Before I go into detail about the top targets for Coach Mac and the rest of the staff, let me take this time to introduce myself. My name is Russell Johnson and I am going to be contributing to recruiting moving forward. I spent most of the last year covering recruiting in the SEC, and I am thrilled to be here. I plan on applying to CU for my Master's degree (Business) but will probably be forced to go online if I do (I currently live in Akron, Ohio). I have a beautiful wife and two-year-old daughter named Emory, and anytime I am not on my computer writing or at work, I can most likely be seen with them. You can follow me on Twitter at @JohnsonERA13. Now onto the recruits!
We start out the top targets with one of the top-priority positions in the class: QB. Cord is a pass-first, dynamic weapon, and taking a look at his highlights, you begin to realize just how fast he is, and how versatile he could be in this offense should have any Buffs fan excited. Cord currently has other offers from Indiana, Boise State, Nevada, and Illinois among others.
Stewart is a ball-hawking defensive back who you can always find near the ball, and his instincts are easily his best quality. Playing for a loaded DeSoto HS team in Texas (more targets to come from this area) Stewart plays some of the highest talent level programs in the country on a regular basis, and he continues to thrive on his instincts (as shown in his highlights). Stewart has the ability to tackle in the open field that so many players tend to forget as they would rather go for the big hit. Other schools interested in Stewart include TCU, UCLA, and Cal among others but the Buffs are currently his only offer.
Cumber is an in-state recruit at Mullen HS who the Buffs simply cannot afford to let leave the state. Putting on his highlights it is evident his ability to thrive in the open field is what is going to be what makes him special as he continues to develop as a player. His technique in man coverage is something that would fit the Buffs defense well, and as I said before the staff simply CANNOT let him leave the state of Colorado. His other offers include Colorado State and Nevada, with interest coming from Auburn and Notre Dame among others.
Vorhees, a powerful offensive tackle from Kingsburg HS in Kingsburg, CA is someone who should be a high priority for the staff going forward in the class of 2017. When you put on the highlights, you can see him simply overpowering the competition with his solid frame (6'6 290 pounds) His offer list currently includes Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA among several others.
Banks is another Mullen kid, and another must-have for the Buffs in this 2017 class. He is floating under the radar currently, but the more coaches and people see his film, the more those days will be numbered, and UCLA is already showing a significant amount of interest.
Newman is another of the DeSoto recruits that Coach Mac and his staff are targeting, and recently Newman has blown up. His footwork is something that has coaches excited, and seeing them in a camp setting has set his recruitment off even more then before. This past week, Newman received an offer from Texas A&M, one of the offers he had been hoping for for quite some time. He previously had plans to visit the Buffs this upcoming weekend, but time will tell if he still follows through with that visit.
Hicks is a must get ATH/CB from La Mirada, CA which is an area where the staff has built some serious connections throughout the past several months. Taking a look at his highlights, it becomes apparent quickly that Hicks has the ball skills needed to succeed at the next level, and he doesn't shy away from a jump ball. He has a reputation for making plays, and the tape shows that consistently. Hicks currently holds other offers from South Carolina, UCLA, and Oregon State among several others.
Perry is a high-priority target, and one that has plans to visit in the near future. Playing for Bishop Gorman, the spotlight is consistently going to be on you, and he doesn't shy away from both the spotlight or the talent. He is a prototypical shut-down corner, and has the potential to grow even more in his senior season on the field as well as off the field in terms of his recruiting ranking. Perry's other offers of note include TCU, Arizona State (Former Sun Devil Commit), and Michigan.
Reagor, a recent Texas Tech decommit who comittted to Oklahoma this past weekend, still has a long way to go in his recruitment even though he is already committed to Coach Stoops and the rest of the Sooner staff. Playing for Waxahachie HS in Texas, Reagor has seen his stock skyrocket in recent weeks following some impressive camp performances, and after watching his film several times it became apparent it was only a matter of time. He specializes in racking up the yards after catch, and his explosiveness is nearly impossible to overlook. His shifty moves gained him some extra exposure, you may have seen the video on TWITTER
The first thing that stands out about Falo is his size. In his highlights, he is always the biggest guy on the field, and he plays like it. Falo does not shy away from contact and knows how to throw his weight around. In the tight end portion of his highlights (what he likely will be playing in college) he gets up and down the field very quickly. Falo has a great release off the line of scrimmage and knows how to shield the ball from the defender with his body. He has long, smooth strides, and while his open-field moves aren't explosive, they are effective. The best part about Falo, who is a four-star prospect, is that his older brother already goes to Boulder. N.J. Falo is a promising outside linebacker who play a lot next year, and hopefully Josh is the next Falo brother to play for Coach Mac.
