Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

National Signing Day 2012

After months of speculation and 9th-hand information from "a guy in the know," National Signing Day is finally here.  Today the next class of Buffs becomes official, and begins to put their stamp on the program.  This is Coach Embree's first complete class, having had an entire cycle to find "his guys," so it's now make or break time for a staff considered to by many to be great recruiters.

Let's be honest, the program isn't where it needs to/should be.  Since the program hasn't been to a bowl game in the past four seasons, there's the obvious need to improve on a general level.  Exacerbating the situation, last year's 3-10 campaign underlined the fact that the Buffs were deficient in many areas, particularly speed on defense, which would keep them from competing in the Pac-12.  This recruiting cycle is really the first chance to address that. 

All told, CU is expected to sign 28 kids today.  As the Letters of Intent continue to roll into Dal Ward, you can keep up with the Signing Day happenings with this helpful link from AllBuffs.

The biggest names on the board for the Buffs this season are, unsurprisingly, projected as defensive players.  Corner Yuri Wright, from New Jersey, and Kenneth Crawley, from Tennessee, are the biggest names on the list, both being recognized as "4-star" players by the recruiting services.  Coach Embree is also grabbing an eye-popping eight defensive linemen to shore up the depleted group, which boasts only six returners on scholarship.
Wright is the headlining name of today's signees.
On offense, the biggest name is QB Shane Dillon, from California, who is the programs biggest "name" signee at the position in over a decade.  While I wouldn't expect him to see the field right away, with incoming transfer Connor Wood and returning back-up Nick Hirschman the frontrunners for the position this fall, it's nice to see the Buffs grabbing highly touted QB prospects again.
Dillon is the biggest name of the 14 offensive signees.
Joining him on offense should be fullback Christian Powell, also from California.  The big kid from Upland had "committed" to UCLA only a few weeks ago, only to reverse course and pick the Black and Gold late in the game.  Yesterday afternoon, word leaked of his change of heart, giving Buff Nation much to celebrate.  A top-5 FB prospect (a position with few high-profile names) is a huge get for the program, especially considering the offense's reliance on the position.
Look for Powell to be clearing the way for Buff RB's for the next few years.
All told, the 28 signees are a balanced group of 14 offensive and 14 defensive recruits, which will form the backbone of the program in future years.  With one of the largest senior classes in CU history leaving the program after last season, it's no wonder that this is one of the largest freshman classes in program history.

Most will not see the field this fall, as redshirts should await the majority of this class, but these are names to watch over the coming years.  Today is a day for celebration, as we welcome the newest members of the CU family.

Go Buffs!

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