CU in 2023 – The Dawn of a New Era

Celebration of the dawn of a New Year dates back over four millennia. Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks … You name a civilization, and there have been parties heralding the fresh start which comes with the new year.

Before the Romans came along, though, the festivities usually came in the spring, often around the time of the vernal equinox. Then, in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar reordered the calendar, setting January 1st as the beginning of the new year. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth) or March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation). Pope Gregory XIII finally put an end to the confusion, reestablishing January 1st as New Year’s Day in 1582.

So, for the past 440 years or so, there have been celebrations, resolutions, butchering of Auld Lang Syne and ball dropping to remind us to ring out the old and ring in the new.

Prior to what may have been the best off-season month for Colorado football in the past quarter century, Buff fans couldn’t wait to get rid of 2022. After enduring arguably the worst season in Colorado football history, the Buff Nation, despite having little to look forward to, was more than ready to move on to 2023.

And now?

We can’t wait to turn the page, and see what the New Year has in store.

The hiring of Coach Prime has been a godsend for the CU program, and a shot of adrenalin for its fan base. A team mocked by the national media and other fan bases is now being treated with envy and awe.

That being said, the reality of the rebuild in the Champions Center won’t take place overnight. To be sure, it will happen much more quickly than it would have with any other coach, but plenty of work remains to be done.

After bringing in a fresh coaching staff – a staff which has more fire power to it than Buff fans have been accustomed to seeing – Coach Prime has set about creating a new roster. To date, 35 new Buffs have committed to wearing the black-and-gold next fall. It’s an enormous number (and a number which will continue to grow over the next few months), but that still leaves 50 Buffs returning from a 1-11 team.

No one outside of the Champions Center expects Deion Sanders to turn a 1-11 team into an 11-1 team in one season. Of course, all of the coaches and players expect to win every game they play, but, if history is any guide, there are still growing pains to endure.

For starters, we will spend a good deal of time over the next eight months dissecting CU’s difficult schedule next fall. The Buffs will face seven teams which posted winning seasons in 2022, including six which won at least nine games (it would have been cleaner to say: “The Buffs will face six ten-win teams next fall”, but UCLA finished 9-4 after giving up 46 yards in 30 seconds to the Pitt offense, allowing the Panthers to kick a game winning field goal in the Sun Bowl). So, just to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl, CU will have to beat Nebraska, Colorado State, both Arizona schools, Stanford, and a Washington State team which finished 7-6. Can the 1-11 Buffs knock off a team which won at least nine games last season? Sure, but it’s tough to predict that right now.

What we do know is that there have been upgrades throughout the roster, and we know that the talent level has been increased.

And we don’t have to compare apples to oranges to make that determination. We can, in fact, compare apples to apples.

By comparing CU Recruiting with … CU Recruiting.

The Colorado Transfer Portal Class is going to be huge, both in terms of number and impact. Colorado currently sits at No. 4 in the nation in the 247 Sports transfer rankings, compared to a No. 78 Transfer Portal ranking a year ago. Overall, CU’s Class is ranked 23rd, and it’s not just based on sheer numbers. With the latest transfer additions, the Buffs are in the Top 25 with their 35 new players, compared to a No. 58 overall ranking for the Class of 2022 … and its 31 new Buffs.

There will be a number of new names added to the Transfer Portal list in the coming weeks and months, so, for now, let’s focus on the freshman Class. Granted, the Recruiting Class of 2023 is not yet done, either, with CU to perhaps add some big names on the second Signing Day (February 1st). But we already have some quality data to review.

Want to know just how much better the roster has become?

Let’s compare CU’s 2023 freshman Class as is … to what might have been.

Coach Prime had 18 freshmen-to-be sign Letters of Intent in the early signing period. Before Sanders was hired, there were 20 commits to the CU Class of 2023. Of that number, 12, or 60% of the Class, de-committed after Coach Prime was hired. Most were asked to move on by the new coaching staff, with only one recruit, offensive lineman Drew Perez, deciding to move on despite being “re-offered” by the new coaching staff.

So, we have apples to compare to apples … The “Dorrell Dozen”, former members of the CU Recruiting Class of 2023 v. Those who replaced them on Signing Day.

One way to compare these recruits is to look at how these recruits were reviewed by the composite rankings found at 247 Sports. The rankings not only look at where the prospect is ranked nationally at their position, and in their state, but 247 Sports also posts the player’s composite national ranking.

Let’s take a look …

The Dorrell Dozen:

  • CJ Turner … LB … unsigned … National ranking: 754
  • Brady Nassar … DE … unsigned … National ranking: 928
  • Carson Mott … DE … unsigned … National ranking: 997
  • Kam’ron Bizor … DE … unsigned … National ranking: 1032
  • Adrian “Boogie” Wilson … DB … Washington State … National ranking: 1056
  • A.J. Newberry … RB … Vanderbilt … National ranking: 1138
  • Drew Perez … OL … unsigned … National ranking: 1230
  • Edward Schultz … WR … unsigned … National ranking: 1257
  • Tyrone McDuffie … OL … unsigned … National ranking: 1288
  • Tucker Ashcraft … TE … Wisconsin … National ranking: 1408
  • Jamari Holliman … DB … unsigned … National ranking: 1448
  • Andrew Metzger … TE … Kansas State … National ranking: 1479

Now, let’s compare those rankings to the players who committed to Colorado after the hiring of Coach Prime:

  • Dylan Edwards … RB … National ranking: 186
  • Omarion Miller … WR … National ranking: 245
  • Adam Hopkins … WR … National ranking: 256
  • Taje McCoy … DL … National ranking: 614
  • Carter Stoutmire … DB … National ranking: 707
  • Jacob Page … WR … National ranking: 926
  • Kofi Taylor-Barrocks … LB … National ranking: 1257
  • Assad Waseem … WR … National ranking: 1314
  • Jaden Milliner-Jones … DB … National ranking: 1342
  • Kasen Weisman … QB … National ranking: 1426
  • Jordan Hall … OL … National ranking: 1485

Notice anything?

