Apples to Apples: Comparing Mike MacIntyre’s recruiting Classes

Success in recruiting is relative.

The Alabama Recruiting Class of 2018 is currently rated as the No. 8 Class in the nation.

No. 8 in the nation?

A pipe dream in Boulder … a down year in Tuscaloosa.

Colorado fans fancy their school as one of the Top 25 in the country, and history is on their side. This past season, CU became the 25th school in the history of the NCAA to reach the 700-win plateau.

To maintain a Top 25 ranking, however, the Buffs will need to put behind them the past decade, where losing ten games in a season was far more likely than winning ten games.

Recruiting, not surprisingly, mirrored CU’s decline. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Colorado has ranked higher than 10th in the conference in recruiting exactly twice.

That would be last year’s Class, the Recruiting Class of 2017, when CU had the No. 32 Recruiting Class (Rivals), 7th in the Pac-12.

And this year’s Class, the Recruiting Class of 2018, with CU currently ranked 38th in the nation (Rivals); 6th in the Pac-12.

For some perspective on the Class of 2018, we need to first look at Mike MacIntyre’s previous Recruiting Classes.

CU Recruiting Class of 2013 – 21 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 67 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 68 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: Quarterback Sefo Liufau; wide receiver Devin Ross; offensive lineman Colin Sutton; wide receiver Bryce Bobo

— Most successful players (based upon production, career starts, awards won, etc.): Running back Phillip Lindsay; Sefo Liufau; Byrce Bobo; Devin Ross; linebacker Jimmie Gilbert

CU Recruiting Class of 2014 – 23 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 63 nationally; 10th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 74 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: Wide receiver Shay Fields (four stars); quarterback Cade Apsay; defensive back Akhello Witherspoon; defensive back Donovan Lee

— Most successful players (based upon production, career starts, awards won, etc.): Shay Fields; Akhello Witherspoon; linebacker Rick Gamboa; linebacker Leo Jackson

CU Recruiting Class of 2015 – 18 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 70 nationally; 11th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 69 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: Offensive lineman Tim Lynott, Jr.; running back Patrick Carr; linebacker N.J. Falo; quarterback Steven Montez

— Most successful players (based upon production, career starts, awards won, etc.): Tim Lynott, Jr.; Steven Montez; defensive back Isaiah Oliver; defensive back Afolabi Laguda; defensive tackle Jordan Carrell

CU Recruiting Class of 2016 – 18 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 65 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 69 nationally; 12th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: Running back Beau Bisharat (four-stars); wide receiver Juwann Winfree (four stars); wide receiver Johnny Huntley; linebacker Pookia Maka

— Most successful players (based upon production, career starts, awards won, etc.): Juwann Winfree; linebacker Drew Lewis; linebacker Akil Jones; offensive lineman Colby Pursell

CU Recruiting Class of 2017 – 28 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 32 nationally; 7th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 35 nationally; 7th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: offensive lineman Jake Moretti (four stars); wide receiver K.D. Nixon; offensive lineman Grant Polley; linebacker Nate Landman

And now …

CU Recruiting Class of 2018 – 19 players signed

— Rivals rank: No. 38 nationally; 6th in the Pac-12

— 247 Sports rank: No. 43 nationally; 7th in the Pac-12

— Highest rated players: Wide receiver Dimitri Stanley (four stars); linebacker Davior Taylor (four stars); wide receiver Dylan Thomas

Not bad … comparatively.

And the ranking might actually go higher, and CU has the wacky new National Signing Day to thank.

With about 25% of the Power Five conference schools switching coaches this season (33% – four-of-12 – in the Pac-12), moving Signing Day from February to December kept some of these schools from solidifying or expanding their Recruiting Classes.

I give you Oregon.

The Ducks, abandoned by Willie Taggart after only one season, promoted offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to head coach, in no small part to try and keep their Recruiting Class together. Oregon was looking at a Top Ten (perhaps even a Top Five) Recruiting Class with Willie Taggart at the helm.

And now?

Oregon is currently showing the No. 11 Class in the nation, an excellent showing.

But … that is assuming a Class of 20, but, as we speak, six of those players have yet to sign their Letters of Intent. That list includes two four star players and four three star recruits. If Oregon gets all six, they can maintain their status. If there are further defections, however …

According to 247Sports, Oregon has had ten decommitments – with eight of those commitments being four star players. Had the Ducks had until February to line up their coaching staff and get more time with their recruits, who knows how many players may have wound up in Eugene?

Now, Colorado did have a few decommitments, but only one – a two-star offensive lineman – jumped ship at the last moment.

And it’s not as if other teams didn’t try to poach CU’s recruits. According to Mike Singer at CUSportsNation, there were a number of CU prospects who stayed with the Buffs despite last minute offers from other schools

(A few examples: wide receiver Dimitri Stanley took an official visit to Washington the weekend before Signing Day … offensive lineman Frank Fillip took a trip to Notre Dame … linebacker Delrick Abrams took a trip to Oregon … safety Aaron Maddox received an offer from UCLA … tight end Darrion Jones heard from USC, UCLA and USF in the final days leading up to Signing Day).

