On paper, the 2016 incoming football recruits should be one of the strongest groups in years. New facilities, a program starting to turn the corner, and limited spots should all add up to a high caliber Buff commit. But that only works if you have a commit. As of right now, the Colorado Buffaloes are sitting on a goose egg, with zero incoming high school seniors pledging themselves to the program. Jaime Uyeyama wrote a concerning article for SBNation's very own Pacific Takes, though I will stay away from doom and gloom. As Uyeyama's title says, CU is not alone on Zero Commit Island. Iowa State also does not have a pledge for the class of 2016, and although it's not great company to be in (I'm sure they would say the same), it's nice to know that the Buffs are not alone in their struggle.
There are a few explanations for why there have been no commits thus far, but none of them really explain the whole issue. One of the more popular reasons being thrown around is the limited number of scholarships. the Buffs are scheduled to have 10 open spots for this upcoming class, with 9 scholarship seniors and Markeis Reed leaving the program. That number may continue to creep up as a few other players leave their spot on the team open, but as of right now, only 10 positions are available. This has a few effects. First, the amount of kids that the assistant coaches can offer goes down tremendously. With only 10 spots, all of the coaches are going to hold on to their first option for as long as possible, as the margin for error is so much smaller in this class. One bad egg can spoil the proverbial carton much easier in a small class. This is evidenced by the offers right now. By and large, only slam dunk recruits have been offered by the coaches, and they are not moving past those offers as fast as we have seen them previously. Recently, we have seen them take more chances, with Brian Lindgren offering Sam Noyer as a QB prospect (no other P5 offers) and the junior college players they have offered don't necessarily have star-studded offer lists. The other effect the limited scholarships have is the quality of players being offered shoots up. Coaches are able to market an offer as an exclusive invitation in such a small class, and obviously with such exclusivity, the average projected quality of recruit goes way up. This should be great for CU, right? Higher rated offers equals higher rated commits. Well, as you can see, there are no commits, and the Buffs can get outgunned by the more storied and successful programs.
Another possible explanation for the lack of commitments so far is how much Coach MacIntyre and company rely on satellite camps, which have recently come under fire. Last year, almost all of the recruiting class attended these camps (usually before committing), and the assistant coaches have gone on record numerous times about how much they value watching the prospect in person. During the spring evaluation period, the coaches generally visit the players and tour the country, extending offers and looking for more talent. Now that the summer period is about to start, satellite camps start to pop up, and expect more offers and (God-willing) commitments during that time period.
Finally, the University of Colorado is trying to break in two new assistant coaches, and they are also using those coaches to try to regain some footing into recruiting hotbeds. As my title (guys, it's a reference) suggests, all the new attention being paid to Texas and Florida means that the focus has shifted from California, relatively speaking. Don't get me wrong, the Golden State will always be a huge source of players for the Buffs, and it will continue to be so. However, it would be criminal to waste Jim Leavitt's connections down in Florida, and to a lesser extent Joe Tumpkin's connections in Texas and Florida. This leaves Klayton Adams (splitting time between Northern Cali and Hawaii), Troy Walters (pretty much everywhere), Brian Lindgren (QB's), and Charles Clark (Florida and Cali) recruiting California. Outside of those coaches, Gary Bernardi focuses on Arizona and travels around the mountain region, with Toby Neinas focusing on the home state of Colorado and Jim Jeffcoat using his near legend status in Texas. All of this adds up to CU Football casting a wider net to find its catches, as evidenced by the weekly maps the official football account posts on Twitter.
Enough of my mumblings, it's time to look at some candidates for Colorado Football's first 2016 commitment.
Best Case Scenario: Carlo Kemp, OLB, Followed Quickly By QB
Extremely unlikely and getting more unlikely by the day, Carlo Kemp's commitment has been chased by the Buffs for a long time. Hailing from Fairview High School (a short drive away from Folsom Field), Kemp is exactly what CU needs in more than one way. It is no secret that the Buffs are thin at linebacker, and it's no secret that they have had trouble landing blue chip recruits the last few years. Enter Carlo Kemp. He is a force from the edge of the line of scrimmage, be it with hand down or standing up, and he has offers from the likes of UCLA and Michigan. I could do a whole post breaking down what he could bring to the team, and I just might do that, but right now, it's not looking likely that he'll stay in-state. That would just be the best-case scenario and a great way to kick off the class.
Most Likely Scenario: Myles Bryant/ Sam Noyer (EDIT: IT WAS NOYER)
Both of these recruits have great tape, pretty good measurables, and no other Power 5 offers other than CU. This leaves them ripe for a commitment. Bryant, a cornerback target, has been targeted for longer, and therefore is the more likely to commit (though it may be later than Noyer). He hails from Loyola High School in California, one of the better programs in Southern California, and his tape shows someone with impressive ball skills and a bulldog mentality. He has previously told Rivals that he intends to visit CU with two of his teammates (David Long, national recruit and Jordan Riordan, lesser known recruit) later in June, and that would be a likely target date for his commitment.
As for Noyer, his relationship with the Buffs coaches has been relatively short, but successful. CU was his second offer, after Eastern Washington, and since then a few Mountain West schools have been connected to him, but no other Power 5 schools have offered. He appears to be the first quarterback recruit where the interest has been mutual and legitimate. He's rumored to be visiting this next weekend, and just like Bryant, the visit would be a likely target date for a commitment. Fair warning: I love his tape, He can scoot, sure, but his main asset will always be that ridiculous arm. He can throw it down the field with ease, but his touch, especially on the deep sideline throws, is amazing for a high school player. Fans have liked to complain about Sefo putting too much air under some deep throws, and that is not a problem with Noyer. He runs less than the previous two quarterbacks that Lindgren has signed (Apsay and Montez), but he does move the pocket to give himself time, and he's extremely accurate on the run. I really like this kid.
Well, with my luck, by the time this runs, the Buffs will have already filled their class. Who do you think will pull the trigger on the Buffs first? Let me know in the comments below.