One of the many D1 players from La Mirada, Sire Woods is a high priority target for Buffs' coaches. Woods is a smooth athlete at TE, and he blocks as well as he catches. His highlights show soft hands and big frame. He plays with more finesse than you'd expect with someone his size, which is both good and bad. Sometimes it looks like he thinks he's faster than he is on film. Sire has been blowing up the camp circuit this spring, and as the offers continue to roll in, the Buffs will have to stay on him hard. La Mirada is an obvious target school for the Buffs, as former CU quarterback Mike Moschetti is the head coach, and his favorite target while he was in Boulder was none other than Coach Chiaverini. That has to count for something, right?
These two wideouts are CU's biggest foray into deep recruiting waters in years. Both of these receivers, hailing from DeSoto High School in Dallas, have multiple blue-blood offers, and the Buffs are competing with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and LSU, for good reason. Both of these receivers are ridiculous athletes. Let's look at KD Nixon's tape first. Wow. While he is only 5'8' on a good day, his speed is INSANE. There has not been speed like that in Boulder for a long, long time. Nixon just burns guys, and he isn't easy to bring down either. He has short, choppy steps in and out of his breaks, which make him even faster coming out of his routes. Nixon would be the biggest get in Boulder in a long, long time. Well, unless CU can also get Shenault. Laviska is a much bigger frame than his teammate, with a 6'1" height and long, long arms. Shenault still has speed to burn and plays with a physicality that you want to see in a wide receiver. Both of these players are very polished and would start for four years if they came to Boulder. They are visiting with the other DeSoto teammates in early April, and let's hope that they choose to come back.
If the Buffs strike out on Nixon and Shenault, then Maurice Bell is a really nice consolation prize. He is really fun to watch. You know those receivers that have that Randy Moss stride, where it doesn't like they're running fast at all and then they blow by everybody? That's what Bell has. Maurice has a great frame, and he should be able to pack on some pounds easily in college without losing speed. He doesn't show very many sharp cuts, but that's not to say he can't do it, it's just that he doesn't have to with his route running and speed. Bell runs really nice routes and makes it easy on the quarterbacks. His offer list isn't as competitive as others on this list, and he has expressed a desire to visit Boulder. Get him in town and watch him fall in love.
One of the most important recruits this cycle, Marcus McElroy is a next level talent at running back. An in-state product, he dominates high football in Colorado the way a player of his caliber should. His tape shows everything you want to see in a P5 conference running back-vision, toughness, and DAT BURST. When he finds the hole, he turns on the jets and leaves everyone behind. McElroy will not go down on first contact, and often punishes the defender for trying to tackle him. Marcus is considering both in-state schools (CSU and CU) heavily, and has been to Boulder multiple times. Marcus is teammates with Christian Cumber and Isahia Banks, who both hold offers from the Buffs and are high priority to the coaching stuff.
Speaking of dominating Colorado football, as good as Marcus McElroy looks on tape, Noah Eliss looks like he's playing in a different league. Once again, as it should look for a top-shelf defensive tackle playing in the Denver metro area. The first play in his tape should tell you everything you need to know. He treated that Cherry Creek lineman, and Cherry Creek is a good team, like a blocking sled. Eliss is freakishly strong and has long arms. His wide frame occupies blockers (as you can see in the second play of his highlights), and when he locks his arms no one can move him. You may remember his dad, Luther Eliss, who happens to be the team chaplain for the Broncos after a long career in the NFL. Luther formed an immediate bond with Coach Mac, which is great news for the Buffs going forward, especially if Noah wants to stay close to family. Eliss was up in Boulder in February and should be up many times in the future.
Another one of the all-important La Mirada players, Chase Newman is the definition of a PAC-12 linebacker. A quick-twitch athlete with great coverage skills for a man his size, Newman reads plays very well and uses his explosion to make plays on the ball. He plays up near the line of scrimmage like a linebacker, but his body type is more of a strong safety. However, with all the spread offenses in the PAC-12, more and more players like Newman are becoming huge assets. Newman is the perfect guy to shut down the huge receivers in the slot, as he can also play the run from the same spot. Newman plans to visit CU in the future, and he will surely pick up more and more offers as the summer rolls along.
Who's your favorite target?