Now that we've wrapped up the 2012 recruiting class, it's time to start looking ahead. The coaching staff did what they had to do in order to 'balance the classes,' but we will still have to think about that going into 2013. We need balanced classes at every position so we don't deplete our numbers at any one position through attrition, whether it's graduation, not qualifying academically or (and hopefully we have this problem soon) guys leaving early for the NFL.
So lets take a look at where we're at now and what the roster will look like after next season! We begin on the offensive side of the ball.
Though not everyone agrees, many will tell you it's good to take a scholarship QB each year. We finally have some balance on the depth chart here, so we should be able to fall into that pattern. We will lose Brent Burnette, though his impact mostly likely won't be that great next year. The West has some talented QB prospects, including Colorado's own Ryan Novak. It remains to be seen whether he is one of CU's top targets there, but we'll keep an eye on this.
So basically, look for the Buffs to be looking for one QB in the 2013 class. I can't imagine them wanting to sign more than one (this year, once they got a commitment from Shane Dillon, they basically stopped looking at other QBs. They don't want more than one per cycle). So if we get an early commitment from someone, that's probably the end of the QB discussion.
Follow the jump because Chumbawumba says so!
We have three exciting guys coming in and we have no clue if any of them will have an impact, but we're certainly hoping they will. Here's where recruiting gets interesting: We only need to bring in one guy at running back if you look at it from a numbers perspective only. That'll keep the classes balanced, but we also may need to bring in more than one guy from a talent or impact perspective. So this is where it becomes a guessing game: How do the coaches feel about who they have here currently plus who they have coming in? They probably don't know yet, honestly, and won't until the 2012 recruits get on campus. Because if Eric Bieniemy feels like the next great CU running back isn't on the team at the end of the summer, we're bringing in more than one RB in 2013. There are some blue chippers that we may be in on, and at least one good-looking in-state back in Phillip Lindsay.
So where does that leave us? Well I think we have two big-time kids coming in at RB, so I have a feeling we'll only be looking at taking one RB in 2013, unless we can get one of those 4 or 5 star guy that you can never pass up in recruiting. I'd be happy with 5-7 scholarship RBs on the roster at any one time, which for the most part means you're taking 3 guys every two cycles. Sure, we took three this year, but that was to address the lack of numbers there.
Running tally: 1 QB, 1 RB. 2 total
We brought in two very capable FB candidates in 2012, so we will hopefully have the luxury to ignore this position for a couple of years. There's a good chance that one of the guys we have grabs the position by the horns and doesn't let go, forcing the other to move to the other side of the ball. But hopefully we continue to practice whoever isn't the starter at FB even if they're also playing elsewhere, just in case something happens. I don't want to be left in the dust.
But we can't allocate too many scholarships to FB. So I don't think we look here again for at least two years. Unless, of course, our two signees are duds and can't get the job done, but I like them a lot and I don't foresee that happening.
Running tally: 1 QB, 1 RB, 0 FB. 2 total
We are dealing with a little bit of attrition here already, with Pugh leaving the team and Austin Vincent trying to work his way back onto the team. There's no guarantee Vincent is successful, and we still don't know if Darden will be able to see the field. That leaves us with a very young group to go with Junior (to be) Paul Richardson. There's always the chance that if he has a really good and consistent season this year, we could be looking at losing him early to the NFL. I know there's not a great chance of that, but if we have to worry about that with anyone, it's him. So despite signing three kids in 2012, all of whom look like they can be pretty good, we may be looking at another 3-kid class.
And despite the fact that I just gave you a number, I'm going to say that we only take two wideouts in 2013. We have more pressing needs and we don't have as much space as we did in 2012. And I think we're going to see plenty of impact from the freshmen and sophomores in 2012, which means the need there isn't so high.
Running tally: 1 QB, 1 RB, 0 FB, 2 WR. 4 total
After the 3-TE haul we had this year, we won't be needed quite so many tight ends in 2013. Mitch Parsons is a very talented one coming out of Colorado, so he might be the end of our discussion. I think it's possible that we sign two total, though, because tight end really is an important part of this offense, and they would like to line up with 2-plus TEs much of the time. I think Nick Kasa can do a very good job of becoming that big, blocking End that they want, but we only get him on offense for one season. And Irwin looks like he might be able to be that guy after 2012, but we need another mammoth TE to build depth at that position. We've got a solid group of guys that look like they can both block and receive, but we need another one who can truly be that 6th offensive lineman like Alex Lewis was for us in 2011.
I think Parsons is our primary target here, but we sign a second TE if we can get a difference maker in that can be a big-time blocker. I think we end up with just one in 2013, though.
Running tally: 1 QB, 1 RB, 0 FB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 5 Total
For the sake of class balancing, the coaches went a little O-Line-lite in 2012. We only signed two guys here, and I believe both of them will end up at guard, with Kough possibly ending up as the big, blocking tight end (at least early in his career). It's possible one or two of the guys we signed along the defensive line will switch to the o-line, as some of them were also talented offensive linemen in HS, but that's not something you want to count on. We lost Paulay Asiata, who looked like he could be a really special player, which is a shame. I was certain he would be one of our starters in 2012. But that means we need an extra interior lineman as well.
There are a couple of in-state guys that would be really nice to sign. Christopher Fox is one of the top recruits in the nation, and he would be a great signing for the Buffs inside. And at tackle, there's a 6'10" Colorado kid named Dan Skipper that I think would be an intriguing prospect. Beyond the in-state guys, we're in on some very talented players across the country, including an INCREDIBLY talented center from California, in Dane Crane. He apparently used to be the neighbor of 2012 signee Peyton Williams. We need at least 2 interior linemen and at least 2 tackles in 2013, and at least one more guy at whatever position Irwin isn't slotted at. If they think he can be a tackle, we are looking at taking at least three G/Cs, and vice versa.
Running Tally: 1 QB, 1 RB, 0 FB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 5 OL, 10 Total
We might have limited scholarships available going into 2013, unless there is some more unexpected attrition. I think we end up taking 18-22 kids, though, as I don't believe all of the 2012 recruits will qualify and I think we'll have another 2-plus kids leave the team. I know Embree said that he thought everyone who didn't want to be here was already gone, but I have a feeling we haven't quite seen the end of it. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
And what will be really interesting to watch in recruiting this upcoming year, isn't just who we're looking at for 2013, but who we reach out to in the 2014 class. The coaches have said that they finally feel like they're in a place to start really looking ahead at kids, which is good news for us. With the recruiters we have on this staff, I think they can work some magic if they're in kids ears for that long.
What do you want us to be looking at in the 2013 class?
Is there anyone out there that you feel is a 'Must Get' prospect?
What have I forgotten?
Up next: defense (...really David? You had to say that? What the heck else would be up next?!?)