Colorado Buffaloes Recruiting and Depth Chart Update - Quarterbacks

With recruiting heating up and fall camp around the corner, it is a good time to assess how the Buffs are looking at each position going into the season and for the upcoming years. First up is the quarterback spot. Below is the depth at the position by year as we stand today:

Summer Eligibility Chart - Quarterbacks

POS

SENIORS

JUNIORS

SOPH

RS FROSH

2011 SIGNEES

2012 VERBALS

QB

Tyler Hansen

Brent Burnette

 

Nick Hirschman

Stevie Joe Dorman

Shane Dillon 

2011 Season - Senior quarterback Tyler Hansen is without a doubt the starting quarterback for the 2011 based on the spring he had. In the last scrimmage of the year and the spring game, Hansen was very impressive. In the scrimmage before the spring game, Hansen went 18-19 for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns. He found top target WR Paul Richardson four times and tight ends Ryan Deehan and DaVaughn Thornton seven times combined. Obviously, he was very accurate but what I liked seeing was his interaction with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and head coach Jon Embree. There was good communcation from both sides and obvious teaching going on. It was a breath of fresh air after the quarterback escapades we have witnessed the past few years with Dan Hawkins, Cody Hawkins and Hansen. 

continue reading after the jump...

In the spring game, he didn't have as much success but still threw for 124 yards and a score and most important, no intereceptions. For Hansen's career, he has 15 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, a ratio that must improve dramatically for the Buffs to have a chance at a bowl game in 2011.

That being said, I think it's fair to say even in Hansen's senior year, we still don't know exactly what we are going to get. The last three years, Cody Hawkins has thrown more passes than Tyler Hansen. Hansen's hold on the starting position  was never solid. And when Hansen was the starting quarterback a year ago, the staff failed to get him outside the pocket utilizing his legs to make plays. That was very evident in the second game of the year when California's speed rushers attacked the pocket and the Buffs failed to move him outside to get away from the attack. But the blame isn't all on the prior coaching staff either. Like we said above, Hansen and the offense needs to protect the ball and limit the penalties. The Buffs ranked 55th in turnover margin a year ago as the 84th ranked scoring offense in the country. The offense was mediocre at best a season ago. Hopefully a new year, a new coaching staff, a new attitude and maybe most important, the removal of distractions at the quarterback position will improve the level of play.

Depth - Behind Tyler Hansen is JUCO transfer Brent Burnette and redshirt freshman Nick Hirschman. Hirschman played well in each of his first two spring games at Colorado but coaches have hinted that they would like to see him be more consistent in practice. Hirschman is still young and will certainly be in the mix at starting quarterback in 2012. Burnette was a 2011 signee that was able to partake in spring practices. Burnette looks to be in line for third on the depth chart. 2011 high school signee Stevie Joe Dorman is a little unknown out of high school. He is the nephew of former Buff quarterback Koy Detmer. He was lightly recruited but he hit the camp circuit pretty hard to help increase awareness around his abilities. If Hansen gets hurt, it could be a very tough year.

2012 Recruiting - So far the Buffs highest rated commitment in the 2012 class is QB Shane Dillon. Dillon, from Christian High School in El Cajon, California, is graded as a four star on Rivals.com. He is ranked as the seventh best pocket passing quarterback in the 2012 recruting class and the 227th overall player. Dillon stands 6'5" 185 pounds and is listed as running a 4.6 forty. Embree and company told Dillon that he would be the only quarterback Colorado would take in the 2012 class which was an important selling point. Dillon had offers from many big name schools as you can imagine including Ohio State, Arizona, Florida State, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. Scout.com had this to say about Dillon:

Dillon is a tall, thin quarterback that has a quick release and a live arm. Despite his lack of size, he shows toughness and the ability to stand tall in the pocket, release the ball, and take a hit.

"He has good footwork and is an adequate runner. He doesn't have a rocket for an arm, but because of his release, the ball arrives quickly. Needs to take less chances when he's under pressure as he'll throw into traffic at times."

Dillon does need to add weight but could be an important step in solidifying the position for the future. Many expect Dillon to challenge for the starting job next season with the departure of Hansen. Hopefully he is able to graduate early from Christian High School and get to Boulder in January to start working with the coaching staff. If he doesn't early enroll, California high school kids don't graduate until June which will make him arrive very late to Boulder and for a quarterback to get a grasp the position in just two months and start would almost be almost impossible.

Dilllon highlights:

 

Bottom Line: The Buffs need improvement at the quarterback position in 2011 especially now that they are in the Pac-12 and be facing a few of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Hopefully Hansen is able to stay healthy for the entire season unlike the past few seasons, improve with a new coaching staff and without the distraction of losing his position like previous years. Hansen should have help around him with Big 12 All Conference running back Rodney Stewart returning off a 1,300 yard rushing season. Wide receivers Paul Richardson and Toney Clemons will be solid targets on the edge and look out for tight ends DaVaughn Thornton and Ryan Deehan to have big years. On the offensive line, the Buffs return one of the more experienced groups in the country but will lose All American Nate Solder. Even with the loss of Solder, Colorado is deep and should be in good position.

Looking ahead, once Hansen graduates, it will depend on the development of Nick Hirschman, Stevie Dorman and highly rated prospect Shane Dillon. To really hit 2012 running, Dillon will hopefully be in Boulder in January to learn the offense.  

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