The CU coaching staff is either getting better at hanging on to recruits, the facilities upgrades are starting to take root, or the Buffs were the beneficiaries of the early Signing Day, saving Colorado from a month of decommitments.

Could be all three.

What we do know for sure is that the last two Recruiting Classes, at least through the lens of national Recruiting rankings, are the best CU has enjoyed since joining the Pac-12.

And that, in and of itself, is reason to celebrate these recruits.

Program Note … Normally, you would find at CU at the Game, the weekend after Signing Day, an in depth look at the Recruiting Class, and how it will affect the roster heading into the new season. With this being a holiday weekend, though, I am going to hold off and post my in-depth recruiting postings until next weekend.

Hope you understand … and that you will be checking back next week. In the meantime, I will keep you up-to-date on any new Recruiting news (DB Hassan Hypolite may still become a Buff … sooner rather than later).

Happy Holidays!!





11 Replies to “CU Classes under Mac II”

  1. Hey Merry Christmas. Hey Happy New Year. And for you others Happy Holidays

    What follows is a major plagiarism and why me/some/many Buff supporters have issues with the coaching staff especially the HC …..and it is easy to see when the coach speak is erased the reality sets it.

    Now the cheerleader ( I know they will do it next week….Mac and his staff will do it. blah blah banker blah) and the rah rah rah ol rah group and the don’t know (there are so many) group will not be able to see this. And it is okay. The Bell curve is in play here.


    The main issue with MM’s performance for 2017 wasn’t about going 5-7. It was the stuff that surrounded going 5-7. This was the most undisciplined year under MM and it made the team really hard to cheer for.

    1 – three players from the 2-deep on defense who were desperately needed had behavioral issues that got them kicked off the team

    2 – two senior captains had behavioral issues and got suspended the first couple weeks of the season and then they came right back and stepped right in. Ridiculous. That is not leadership period either by the staff or the players.

    3 – other reported issues of leadership issues with seniors and other team leaders (I was told/heard many reports that guys weren’t mentoring young players, were blaming teammates for hurting their draft stock, were more focused on that week’s party than that week’s game, etc.) I am sure others were told/heard these as well

    4 – team did not improve as the season went along, the early issues remained issues — the opposite had been a MM hallmark but he never got through to this group — and HE (and therefore the Staff and Players)even seemed to quit after senior day instead of showing up at Utah focused on earning a bowl game

    5 – lack of “it” with the 2017 team in terms of making a play — tentative/poor tackling, didn’t make the big throw or catch or interception or strip or sack — if there was an opportunity to win or lose a close game the Buffs were never the team that made that play

    When issues with a team are so pervasive they have to be called systemic, you have to look at the top of the organization. I am very upset with MM for 2017. So far, he seems to have re-focused and is starting the offseason strong. But there’s more he has to do to get me back on board for 2018.

    Staff changes: Lindgren has left. Changing OCs is long overdue. (And Mac could not make that decision. His loyalty first especially to weak individuals puts him and the team at risk. The offense never performed as a top of the Pac-12 unit under him and the success of the 2017 season was dependent on having a dominant offense. It didn’t come close to happening and he is rightly gone.

    More changes have to be made. Recruiting must become more of an emphasis with MM’s expectations of his coaches. RECRUITING IS HALF THEIR JOB! If you don’t recruit, you are automatically a failure as an assistant coach.

    There are at least 2 more staff changes that need to be made (Jeffcoat and Bernardi) who are not pulling their weight while they make more money than a guy like Brown who accomplishes a hell of a lot more.

    Roster changes: Addition by subtraction. We had cultural issues in 2017. This offseason needs to be fairly brutal. Training and practices need to set a new standard that’s going to push out guys who don’t care enough but are just hanging on to get a free education.

    Guy who can’t play even to the point of being able to achieve a role and star in it (even a limited role on special teams) need to be graduated early or transferred out.

    A couple guys are always hurt and need to be medically retired instead of continuing to have them take up a roster spot. There remains quite a bit of dead weight on the scholarship roster.

    Also, there can be no such thing as a “returning starter” or “pencil depth chart” this spring.

    Every single job has to be up for competition. Being an upperclassman can mean nothing in terms of winning a job.

    In fact, if a position battle is close to even then the tie should go to the young guy because you can gain experience & wisdom at a position with more reps but you can’t gain talent with more reps.

    If the result of this is that the Buffs need to bring in 7 or 8 more guys through spring JUCO grads and transfers, then that’s a good thing.

    MickeyMac was distracted and out of touch last year. The whole Tumpkin deal pretty much ruined it for him. Here you see his inability to admit any, even a little, wrong doing on his part or take the responsibility for failure. That inability blinded him the whole year and he never could get past when he said about a player “He doesn’t know what he is talking about”………………when he really did……..This was way beyond his ability to handle reality. I believe that I really do.

