Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UPDATED: Football recruiting's final stretch

To take a brief breather from my Basketball Jones...

Including today, there are only eight recruiting days left for Coach Embree and company to form the foundation of the CU football program.  February 1st is National Signing Day, and, while kids don't have to sign on the line that morning, most will, making that the single most important day in recruiting.  That sound you hear is the buttons on Adam Munsterteiger's cell phone fracturing from over-use.

I usually downplay recruiting.  I'd just rather not follow the waffling proclivities of 17 year old kids.  Recruiting news in October and November is often worthless, and contradictory when compared to the final result.

However, once these kids sign next Wednesday, they are Buffs, members of the family, and the life-blood of the football team. At this point in the recruiting cycle, I begin to care... a lot.

With one of the largest senior classes in Colorado history (27 kids) having ended their playing careers last November, there's plenty of room for fresh blood and new talent.  With just over a week to go, CU already has most of the class put together.  23 graduating high school seniors are known to have verbally committed to don the Black and Gold, leaving few spots for last minute pick-ups (NCAA rules limit you to 25 signees in a given year).

So far, the class is headlined by recent signee Kenneth Crawley from DC.  A listed 4-star recruit, according to Rivals, he's one of the top-25 cornerback recruits in the country, and he's expected to immediately compete for playing time in the shaky Buffs secondary.  He was originally committed to Tennessee, but opened up the process before deciding to join a growing list of high school teammates in Boulder.
Crawley projects to be in the defensive backfield this fall.
Besides Crawley, there are some other highly regarded players amongst the 23 currently committed to Colorado.  Shane Dillon, once a 4-star prospect himself before his ranking was downgraded, is an intriguing QB prospect out of California, and could compete for playing time at the open QB job.  Kisima Jagne, out of Arizona, is a very important defensive end prospect, who could also play immediately.

Defensive linemen like Jagne have been a primary focus of Coach Embree's first full class.  Well over a 3rd of the class are being signed on the D-line.  With a skeleton crew remaining on the line this winter, it's imperative that not only are these players signed, but they pan out quickly.

There still a few high-profile targets remaining on the board this late in the game.   Probably the biggest name, Yuri Wright, out of New Jersey, is a gem of a cornerback recruit who could form a devastating backfield tandem with Crawley.  A top-5 DB recruit, he made national headlines this week as he was expelled from his high school (NJ power Don Bosco) for some pretty inappropriate tweets.  A few schools, like Michigan decided to drop their pursuit of his services as a result.  Despite the scandal, he remains a CU target.  Since he hasn't even attended prom yet, I don't feel a little inappropriate tweeting is a disqualifying factor.
The newest Buff.
(UPDATE: Between the time I wrote this article before work, ran to a meeting, and came back to post, Yuri committed to CU.  That's the lesson of this time of year, recruiting moves fast.)

Regardless of how Wright's story works out (good for the Buffs), the final days from the world of recruiting should be interesting.  As we know from the epic tale of Darrell Scott, nothing is guaranteed.  However, there is no denying that the future success of the program rests on the shoulders of the young men who sign a National Letter of Intent next Wednesday.  No pressure, or anything...

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