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Enjoy It While It Lasts

For those checking out the Rivals and 247 Sports recruiting rankings for the Class of 2023, there are the usual suspects.

Notre Dame … Ohio State … Georgia … Texas A&M … and Colorado.

Colorado?

Thanks to picking up five commitments in the past week, the CU Recruiting Class has moved into the Top Ten at the 247 Sports recruiting rankings (No. 11 at Rivals). What’s more, the Buffs currently have the No. 1 Recruiting Class in the Pac-12.

Enjoy it while we can.

The reality is that there is no way the CU Class of 2023 will hold up as a Top Ten Class. For now, it’s just a numbers game. Colorado has nine commitments to date – equal to or greater than 58 of the 65 Power Five conference schools. In the Pac-12, for instance, CU has nine of the 29 total commits – no other school in the conference has more than three.

Another metric is the average number of stars given to the Class. CU’s Class has an average ranking at Rivals of 2.89, with a four-star recruit (linebacker CJ Turner), six three-star recruits, and two two-star recruits (both of CU’s tight end commits, Andrew Metzger and Tucker Ashcraft (at 247 Sports, CU is considered to have eight three-star recruits, and one commit – Ashcraft – who has yet to receive a rating.

In terms of average rating per recruit, CU is ranked 9th (out of 10. Two schools, UCLA and Arizona State, have yet to receive a single commit from the Class of 2023).

If you use a third metric, the case for CU’s Class is equally bleak.

For me, one of the best ways of measuring the quality of the recruit is to look at the offer sheet. The idea is quite simple: The more Power Five offers, the better the quality of recruit.

CU’s Recruiting Class of 2023:

  • LB CJ Turner – one other Power Five offer (Kansas);
  • TE Tucker Ashcraft – none
  • TE Andrew Metzger – two (Kansas, Washington State)
  • RB AJ Newberry – one (Georgia Tech)
  • Ath Adrian Wilson – one (Washington State)
  • OL Naquil Betrand – one (Washington)
  • WR Edward Schultz – five (Arizona, Florida State, Minnesota, Texas A&M and Utah)
  • QB Ryan Staub – one (Arizona)
  • DL Kam’ron Bizor – two (Cal, Texas Tech)

Sigh.

For comparison’s sake, I just posted my CUATG NIL Podcast interview with senior wide receiver Jaylon Jackson. Jackson was a member of the CU Recruiting Class of 2017. Arguably the fourth-best receiver from that Class, behind Laviska Shenault, KD Nixon, and Maurice Bell, Jackson wasn’t as highly acclaimed because he missed most of his junior and senior years due to two ACL injuries. Still, despite not being seen by college coaches since his sophomore year in high school, Jackson had offers from Arizona State, Washington State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas.

Put another way, the fourth-best wide receiver recruit from CU’s Class of 2017 – the highest-rated of CU’s run in the Pac-12 – had more Power Five offers than any member of CU’s current Class.

So, rather than celebrating the CU Class of 2023, there is cause for concern.

Why isn’t CU doing better at recruiting? 

With hundreds of players in the Transfer Portal still looking for homes, and the bloated rosters due to the large number of COVID seniors, you would think that the high school seniors of the Recruiting Class of 2023 would be stressed about finding a place to play. There are fewer roster openings at the Power Five conference level, and many of those teams will be looking to the Transfer Portal this spring to fill out the holes in their rosters.

As a result, you would think that schools like Colorado would be able to take advantage, picking up more highly rated high school players who are looking to find a chair when the music stops.

Instead, CU’s Recruiting Class of 2023 is looking much like many of the recruiting Classes of the past decade.

Are there some decent recruits on CU’s current list? Sure.

Are there some diamonds in the rough, which can develop into All-Pac-12 players? Probably.

But in an era when there should be more four-star and high three-star prospects available to schools like Colorado, the CU coaching staff is getting commitments from players who are receiving offers from only a handful of other Power Five schools.

Which leads us to …

Why isn’t CU doing better in the Transfer Portal?

It’s certainly possible that the Colorado coaching staff has mined gold out of the Transfer Portal this off-season.

Running back Ramon Jefferson could plug into the Buff backfield immediately, making Buff fans forget about the losses of Jarek Broussard and Ashaad Clayton.

Wide receiver RJ Sneed could become CU’s feature receiver, making Buff fans forget about the losses of Brenden Rick and Dimitri Stanley.

Offensive line transfers Tommy Brown (Alabama) and Luke Eckardt (Arizona) could provide some much needed depth to the worst rated unit on the team.

But the loss of three of CU’s four starters in the defensive backfield remains a glaring hole, and the defensive line, while adding some depth this spring, remains a question mark.

The Transfer Portal still gives CU a few opportunities to add players after spring practices, but the issue remains the same as it does with recruiting: With so many players looking for new homes, and so many of them being quality players with Power Five experience, how is that CU isn’t a prime destination for highly-rated prospects? The opportunity for immediate playing time has to be evident to these players, and yet CU is far down in the Transfer Portal rankings.

You win with the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.

CU last year had the 129th-ranked offense in the nation (out of 130 FBS teams), and the 98th-ranked defense. And yet, if you compare the 2021 roster to the current projections for the 2022 roster … there have been more losses than gains.

The CU Recruiting Class is currently the highest-ranked in the Pac-12, and in the Top Ten nationally, but we know better. All other things being equal, this Class will finish in the 50’s nationally, and in the bottom half of the Pac-12.

Again.

With more wins in a year and a half (8-10) than Bill McCartney won in his first three years (7-25-1), Karl Dorrell is still getting the benefit of the doubt from much of the Buff Nation.

But Dorrell is going to half to start winning some games on the field and in the living room for that faith to be rewarded.

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6 Replies to “Enjoy It While It Lasts”

  1. “But Dorrell is going to half to start winning some games on the field and in the living room for that faith to be rewarded.”

    Freudian slip…..

  2. Coach Dorrell is going to win at CU. The new coaches are an upgrade, and the recruits are more athletic and skilled in the past two years than we have seen in a decade. we gave Coach Mac a chance after a horrendous start in the win column, so let’s do the same for a man who clearly has a plan, is not afraid to make tough decisions, and is working with skilled coaches who sound like their act is together. When our QB and o-line play well this year, it means a competitive and winning tradition can be reborn. When that happens, four star players will be enrolling at Boulder. A question for Stuart: if you received an influx of money, would you continue the cool NIL interviews?

    1. RE: Continuing interviews. I have 12 of 20 completed, and have no current plans to extend the NIL interviews past that point at this time.
      While it has been rewarding, it also takes a great deal of time. I may look into doing it again next off-season, with another GoFundMe campaign in January.

  3. It seems that Coach Dorrell has a player profile that he “goes after,” and follows that recruiting “blueprint.” This approach, in a way, has worked for Coach Boyle in the basketball program.

    Coach McCartney went after the best to beat the best,… He had a work ethic, message, and a pool of talented assistants, that, when combined, proved to be second to none. He felt it was so easy to recruit to the CU campus and Boulder community. It is a mystery why no other coach could repeat his success. Chalk it up to his incredible resolve and endless desire to “win,” which he did as a high school football and basketball coach (Michigan state championships), college assistant at Michigan, and head coach at CU.

    I guess past performance influences future results. That being said, the team chemistry and this staff do provide hope,…

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