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Colorado football welcomes robust class of early enrollees

A talented group gets to Boulder a semester early.

NCAA Football: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Before we dive into this great group of early enrollers, let’s talk about how great enrolling early is for both the program and the students. If the kids can pull it off, it really eases their time as student athletes and helps them acclimate. Now, it’s not for everybody. If these players actually like high school or their school doesn’t allow you to graduate early, obviously they can’t participate. It also takes a special dedication and flexibility, from everyone involved. However, that dedication is also presumably part of their reason they are getting recruited in the first place. So if these recruits can get it done, they instantly gain a leg up on everyone else. They get to adjust to academic and football life at a Power 5 school over the course of a year, rather than a semester, and can ease into their schedule. They get to start their weight programs earlier, practice with the rest of the team earlier, and use better facilities earlier. All without using eligibility. The programs get better players, the players get better college experiences. At least that’s how I see it.

Anyways, the main point is, the Buffs are signing a great group of players today. The players indicated with (JUCO) have already signed and are officially enrolled in CU. As you can see, they are all on defense, which has plenty of holes to fill. We wrote about the JUCO signees here, here, here, and here. The high school players signed today and officially ended their recruiting process, something that has to be a relief. This group of ballers is diverse and talented, and sets the table for a great finish to the recruiting process for the Buffs.

Let’s start in the trenches. Dante Sparaco was the first commit for the 2017 recruiting class and he becomes one of the first to step on campus as a Buff. Originally recruited from Cherry Creek, Sparaco had the unique opportunity to play for IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year, which certainly sped up his development and college readiness. Combined with the fact that he is enrolling early, Sparaco is poised to make an early impact. A big frame at 6’4 and around 270 pounds, Dante probably fits in the DT spot on the edge, vacated by Samson Kafovalu and Jordan Carrell. His violent hands and high-running motor combine with some freaky athleticism at his size to make a great edge lineman. HUDL

Joining him on the other side of the line of scrimmage is Colorado’s biggest recruiting win in quite a while. Jake Moretti, formerly committed to Ohio State, decided to stay in-state and join CU early. He is the most talented offensive tackle prospect in quite some time, and he joins a line whose backbone is built on Colorado big boys. His direct competition, for either tackle spot, included Isaac Miller and Dillon Middlemiss, two Colorado boys, and his linemate Tim Lynott hails from the Centennial State as well. Moretti has an NFL-tackle frame at 6’5 and about 270, though he has certainly put on good pounds while rehabbing his torn ACL. He has long, bear arms and his strength shows in his run blocking. He abuses people when he locks his arms on them. With the potential of the rest of the class, Moretti is helping form the skeleton of a dominant offensive line. It’s been a long time since the Buffs have lined up five hogs and won every battle. HUDL

Now, let’s move to the defensive backfield. Isaiah Lewis is one of two early enrollees from California, and he is the type of defensive back recruit that Coach MacIntyre has made his money on. Somewhat underrecruited, he was discovered by CU at a camp, and was offered on the spot. Lewis has great athleticism and coverage instincts, and at 6’0 and 190, he has enough size to excel at safety. Lewis has great straight-line speed, and getting to CU early allows him to learn the defense, put on some weight, and train at the Champion’s Center. Lewis figures to factor in early at safety, given the relatively thin depth chart there. HUDL

On the other side, Jaylon Jackson is a speedy wideout from Texas. He hasn’t played organized football in two years, which contributed to his low ranking, but if he did play, he would be one of the highest rated players in Texas. Jackson has blazing track speed, even after both ACL surgeries, and now that he is fully healthy and in Boulder early, he gets access to some of the best rehab tools in the country. Jackson joined Sparaco as one of the early commits in this class, and he has helped recruit the others, as his continued dedication to the Buffs sent a signal that CU is back in Texas. Jackson figures to play slot receiver, at least at first, where his speed can be used. He has a very similar profile to Devin Ross, with a little more wiggle to his step. HUDL (Sophomore Year)

Finally, we get to maybe the most important position to recruit, the quarterback. And boy did CU get a good one. Lytle had offers from all over the country, big ones, but he committed to the biggest of them all. Tyler comes from Servite High School, a powerhouse program in Southern California, facing some of the toughest competition in the country week in and week out. He is battle-tested and packed with potential. Watching him play reminds me of David Fales, Coach MacIntyre’s record-setting quarterback at San Jose State. Molded by Brian Lindgren, Fales was pinpoint accurate, mobile, and had some juice to his arm. Lytle shares these qualities, but he’s more athletic and has a livelier arm, and he’s significantly bigger. He seems like the perfect fit for MacIntyre’s system, and his intelligence will certainly benefit him on the field. HUDL

Early Enrollees and Junior College Transfers

Name Scout Rating Rivals Rating 247 Rating ESPN Rating School State
Name Scout Rating Rivals Rating 247 Rating ESPN Rating School State
Javier Edwards (JuCo) 3 star 3 star 3 star 4 star Blinn College Texas
Shamar Hamilton (JuCo) 3 star 3 star 3 star 3 star ACA College Florida
Jaylon Jackson 3 star 3 star 3 star 3 star Cedar Hill High School Texas
Isaiah Lewis 3 star 3 star 3 star 3 star Granite Bay High School California
Tyler Lytle 3 star 3 star 3 star 4 star Servite High School California
Jake Moretti 4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star Pomona High School Colorado
Chris Mulumba (JuCo) 2 star 3 star 3 star Not rated Diablo Valley Community College California
Dante Sparaco 3 star 3 star 3 star 3 star IMG Academy Florida
Dante Wigley (JuCo) 3 star 3 star 3 star 3 star Holmes Community College Georgia

This group of early arrivals is a sign of things to come. They are a significant step up from previous classes in terms of raw talent, and they have demonstrated leadership by helping keep this class together. They can be viewed as a microcosm of the larger class. Two from California, two from Colorado, and one from Texas, and they all are high-level Pac-12 players. Please welcome these young men to Boulder as we wish them a great next four or five years. Welcome, all!