Well, with CU basketball disappointing and the football team conducting the search for a defensive coordinator, the focus is more on the Buff offseason than it has been in some time. Given some recent developments with the 2015 recruiting class, Ralphie Report is looking at who has committed since last time and who the upcoming targets are.
Much to the delight of the Buff faithful, specifically those based in Colorado, Umu flipped from CSU to CU after McElwain left for greener swamps to Gainesville. A DT for now, he displayed a motor that runs hot and some really nice ability shedding blocks. Umu's play his senior campaign is almost unrecognizable compared to his junior year. Whereas he was a big body playing like one last year, the work with Matt McChesney in the offseason certainly paid off and he threw around Centennial League O-linemen like rag dolls (Poor Arapahoe, you'll get 'em next year!). All of 6'4, 275, he has been projected by some to move to the offensive side of the ball at OG or even C, as he has a low bend in his knee and has good initial punch. Frank has a lot of upside and is one of the best recruits in the state of Colorado, and locking him down shows that Coach Mac knows how to close the border (if the border is in between Boulder and Fort Collins, even better)
One of my favorites in this class, Jan is a typical, Coach Mac special, "diamond in the rough" recruit. A 2-star largely due to lack of exposure (playing behind a 5-star WR your junior year tends to decrease playing time), but he showed very well against some top flight competition for Chandler High School in Arizona, including Colorado's very own Valor (9 catches, 109 yards and a TD). A long strider who looks like he's gliding past the DB's rather than flying past, Jan is a big 6'2 target who brings a threat over the middle of the field to the Buffs, much like T.Y. McCulloch did last year. What he lacks in height compared to Gucci Ty, he makes up with more speed and short area quickness. His highlight tape is full of touchdowns where he just runs past some horrendous safety play and makes a nice catch in the end zone. Jan shows that the Desert State can be fertile recruiting grounds for CU going forward, as does...
While I'm not as high on Oliver as some in this fanbase, he still is an exciting add to the team. A dual-sport athlete who expects to compete in track as well as football in college, this Rivals three-star has athleticism in spades, which is a must for any defensive back. The main flaw in his game, based on the tape available, is the "next gear", the top end speed that people like to look for. But let's focus on the positives. Defensively, he reads the quarterbacks well and likes to sit on routes and create turnovers. His long, easy strides sheath a very athletic player who makes it look easy. He's smooth as butter and makes cuts like they're nothing. Oliver made all-league in Arizona at a pretty high livel, so level of competition should not be an issue with him. Oliver probably needs a redshirt year to bulk up and get used to being a multi sport athlete in college, but he should remain valuable to the Buffs.
This rangy JuCo defensive back has already signed his letter of intent and arrived in Boulder, but we should still talk about him because he's worth talking about. Laguda comes from Butler Community College in Kansas, a known factory for D1 recruits, and he appears to be next in line. His tape shows a hitter, and a mean one at that. He as a ranginess to his play from centerfield that I really like, as he covers 10-20 yards very fast and breaks on the ball with ease. The gripe with Laguda's game is that he doesn't show the speed to be a full time CB at a PAC-12 level, but his frame more than allows him to be a safety, and at times a nickel back, for this defense. He will transfer to CU with 3 to play 3. With an already crowded depth chart at cornerback, I expect that Laguda's impact will be felt first at safety, because as the old adage goes, you don't recruit JuCo's to sit. Welcome Alofabi to the Buff family.
If Addison Gillam had to pick Addison Gillam out of a lineup based purely on highlight film, there's a solid chance he would pick Jay Hockaday. Straight out of the Addison mold: 6'3, plays RB in college, lightly recruited, and the closing speed that many envy. Jay Hockaday, or "the Hock", as I am christening him now, shares many qualities as a player with Gillam , but they do differ slightly. Hockaday is more physical than Addison was at that age, and #44 has the coverage skills and agility that Jay can only hope to get. Regardless, the MLB from Tennessee looks to be a big asset for the Buffs. I would love for him to get a redshirt (really, I would love for our entire freshman class to get a redshirt) so he could bulk up a buit more and hopefully avoid the injury-riddled season that seems to await thin LB's after their freshman. Given the relatively bare cupboard at LB, the Hock could see some minutes early if he proves himself in fall camp.
You know how I said Hockaday was a Gillam-type LB that is fast and a little thin? Well, CU has nothing like Jay-Jay Wilson on the roster. At 6'2, 230, he plays SAFETY for his high school. SAFETY. As one message board Buff pointed out, that's been defensive end height and weight recently for the Buffs. I'd rather see him at LB for CU, but either way, he's not taking a redshirt unless he gets injured. The first legit blue-chipper seriously considering Colorado this cycle, Wilson brings some nasty with his all-around impressive game that is sorely needed for CU. Plus, he has the added bonus of reminding Buff fans of the times of Billingsley. Things were simpler back then... Anyways, Wilson has all you want as a defenssive player: size, speed, versatility, nastiness, and vision. CU is his first offer, which largely factors into his decision to visit Boulder, and he's also considering Utah and ASU, while in talks with Washington and Notre Dame. This would be a major late-cycle recruiting win for the Buffs, in the same vein as Shay Fields last year. Wilson also has a wild card, in that he can also play offense at a pretty high level. While I would prefer he focus on defense if he comes her, I expect the coaches to make concessions for the Valencia (Calif.) prospect if he does come play for the Buffaloes. Let's hope he makes the right decision.
Kelly raises less intrigue than higher profile WIlson, though he still is a big get for the program if he decides to go to CU. And really, at this point in his recruitment, it seems like no one else is really in the running.Offered by Utah, ASU, Washington, Wisconsin, BYU, SDSU, SJSU, Nevada, Hawaii and California, he seems to be highly sought after by the big boys, but his only official visit thus far is CU and has set his announcng date in January. if the Buffs do end up getting him, a smooth athlete is coming to Boulder. Equally impressive at WR and DB, this 6'1, 190 prospect seems to be ready to contribute immediately. I love him on the offensive side of the ball. CU has big receivers who aren't speedy and CU has some speedy receivers that aren't tall, but the Buffs do not have a lot of ball cathers that are both outside of Bryce Bobo. Kelly has the chance to be the next one. As an added bonus, he has some great ball skills and can adjust to the ball in the air, an often underrated aspect of being a receiver. Kelly isn't a Buff lock yet, but I would love to pull someone with that offer list into this program.