CU Recruiting Class of ’22 – Notes, Quotes and Random Thoughts

The early signing period for the Recruiting Class of 2022 concluded with CU receiving 19 Letters of Intent. There was one last minute pick up, one last minute defection, and one unexplained no show.

The Class of 2022 … 19 Commitments, by Position (bold = signed Letter of Intent … * = will be on campus for spring practices)

  • QuarterbacksOwen McCown
  • Running BacksVictor Venn
  • Wide ReceiversJordyn TysonChase SowellGrant Page*
  • Tight EndsZach Courtney
  • Offensive LinemenTravis Gray*Carter Edwards
  • Defensive LinemenAaron Austin
  • LinebackersEoghan Kerry*Aubrey Smith … Shakaun Bowser  … Kaden Ludwick
  • Defensive BacksSimeon HarrisJoshua Wiggins*Keyshon MillsDylan DixsonXavier SmithOakie Salave’a*
  • SpecialistsAshton Logan*

By the numbers …

— By State … Texas: 8; California: 3; Georgia: 3; Colorado: 2; Oregon: 1; Mississippi: 1; American Samoa: 1 …

— Over the past 49 years, the bulk of CU’s recruits have come primarily from three states: California (286), Colorado (266) and Texas (150).

— The eight signees from Texas was the most since Gary Barnett signed 10 Texans in 2002. The Buffs did pick up seven Texans in 2017 and 2012, and eight in 2003.

— CU picked up only two players from Colorado, but that number is not inconsistent with recent signing days. The Buffs signed only three in-state players last season, and only two the year before. You have to go back to 2002 to find a CU signing Class with more than five in-state recruits (7 in 2002);

— The Buffs only signed three players from California, the same number as last season. The average number of Californians for CU’s signing Classes, since joining the Pac-12, is almost seven per year;

— While the number might change, the Recruiting Class of ’22 is currently without a junior college signee. If that holds, it will represent the first Class in ten years in which CU did not sign at least one player from the junior college ranks;

— Colorado has 66 lettermen returning for the 2022 season (62 from the 2021 team, four from 2020); they break down into 30 on offense, 32 on defense and
four specialists; the Buffs lose 23 lettermen off the 2021 squad (12 offense/10 defense/1 specialist). With an 85-man scholarship limit, if you add in the 19 members from the Class of 2022, that leaves CU right at 85 total players. Translation: From here on in, every new player (late signing period; graduate transfer; junior college transfer; Transfer Portal addition … will mean that a player from last season – who played enough to earn a letter – will be leaving the program.

Individually … 

— Signing Day witnessed some movement in the CU Signing Class. One previous commit, linebacker Kenny Soares from New Canaan, Connecticut, had been a CU commit since August, but signed with Northwestern. Colorado, meanwhile, flipped wide receiver Grant Page from Boulder (Fairview). Page had been a Nebraska commit since June;

— There was some hope for a big splash announcement on Signing Day, with two four-star recruits still considering Colorado. Four-star defensive end Samuel Okunlola, though, opted to sign with Pitt, while four-star running back Jaydn Ott decided to sign with Cal;

Oakie Salave’a, a legacy from American Samoa (Oakie’s father, Okland, played for the Buffs from 1986-90, and was part of CU’s national championship team). Salave’a is listed above with the defensive backs, but is listed by CU as an “athlete”, with a position (perhaps even quarterback) to be determined during spring practices. When asked about Salave’a, Karl Dorrell said: “He is a multi-faceted kid. He likes playing quarterback so we give him a shot there, but he also says coach if I can help the team in any way, I want to do it.”

Quotable Karl Dorrell (From Signing Day press conference) … 

— “We had a good Signing Day. We feel good about it. So far in our class, we will get 19 guys signed in this first part of the signing process. We got another month to ago in terms of January being another impactful month to continue to fill out this class. We feel like we’re off to a great start.”

