens, it will be because of the hard work Mike MacIntyre and his staff have put in behind the scenes … building relationships one player at a time.

3 Replies to “Relationships”

  1. Yo Stuart,

    It’s the nature of the beast that teens being recruited heavily are like the proverbial kid in a candy store. Every year, lots of them change their minds during the final weeks leading up to National Letter of Intent Day. Lots more will do so between now and Feb.5th.

    Take it as a testament to MacIntyre’s reputation as a fine evaluator of talent that other Pac-12 schools go after his recruits. The recruiting “services” are really a joke being played on high school athletes and over-zealous fans who need numbers and stars to play with.

    The don’t evaluate 90% of things that need to be taken into consideration when offering very valuable scholarships. Colorado plays in the Pac-12, not the SEC. Young men going to school here will be required to read and write before they get in.

    Check out some articles detailing the lowest Wonderlic scores for guys coming out of college into the NFL. SOUTH and EAST are the common demoninator. They certainly aren’t guys from the Pac-12. Also check out the work by the North Carolina professor detailing how many big time athletes are getting scholarships with 4th-8th grade reading levels. Sadly, many of these young men are given degrees while never getting their reading levels above middle school levels.

    Recruiting aside, the most important thing is player development. This coming season and the season after will show how well Mac and staff do in this department. They showed how good they were at San Jose State and there is no reason to believe that they will not do it again.

    STRENGTH is the key. But it will take several years of working with Dave Forman before CU can match strength with the likes of Stanford and USC. CU was manhandled last year and it has been that way for years. Fortunately for the Buffs, Forman is one of the best, brightest and most innovative sports performance guys in the country. Two more years and Colorado players will be as strong as anyone in the conference.

    As far as Mac and staff are concerned, we need to let them do their jobs. Colorado has serious guys evaluating talent above and beyond whether a guy runs a 4.4 40 yard dash.


  2. When recruits can see artist’s renditions of the new facilities and shovels in the ground is when we will be able to see better recruiting classes. Until then, we have to have ‘faith’ in the coaching staff being able to coach-kids-up to meet their potential to keep the program heading in the right direction.

    After the completion of the present facility plans is when we will see how we can recruit in comparison to the rest of the PAC-12.

    I agree with Adam…. “show a little faith.”

  3. There is no greater inexact “science” (outside of weather perhaps) in the field of forecasting than that associated with predicting what type of college player a 17 or 18 y/o kid is going to become. Once upon a time CU recruited Marcus Houston, Craig Ochs and Darrell Scott. None of them could miss at CU. Except they did and in all candor when they left for greener pastures the results for each were, at best, mixed.

    Show a little faith. It is hard to do for certain but it should not be impossible.

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