Never saw Hawkins
Some top in-state recruits said CU didn't show much interest. ThunderRidge offensive tackle Dillon Bonnell, whom Rivals.com rated the fourth best in-state prospect, chose Stanford. He said he and other highly rated in-state prospects — including Mullen defensive end Nduka Onyeali (No. 3) and Steamboat Springs' quarterback Austin Hinder #No. 6# — discussed CU's lack of interest. Onyeali chose Arizona State, and Hinder is off to the University of California, Berkeley. "They seemed to blow past us," Bonnell said. "I've never seen coach Hawkins' face. We saw CU focused more out of state. . . . CU offered after they heard on a morning talk show I was considering Nebraska."
Legacy All-America kicker Kip Smith chose UCLA. "I'd be getting calls from head coaches every week," he said. "CU only called a few times. I never talked to Coach Hawkins."
Hawkins ruled out the possibility of continuing to serve as a position coach on Wednesday, saying his duties as head coach sometimes prevented him from spending as much time with his wide receivers as he wanted to last season.
Freshman wide receiver Terdema Ussery has taken a leave of absence from the program this semester to return home to the Dallas area because of a personal family issue. Ussery, who redshirted last fall, is scheduled to return to campus and resume classes in the first week of June.
Freshman defensive tackle Nate Bonsu is one of three Buffs who have undergone surgery since the end of the season and he won`t participate in spring drills. Bonsu played in all 12 games last season and suffered the injury in winter conditioning. Wide receiver Scotty McKnight and linebacker Doug Rippy also underwent surgeries on minor knee ailments and are listed as 100 percent now.
As expected, Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins touted the signing class his program unveiled Wednesday, saying it was comprised of tremendous people who fit his program’s mold. Then the coach called it "probably the most athletic class we’ve had" since his arrival. That wasn’t so expected. The context in which Hawkins made his proclamation was that most of its members played extra positions for their high school teams, plus other sports, offering flexibility and versatility he says is hard to find today. Defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe, for example, also played wide receiver for his high school team in Corona, Calif. That’s fine. It just didn’t impress many beyond the program. Rivals.com ranked CU’s class the nation’s 65th, and last in the Big 12. Scout.com had CU tied at No. 69 nationally with Duke, and 10th in the Big 12.
Can you win in the Big 12 with this class? "We’ll see," Hawkins said. "I think we’re very close to doing some awesome things."
This year's late defections make one thing clear: CU cannot go through another recruiting season next year like this one. It cannot settle for a lower grade of recruit because the players with alternatives believe that Hawkins is a short-timer. Hawkins made his bed. He is getting the recruits his record and uncertain status have earned. There is only one way for him to escape the vicious cycle now. He must find a way to win next season with the players he has. "I think last year proved we're close," Bohn said. "It's very similar to what's going on with men's basketball. We're close. But yet that last difference is very difficult to achieve."
CU football didn't look that close to many independent observers last season, but Hawkins and Bohn keep saying it was. So now it's time to prove it. Either the Buffs win enough games next season to convince top recruits the program is on solid footing, or CU will have little choice but to send Hawkins on his way. Either he breaks out of the vicious cycle next season or it takes him down.
Football signing day at Colorado did not feel like a funeral, as some might have expected. But there wasn't any dancing in the hallways, either. Two years ago, almost to the day, Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins had as much fun as anyone chatting up a recruiting haul that included several four- or five-star blue-chippers. The biggest reason to party was Darrell Scott, the nation's top high school running back, who has since left the program. The mood during Wednesday's announcement of CU's newest recruiting class was much more subdued, with Hawkins referring to his 21-member class in terms of their character, athleticism and potential, rather than acknowledging what others think.
Buffaloes recruiting - The Denver Post
Colorado beat writer Tom Kensler breaks down this year's CU recruiting class.
As Rivals.com recruiting expert Jeremy Crabtree points out, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy rated three stars coming out of high school. "Nick made an unbelievable transformation from his junior year of high school to his senior year," Crabtree said. "If he keeps up that natural progression, he could be a heck of a get for the Buffs." That goes back to Hirsch-man's yearning for learning. He's always had a love for the game and a penchant for making plays, noted his father, Bill Hirschman. But, following his junior season, Nick made a concerted, determined effort to reach another level. A first step was contacting quarterbacks guru Bob Johnson of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School. Johnson runs the renowned "Elite 11" national quarterback camp and, at Mission Viejo, he coached his son, former NFL quarterback Rob Johnson, and New York Jets rookie Mark Sanchez.
Dan Hawkins Signing Day Press Conference Quotes - CUBuffs.com
The University of Colorado held its annual signing day press conference Wednesday, the first day prospective student-athletes from around the country can sign national letters of intent.
Brooks: Hawkins High On 2010 Class' Athleticism - CUBuffs.com
Coach Dan Hawkins believes his 2010 recruiting class eventually will be regarded as successful -- even if the national recruiting 'experts' disagree.