— “So, there’s still some positions that need to be addressed. We still would love to get another defensive lineman and an inside linebacker. Corner positions are in great shape. We still need safeties. I still think there’s still some targets for us to try to find both from the portal standpoint or ‘22 class freshmen standpoint. Offensively we probably have enough running backs, but we’re hoping maybe to gain one and that’s going to be important as we go through this January period. Offensive line I think is probably the biggest position maybe two more is important so there’s still some areas that we need to address the most in the second phase.”

— “I think they do have a common thread about being winners, and about being impactful that way. The confusing part is their persona in the program. You know a lot of these guys have had a lot of success. Most guys do that are going to recruit in fashion. They are successful. But what I see with this group is that they know we’re not far away from where we can be a really good team, and they feel that they can be a difference-maker and help us get there faster. So I think that’s the common thread throughout, being able to compete, being able to help this team win and they see an avenue for themselves to be better”.

Grading the Class … 

Rivals has the CU Recruiting Class of 2022 ranked 41st in the nation; fourth in the Pac-12, behind Stanford, Utah, and right behind Arizona (No. 40). According to Rivals, the top four players on CU’s board are QB Owen McCown; DB Dylan Dixson; LB Aubrey Smith; and WR Jordyn Tyson. Rivals last season had CU’s Recruiting Class ranked 63rd in the nation; 9th in the Pac-12;

247 Sports has the CU Recruiting Class of 2022 ranked 48th in the nation; sixth in the Pac-12, behind the three schools mentioned above, along with Oregon and UCLA. According to 247 Sports, the top four players are  DB Dylan Dixson; LB Aubrey Smith; QB Owen McCown; and LB Eoghan Kerry (WR Jordyn Tyson is fifth). 247 Sports had CU’s Recruiting Class ranked 64th in the nation; 10th in the Pac-12;

Neill Woelk from sees promise in CU’s Class of 2022:

” … The list of players who will have a chance to put themselves in the mix includes most of the class — and that might be the most impressive overall characteristic of the newest Buffs.

There are no “reaches,” no hopeful “diamonds in the rough.” The Buffs didn’t sign players with fingers crossed that they will “grow into the position.”

Instead, every member of the newest group of Buffs is capable of vying for a spot on the depth chart. From top to bottom, this might be overall as solid of a group as CU has signed in years.”

Random Thoughts … 

— In our “CU at the Game Podcast – Special Episode: The Recruiting Class of 2022“, Brad, Neil and I went through each position group. While there is some optimism about the Class as a whole going forward, we were less optimistic than Neill Woelk about the Class of 2022 having an immediate impact. Phrases like “Tremendous upside” and “great potential” seem more fitting for this devoid-of-four-star recruits Class than “plug-and-play”;

— Quarterback recruit Owen McCown is a great example. While listed by the recruiting services as one of the top prospects from CU’s Class, McCown weighs only 175-pounds, and needs a year or two with S&C coach Shannon Turley before being allowed to face 300-pound defensive linemen. Plus, McCown is not an early enrollee, so he won’t be practicing as a Buff until August. Great potential … but not this fall;

— Here’s hoping that the Buffs will be heavily invested in the Transfer Portal looking for offensive linemen. The Buffs have three returning starters (LT Jake Wiley; RG Casey Roddick; and RT Frank Fillip), but lose starters Kary Kutsch and Colby Pursell (along with Ohio State transfer Max Wray, who is medically retiring). Not only are the Buffs losing starters and depth, they are losing starters and depth from a unit which dramatically underperformed this fall. CU picked up two offensive tackle prospects from the Class of 2022, but more help is needed – immediate help. Fingers crossed that CU has an in on several top notch offensive line transfers;

— Other transfer needs – as noted by Karl Dorrell in his press conference – defensive linemen; cornerbacks; and inside linebackers. Colorado loses only three starters on defense – Nate Landman, Mustafa Johnson, and Carson Wells – but those are big shoes to fill. Depth along the defensive line particularly is scary. On paper, the Buffs have three returning starters along the defensive front – Terrance Lang; Jalen Sami; and Na’im Rodman. But the backups (Justin Jackson – 135 plays; five tackles; Janaz Jordan – 234 plays; four tackles; Tyas Martin – five plays; zero tackles) don’t offer much help … and this from a coaching staff which likes to rotate 6-8 linemen during a game. CU signed only one defensive lineman this cycle, and while Aaron Austin has potential, he is not a one man gang. The CU coaching staff will have to hit the Transfer Portal hard, hoping that several quality defensive linemen fall into their laps.

