I know it feels like yesterday that signing day provided surprises for the Buffs and we were celebrating a great finish to the 2016 class. And you know, you wouldn't be that far off. It's been about three weeks since signing day, but the Buffs coaching staff is getting started early on the 2017 class. The hiring of Darian Hagan has already paid some dividends, and expect it to continue to do so. CU doesn't have anyone on their commitment list as of now, but that should change, and soon. The caliber of prospect considering Boulder has jumped considerably, as it should. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's look at some of the things to watch for in this next exciting year of recruiting.
Locking Down the Borders
I know what you're thinking. "Jack, you imbecile, the two best in-state prospects are already headed out of state. How can you lock down the borders if the two best recruits are already gone? Also, you look dumb today." While I think the last comment is unsolicited and a little hurtful, I'll let it slide because you brought up a great point... Jake Morretti (Ohio State) and Dylan McCaffrey (Michigan) both have committed to college outside the best state in the country, but I'm not too worried. Even if the Buffs were at their peak, and even if Colorado kids felt some kind of loyalty towards their flagship university, CU would lose battles to Ohio State and Michigan. It just happens when those types of programs poke around in your backyard. However, Colorado's 2017 in-state recruiting class is one of the deepest ever and has some elite top-level talent. While McCaffrey and Moretti are gone, there are still plenty of Power 5 prospects CU needs to lock down, and all indications are positive. Jonathan Van Diest is a Buff legacy with multiple P5 offers and he is an absolute wrecking ball at linebacker. CU seems to have the inside track there. The Mullen Trio (Christian Cumber, Marcus McElroy, and Isiahia Banks) all hold offers from the Buffs, have expressed interest in playing together, and all have the talent to make an impact immediately. Dante Sparaco is a great athlete for his size (6'4, 260) and looks like he loves the Buffs. All of these players would be great gets for Coach Mac, and while a HC's first job in recruiting is to grab the best players available, regardless of location, it certainly helps that these players are an hour's drive away. The Buffs are hosting an in-state junior day this Sunday, and there could be some news coming out of that camp.
Hey Texas, We're Back
It's been a consistent complaint across Buff nation, especially the large contingent of Texas alums. Why aren't the Buffs hitting Texas on the recruiting trail like they used to? It seems like joining the Conference of Champions coincided with ignoring (arguably) the most talent-rich state in the country. Well, Rick George just won't have it and neither will the coaching staff. CU is in a unique position among Pac-12 teams, as they have had the most historical interaction in the Lone Star State, and still have a fairly large presence there. With George scheduling home and homes with Texas A&M and TCU, the Buffs will stay in Texas for years to come. Additions to the recruiting staff like Darian Hagan and Darrin Chiaverini help put a familiar face in front of the high school coaches down there, and that should help CU immensely going forward. Joe Tumpkin also coached in Houston for quite some time, and he should be able to help with recruits from that metro area. Long story short, there's been an influx of interest and ability on the staff to recruit Texas, and it looks like the effort is paying off. CU (read: Hagan and Chev) has essentially offered the entirety of DeSoto High School's starting roster, and they were the first to offer Xavier Newman, a huge and mean offensive lineman. He has blown up in recent weeks, and it looks like coming in early will result in increased interest and maybe even a visit down the line. The Buffs should finally be up and running in Texas again.
The Big Uglies
Coach Mac really locked down the skill positions with his last class, and some have questioned his lack of emphasis on recruiting the offensive and defensive lines. Well, the 2017 class is chalk full of the big guys. More than any recent CU class, the coaching staff is getting out offers early and often to the trenches, and the players they are offering are some of the most sought after in the country. With the recent recruiting uptick, the recruits have actually reciprocated that interest. One name to watch is Andrew Vorhees. He has high-level Group of 5 offers from schools out West and mid-level PAC-12 offers (us and Arizona), but 247 Sports has him rated as a 4-star, and a 4-star LT won't stay under the radar for long. He recently told Scout he plans to visit Boulder on April 2nd, which is great news for CU. They have a renewed interest in the trenches, and they are going after higher-caliber linemen. Not the most exciting on the surface, but in two years, when CU pushes players anywhere they don't want to go, we as fans will recognize the value.