Out of the dozen players who had committed to play for the University of Colorado prior to the naming of Coach Prime as the new head coach, none of them were ranked in the top 750 high school players in the nation. Out of the dozen players who replaced them? Five are ranked in the top 750 players in the country.

The average national ranking for the Dorrell Dozen? 1168.

The average national ranking for the dozen players who replaced them? 813.

Or, put another way, there was only one recruit which de-committed which was considered to be a better prospect than the average recruit who replaced them … and Coach Prime was able to get these commitments in less than three weeks.

You can’t win without the Jimmie’s and the Joe’s, and CU under Coach Prime is now in position – for the first time in a generation – to compete for players who can get CU to a winning record and beyond.

Karl Dorrell’s two recruiting Classes (Dorrell was hired in February, 2020, after the Class of 2020 had been signed):

  • Class of 2021 … High school: 64th in the nation … Transfer Portal Class: 51st … Overall: 65th in the nation
  • Class of 2022 … High school: 47th in the nation … Transfer Portal Class: 78th … Overall: 58th in the nation

Deion Sanders’ Class of 2023 (as of December 31st):

  • Class of 2023 … High school: 43rd in the nation … Transfer Portal Class: 4th … Overall: 23rd in the country

… and he’s not done yet.

Sure, there is a story every year about how many players on the Super Bowl rosters who started out as two- and three-star players. True, but in a given recruiting Class, there are about 400 four- and five-star prospects, while there are over 3,000 two- and three-star prospects, so it’s only natural that there are a number of three-star players who make it to the NFL rosters.

A better yardstick would be the composition of teams competing in the College Football Playoffs. Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio State are saturated with four- and five-star players. TCU, which doesn’t have as many blue chip players, is the exception which proves the rule. TCU has been considered an outlier, a fluke, a team which would not normally have earned a Playoff berth.

Moral of the story … you get more highly rated players, the better your chances of success. Yes, TCU upset Michigan in the playoffs, but, in the long run, would you be more confident in Michigan continued success, or TCU’s?

When you compare the Colorado 2023 roster … what has been, and what will be … to what is has been and might have continued to be, Buff fans have reason to be excited about the future.

Excited about the 2023 season and beyond.

Happy New Year, Buff fans!

CU in ’23!


9 Replies to “CU in 2023 – The Dawn of a New Era”

  1. Happy New Years everyone…. looking forward to a GREAT 2023!
    CU will beat nebraska, Colorado State, at least one of the Arizona schools, and Stanford, so I can see a 4 win season at least. Plus watching TCU’s run with Sonny Dykes at the helm has been inspiring, although this season may be a ‘flash in the pan’ for them… hopefully they pull off the upset against Georgia ala David & Goliath

  2. I have a feeling that given a full year to recruit CU is going to move up even further. The guys they got this year were probably close to committing to JSU and just wanted to go to a power 5 school so as soon as Sanders was coaching one they were on board. We are starting to see CU make the top 5 of 5* guys now. Let them take a trip or two out here. See Boulder in the spring or fall instead of the dead of winter. See how the coaching staff gels get the DC fully on board. Win some damn games next fall. TCU went 3-6 last year in the Big12. They brought in the right coaches with a good scheme and recruited good players and had a qb emerge. We are not TCU, so I am not expecting to get to CFP. But competing next year should be possible. Last year I saw talent on our team but no depth. And a lot of young talent. This year I am seeing a lot more depth with potentially more coming. Sanders is now getting guys in who expect to start even though they know they will have to compete for a position. We are no longer recruiting guys who feel they have to go down in order to get olaying time. We are recruiting guys who think they can beat out anyone at the position to get playing time. I really think this attitude is going to resonate in the off-season. The guys that want to play are going to be working their butts off in the off-season. You want to start at corner back? You better put on some weight while keeping your speed so you can be physical with a reciever. Same with safety. I love Reed and Woods I think they are both very talented. But both are seriously undersized and clearly did not use the off-season to add muscle. If they want to start next year they better. The o line is the same. The only guy I saw get physically bigger last year was Roddick. The rest of the guys basically looked the same as they did the previous fall. On this new o line you better be getting bigger and stronger every year. We will have competition to maintain your starting spot and to win that in the words of Coach Prime they are going to have to want it, to need it to live. And that is going to take more than a lot of this team was willing to give historically. There have always been a few guys for the last decade that you could see really dedicated themselves but it was never the whole team. I am excited to see what happens when we have at least most of the team dedicate themselves and not just go through the motions.

  3. If Harbaugh is coaching, give me Sonny Dykes at TCU. Here’s to a better 2023 than was 2022, and setting aside the Buffs bad football record, 2022 was not too shabby.

  4. Happy New Year Stuart….thanks for everything you do all year long….
    Go Buffs….big turn around in ’23…

  5. Going to be a fun spring. I wonder how much access to practices media and fans will have?

    As to TCU they certainly over achieved expectations. And I hope they beat Georgia. But they do have a heisman candidate qb who was a four or five star recruit out of high school. Sonny and his staff also did a nice job. Great fit.

    Hoping they have a huge drop off for game 1 next year. Will be a great measuring stick, either way.

    Happy new year!

    Go Buffs

  6. Happy New Year Peeps.
    Off we go into the wild blue yonder………………………Yeee Haa

    Chinese year of the rabbit.
    Rabbits are just shorter buffaloes

    Go Buffs.

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