— Which is all a long winded way of saying … the book on CU’s Recruiting Class of 2022 is far from closed.


7 Replies to “Class of ’22 – Notes, Quotes and Random Thoughts”

  1. Ohio State transfer Max Wray is a really sad situation. CU had their starting left tackle for 3 years and the poor kid got injured in the neck, which is too risky to play anymore. He could have become and NFL player in time and we would have had a star from the portal. Now we still need that position filled and people say CU struck out in the portal, which isn’t fair or accurate. I hope the young man gets healthy and can have a long life without constant headaches, dizziness, etc. I have known people in similar situations that never fully recovered. God Bless.

  2. Hopefully KD is close to landing a top Oline coach (I’d be happy with Vlachos) who can help recruit some good transfers. Hope Chris Wilson is working the contacts for Dline transfers.
    We all saw how a disfunctional Oline will short circuit the entire offense. Yes a more experienced QB can perform a bit better than Lewis (or any freshman QB), but I don’t think anyone wants to test that theory.
    Plus, you can have all the great pass protecting corners you want, but if your Dline is a sieve, then teams will just run non-stop on you.

    I like this class as a foundation for the future, but (and its a big BUT) we need immediate help for next season. Experienced D1 help.

  3. Yup,
    It appears the Oline is in shambles.
    More good bodies and a great Oline coach
    This year the oline had no clue, in most cases how to block, who to block and when to block. Yup the oline coach. But the OC owned it all because of his horrendous play design, play calling and ineptitude of putting together a game plan and then as required making in game adjustments.
    Get the OC……………….Get the OL Coach……………..Then Get the Players.

    Business Buffs.

    Note: At some point you gotta develop the techniques of what you have and then marry that with the abilities of a damn good OC

    1. So I am not sure the o line is in shambles. Ya, it was bad this year but the fact that it was so good last year makes me think 2 things could see a revitalization.
      1. The box was stacked. Once other teams dialed in on Lewis’s inability to quickly read the field, anticipate throws, and willingness to throw into coverage when the chance is right they loaded the box. As in blockers +1. The best running teams in the world have issues running into that.
      2. Coaching. It is pretty clear that last years success was driven by the coaching from the previous Oline coach and the inability of Coach Rodrigue to screw that up without a real offseason. I wonder even if some of last years drop off at the end was a result of his coaching. That said I spotted 2 technique driven things that lead me to believe the right o line coach should be able to get this back on track:
      A. Kick step technique. It is this weird looking pass blocking technique used by tackles to maintain position. Our tackles were using it consistently for the past 2 years and then all of the sudden this year they started using some weird slide motion. I don’t know if Rod was coaching the weird slide motion, or if he was just not enforcing the kick step but when he was fired they started using the kick step again (but you could tell they were out of practice). Practice this for an entire off season and I bet we are back on track. Just watch Phillip, last year he was a mauler. A stone wall. He gets a year older, loses that technique and gets crushed. Starts using that technique again at the end of the year (though very sloppy) and gets better.
      B. Blocking schemes. Zone blocking is fine but some of the assignments in the scheme were just really off. This has existed last year and this year, but this year as they crowded the box it really highlighted this issue. I suspect the new OC, and o line coach will fix this.

      We still have real guys in the line. I hate losing Kutch but with good coaching I think we have the dudes. We also need a web that can read the field. Or we need to transition to an offense that doesn’t require it.

      1. I am gonna say it again

        Shambles…………………for years really………..

        Fooled us a couple of times but…………….
        results are results


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