If you watched ESPN’s National Signing Day coverage Wednesday, you most likely noticed a graphic that was used frequently referencing where a bulk of the ESPN300 (the top 300 H.S. football recruits in the country) reside. Fifty-three percent of those players hail from the following four States: Florida, Georgia, California and Texas.
The two graphics below built by my colleague Jack Barsch show Colorado Football’s 2017 & 2016 recruiting classes. When you compare them, two things stand out.
2017 COLORADO RECRUITING CLASS
(Note: This map does not include newly signed Terrance Lang in California)
2016 COLORADO RECRUITING CLASS
1. The Buffs signed 11 more recruits in 2017 than they did in 2016.
2. The number of recruits Colorado signed from the State of Texas in 2017 (8) vs 2016 (1).
Each year, Texas is one of those four states where the top high school football talent resides. Colorado’s co-offensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator Darrin Chiaverini knows that.
“When I was (at Colorado) in the 90s a lot of our roster was from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and I felt we needed to have more a presence in those areas, and we realigned our recruiting to put more people in Texas,” the former Texas Tech assistant told 247Sports.
Chiaverini renewed those relationships in the Lone Star State this past season, specifically in the Dallas area. Each year the Dallas Morning News publishes the SportsDay 100, a list of the Top-100 recruits in the Dallas area. Colorado signed 6 of those players: OL William Sherman (Allen), WR Jaylon Jackson (Cedar Hill), WR/CB Chris Miller & OL Grant Polley (Denton), and wide receivers K.D. Nixon & Laviska Shenault Jr. (DeSoto). What’s even more impressive is that Colorado signed more recruits from the SportsDay 100 then perennial Texas college football powerhouses: Texas (2), Texas A&M (5), Texas Tech (5) and TCU (4). Only Baylor (7) signed more Dallas-area players.
Recruiting in Texas is nothing new for the Buffs. “The blueprint was set a long time ago by coach (Bill) McCartney and that staff and coach (Gary) Barnett,” Chiaverini told Denver Post sports reporter Nick Kosmider.
“My job when I came back was that I wanted us to get more involved in there and have more people in there.”
Mission accomplished. Since MacIntyre took over head coaching duties in December 2012, Colorado had signed 8 players from the State of Texas in his first 4 recruiting classes. This year’s class alone had 8 players from the Lone Star State.
#The Rise is certainly real and the #NewEra has begun in Boulder. A 10-4 record and Pac-12 South title in 2016, accompanied by the 27th best recruiting class this week (per ESPN’s Recruiting Nation rankings) proved that. But most of the Buffs out-of-state recruits verbally committed well before they witnessed the rebirth of Colorado Football. As ESPN’s National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill told me this week, “It’s this next class (the 2018 recruiting class) that’s been watching it all, that’s just getting their recruiting going, that’s the class that it’ll pay off for.”
If the Buffs can continue their success on the field and rebuild those pipelines to those fertile recruiting States, there’s no doubt the #NewEra in Boulder will thrive for years to come.