We're right in the middle of the recruiting dead period, a time for the coaches and players to enjoy the company of loved ones and return home for a little rest. Well, we all know that there is no rest in recruiting, especially now that there are work arounds to the "no calls" rule during this "relaxing" time. During this time, the Buffs have hired two new coaches (granted, one only coaches the weight room), lost their most prized recruit, and had some interesting targets (and one transfer) fall into their lap. Ralphie Report looks at five of the heaviest recruited players for CU, and some other potential targets.
Jarrius Wallace/Caron Baham, S/ATH
If you've been following CU recruiting, you've probably heard of the "Louisiana Five", the first foray into the Bayou state by the Buffs in quite some time. These five recruits (Robert Green, Michael Divinity, Caron Baham, Jarrius Wallace, and Dejon Harris) all hail from John Ehret High School, of Kordell Stewart fame. Of the five, only two seem to be considering the Buffs at this point, Wallace and Baham. Both recently decommitted from their respective schools, and both are visiting Boulder pretty soon. This should excite all of you. Both are excellent athletes with the tools to help this team immediately.
Wallace seems tailor made to patrol the middle of the field. Nothing about his tape is subtle or understated. If you come in his area he will take the ball or take you out. Jarrius needs to wrap up on tackles and sometimes he launches instead of tackles, but otherwise he has great closing speed and reads the play very well. Signing him would help lessen the potential blow of Watts decommitting, and he would help immediately on special teams.
Baham has one asset that stands up above all else. Speed. And boy, does he have it in spades. His highlight reel is 10 minutes long for a reason, and the only reason it isn't longer is because the football field is only 100 yards. Baham just destroys pursuit angles and makes cuts that a chef would be proud of. Classified as an athlete officially, he could end up on either side of the ball, but I know for sure where he should play. His speed and physicality would translate extremely well to special teams, either as a gunner or as a returner. You can never have too many plus athletes, and Baham certainly qualifies.
Pookie Maka, LB
One of Jim Leavitt's favorites this cycle, Pookie Maka hails from Utah and could help the Buffs right away. A linebacker with offers from ASU, Missouri, Utah, Wisconsin, and others, Maka has one of the better offer lists this class and while he is LDS, he is not taking his mission directly after high school. When you watch him play, it's easy to see why Leavitt likes him so much. Maka has a motor that just won't quit, a relentless pursuit of the football, and the automatic best name in the conference. He can hold blocks really well on the edge, and can spot the scrambling quarterback in a hurry, something that has KILLED the Buffs in recent years. Pookie has a great frame and some good weight, and should get time on the edge immediately should he choose to come to Boulder. He should be visiting CU the last weekend before signing day, which gives Leavitt a great shot to land his guy. Great name, great game: the Pookie Maka story.
Tayler Hawkins, DB
Suprisingly enough, Tayler's best work may not be on the football field but as the driving beat behind The Foo Fighters. I kid, I kid, but much like his namesake (if you switch the "e" for an "o"), Hawkins is a bombastic force that can be really smooth once he gets going. He shows fantastic hitting skills for a defensive back, and breaks on the ball really well for a man his size.
On offense, Hawkins makes great cuts and always seems to find a lot of open field to make his moves, and in both arenas, he shows the speed needed to finish the play. CU is recruiting him at defensive back, and he looks to be in the Chidobe mold, though those cleats are hard to fill. Much like Baham and Wallace, his size and athleticism would be an immediate asset on special teams, and he also has great experience as a return man, if the Buffs decide to go that route. Hawkins is also seriously considering Washington State and San Diego State, but if you're choosing between the Mountain West, Pullman, and Boulder, is that really a choice at all?
Ronnie Turner, WR
Turner, despite having the worst offer list in this list, might be the best athlete and have the most immediate impact. A junior college player in California with two to play two (I believe), his recruitment falls squarely on Coach Chiaverini's shoulders, and looks to be his first official signing to the Buffs. If this is any indication of the rest of his recruiting, sign me up. Turner is tall, fast (enough), athletic, and has great hands. Who was the last receiver that was a plus player in all of those categories?
Turner is smooth in the open field, and always seems to get extra yards. He doesn't high point the ball as well as you would like given his size, and he also makes a lot of lateral cuts rather than getting upfield in a hurry. However, he makes a quarterback's job really easy- throw it near him and watch him run. You could tell from his Red Raider days that Coach Chiv loves his tall receivers, and Ronnie at 6'5 fits the bill. Given the signing of another JuCo receiver, Kabion Ento, that is 6'3 and can jump, this looks to be a growing trend, and one that we here at Ralphie Report can get behind. Turner also holds offers from Cincinnati and Utah St., among others, though Colorado is the only Power 5 team that has offered him. Have to like the Buffs' chances here.
Here is the most exciting name on this list and the cover boy. Webb is a graduate transfer QB from Texas Tech, who some lucky program can take for a year and get a solid starter with a great arm. After his injury, Patrick Mahomes took over for Tech and never let go, leaving Webb as a great backup with game experience last year. It looks like Webb is aiming a bit higher, and his interest is reciprocated by some big programs. The MVP of the 2013 Holiday Bowl (in which he beat ASU, something the Buffs have never done) looks to be drawing the most interest from CU, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh, though I'm sure many programs will throw their hat in the ring.
Here's why he's a good fit for the Buffs. He already knows the offense that CU is trying to partially install this year from it's new CO-OC, he knows the CO-OC personally, so presumably he's being recruited with Chiv's blessing and approval, and there is an opportunity for a new starter this year. Liufau is coming back from a hard injury to rehab and may not be ready until summer or later, which leaves Apsay, Gerkhe, or everyone's favorite redshirt freshman, Steven Montez. None of those names inspire too much confidence from fans or fear from opposing teams. Webb has the arm talent to make things happen, and he has started and won against big time football programs. Webb makes quick reads based on his highlight tape, and seems to put great touch on the intermediate throws. Every person from the Red Raider program raves about his work ethic and professionalism, and it seems like he wouldn't cause a locker room disruption. This is the biggest longshot of the group to sign with the Buffs, but boy it sure would be fun, wouldn't it?
Of course, this isn't a comprehensive list, and there are plenty of other names swirling around Boulder. Drew Lewis, the former Washington safety and now JuCo OLB has reported interest from the Buffs (h/t to Adam Munsterteiger from Rivals on this and many other scoops), and could help this team immediately from that spot.
Nate Herbig, an early CU target at offensive guard, just decommitted from Stanford and might still be considering the Buffs. Recruiting is always a fluid situation, and with all of the staff changes that have happened up in Boulder, it most likely will be in even more flux for our favorite football team. The good news is that this class looks to be a step up in legitimacy compared to the last few classes, with a lot more Power 5 offers, though the star rankings are actually down. This list would add to that in a big way, and would be a huge step up in athleticism. January 15th looks to be a big visit weekend in Boulder, and a lot of news should be coming out around that time, which of course Ralphie Report will be on top of. Until then, we can only speculate, hope, and see Star Wars just one more time.