“…Shoulder to shoulder we will fight! Fight! Fight!,” Each time a recruit’s letter of intent was received via fax and hand delivered to the war room, running backs coach Darian Hagan would lead the football staff in a vibrant rendition of the Colorado Fight Song. CUBuffs.com contributing editor Neil Woelk described the excitement in the Colorado Football office as “palpable.” Fortunately, for thousands of Buffs fans around the country, ESPN was in Boulder to cover that excitement.
The #NewEra began with twenty-seven players signing on to play for the Buffs. ESPN’s Recruiting Nation staff ranked the Buffs incoming class 27th best in the nation, their highest ranking since 2008. One of the architects behind those rankings, ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill, joined me to breakdown the Buffs
Anthony Kazmierczak, Ralphie Report Contributor: What are your overall impressions of Colorado’s 2017 Recruiting Class?
Tom Luginbill, ESPN National Recruiting Director: “Really, Really good in the offensive line. They made, I think not improvements, but additions at the receiver spot including K.D. Nixon that I think are going to be really strong. And the quarterback (Tyler Lytle) reminds me a lot of Brett Hundley, when he came out and went to UCLA”
AK: What impresses you about quarterback Tyler Lytle?
TL: “That he’s a thrower who can be a runner. He’s a dual threat but he’s a thrower first, runner when he needs to be; as opposed to a backyard sandlot guy that’s going to run all around but then needs a lot of development in the passing game. I was impressed with his poise, his ability to create. The other thing I liked a lot about him is the fact that he comes from a program (Servite H.S. - Anaheim, CA) that is a highly successful program where there’s an expectation to win; and I think that’s important at quarterback.”
AK: Do you see Lytle challenging Steven Montez for playing time this season?
TL: “Possibly, yeah. Montez coming out was a real project. I think he still is somewhat of a project. I think they’re going to still take some time to develop him, so that wouldn’t surprise me. I think we have to be really cautious when we talk about freshmen in that regard, but it wouldn’t surprise me”
AK: Who could be an immediate impact player from this 2017 class?
TL: “If he’s healthy, I think Jon Van Diest could come in and play right away. I think K.D. Nixon could come in as a returner/utility weapon, a little bit like Ray-Ray McCloud is at Clemson.”
AK: Who was the biggest steal of this class and why?
TL: “Jake Moretti when they got him away from Ohio State and kept him at home; because he’s an offensive tackle and that’s a premium position, those are positions that aren’t everywhere. And when he’s an in-state kid and he plays offensive tackle, you can’t let him go somewhere else, so when they flipped him from Ohio State that was huge.”
AK: With 9 starters returning on offense and 3 returning on defense, do you think Colorado filled their needs with their 2017 class?
TL: “I do think they filled their needs up front on defense, but I would’ve liked to have seen them bring in maybe a couple of more pure corners. I really like Chris Miller. I think he’s got a really good chance to be a good player. But I feel like they could’ve maybe done a little bit more in the defensive secondary. Now they did go to the junior college ranks for two junior college corners, so from a short term solution they absolutely filled the need at corner, long term will probably be determined in next year’s class.”
AK: What kind of impact will the 2017 season have on Colorado’s 2018 recruiting class?
TL: “Far more than it had on this current one. I’m a big believer that when you’re recruiting and you’re doing the things you’re doing during the offseason and during the fall, those kids that have had interest in you or have committed to you or have been one of the finalists, they’ve been with you all along prior to having a 10-win season. It’s this next class that’s been watching it all, that’s just getting their recruiting going, that’s the class that it’ll pay off for. It’s the same thing for Clemson. Clemson wins a national title and everybody says well ‘how does that affect the 2017 class?’ It didn’t affect it (Clemson’s 2017 recruiting class) at all; it’s going to affect the 2018 class.”