    It appears he is over that fiasco a bit. He needs to get focused on his job……..Refocused………Time to bust through the peter principle layer that is keeping him down.

    So I am kinda back on board with him. The talent is coming and has been coming, No I wanna see the best players play always. Not that krap fo seniority. I am gonna say it again. lil mac should graduate. He is not as talented as at least 7 of those receivers. If he is a starter, The respect for Chev is gone couldn’t stand up to the boss.. Mac will be forever be FlimFlamMan 2 aka hawkey lawkey


    MickeyMac says and makes the players say:


    that is half right

    MickeyMac needs to make himself and his coaching staff say:


    That was wasted season. It’s all on the Leader. Hopefully RG let him know what’s up..

    Go Buffs. The fan in me says…………Expecting a great 2018

    1. Well stated VK.

      Buffs need to get it together next season. Got my new Buffs sweatshirt for Christmas and I would like to be able to wear it with pride.

      Happy New Year everyone!

    2. Some great points VK. 2016 was a year everything went right. 2017 was a year everything went wrong. Seniors led in 2016. In 2017 they started the season suspended. I think you’re right about the Tumpkin distraction on MM. And WAY too much playing time to seniors who weren’t performing, starting with the WR’s. Leadership starts with accountability and the coaching staff didn’t make players accountable. I hope Chev has a different approach and rewards production over seniority. And let’s hope the DL and OL take major steps forward, I hope they can’t get worse. Improvements there would instantly make us better in bunches.

  2. Good job by the Buffs to keep this year’s class together as well as they did and end up with another decent recruiting class. What a struggle it’s been to get to the middle of the pack, but two years in a row is a good sign.

    Now having said that, the elephant in the room (I hate to sound like a glass half empty guy) is that the last four star QB successfully recruited was Bernard Jackson back in 2003. 2003! A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2003. I’m not knocking the QBs on the team now (or since 2003) but current college football offense is all about the talent (ability and decisions) of the QB. Let’s be thankful that Buff recruiting has improved and hope that it will continue to improve.

  3. Excellent, excellent recruiting coverage Stuart! I appreciate your commitment to keeping us well informed and to sharing your insights, perspectives and even strong opinions at times. I’ve enjoyed responding to all of these at times this past year and look forward following your work in 2018. Your views offer quality, honest journalism that breathe fresh air on the program…air that is less constrained than some of the other Buff writers who are not as free to share a full perspective on the difficult topics that need discussed. Finally, remember to let us know how we might have the ability to “Go Fund You” or sponsor all or parts of your site at times. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Stuart!

  4. Outside of the traditional types of stats (number of stars, meeting needs, speed, weight, ratings, etc) there is something that I liked about this class that I could not put my finger on until today. Maybe the reason I like it is that there appear to be a number of players in this group that are hungry to play and will bring passion to the field, something that was lacking in the vast majority of last season’s games and frankly, the number one disappointment for me. I hope this is the case and we see a team that shows up for every game and gives it their all.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  5. Good stuff, Stu.

    I think there are some other contributing factors to the increased improvement in CU’s recruiting. In no particular order:
    – the recruiting organization has been beefed up intentionally, since Mac arrived;

    – Chev was brought in as the recruiting coordinator/director, who we all believe is a dogged, and good recruiter (and bleeds CU, Boulder, etc.);

    – Mac and Co are good at evaluating talent, and they’re typically on to kids pretty early. At this point, that is recognized by their peers, so kids they’re targeting are getting late pressure from other teams, but our Buffs were there early, and kept at it.

    – As we’re seeing, hopefully, now their able to recruit kids who are not only athletically gifted, and football smart, who can succeed on and off the field, but… they’re actually built to play early, if needed, vs. being the little kid on the block, needing three years to grow into D1 players, as the first four classes were, predominantly.

    And, Mac touched on this, I have to believe that the team chemistry really helps.

    As Mac said “The thing that sells (recruits) is when you bring them in and they meet the (players) and they go out with the kids and the coaches aren’t around,” MacIntyre said. “These last two classes show you that the culture of our kids and the belief in our kids is that they believe we’re going to be really successful. They like it here at Colorado and they believe in what we’re doing.”

    I think that’s huge. If the team weren’t still buying what Mac et al are selling, neither would the next class of recruits.

    Looking forward to continued progress with their recruiting and that continuing to translate into more Ws on Saturdays (and Thursdays, and Fridays…).

    Go Buffs.

  6. I am more optimistic about the Mighty Buffs than a long long while.

    The coaches have the talent (even if it is young) that can play the damn game.

    Give em a game to play and they will come.

    No more krappy offensive everything from a coaches standpoint. Dangnab it
    “The offensive witch is dead”,


  7. Great summary, really gives some perspective. I’m pleasantly surprised by this class.

    The big question: with early signing day over, how many position coaches getting chopped? How many schools fire coaches that they held on to just to make sure recruits don’t flip, that in prior years they would have had another few months to re-recruit with replacement coaches?

    ….and will this happen with CU (looking at you Jeffcoat)?

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