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Recruiting Q&A – What it’s like to be a CU recruit

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    By Stuart

    [h=3]Recruiting Q&A – What it’s like to be a CU recruit[/h]Editor’s Note: Thanks to the internet,*many of us fans in the Buff Nation can tell you the number of stars a particular prospect has been given by the recruiting services, or the top five schools a certain high school senior is considering. What*most of us*don’t know is what it feels like to be a Division 1 recruit. Below is the first in a series of interviews*with former CU players, discussing what it was like for them as a high school senior when the black-and-gold came calling*at their door.
    We start with a member of Bill McCartney’s first recruiting Class, the Class*of 1983. A little background … While McCartney did have a season as head coach before recruiting his first class (Mac was hired in June, 1982, when head coach Chuck Fairbanks bolted for the USFL), but still was saddled with selling a program which had to that point posted four consecutive losing seasons, including McCartney’s 2-8-1 record in 1982. In the Class of 1983, McCartney was able to convince a number of players to sign on with the Buffs, including Jon Embree, Eric McCarty, Mickey Pruitt and David Tate,*who had offers from*a multitude of*successful programs. Then assistant coach Gary Barnett called the recruiting pitch “Belief*without*Evidence”. *The Class of 1983 helped turn Colorado into a winning program, which allowed McCartney to then recruit the players who won the national championship in 1990.
    Lance Carl
    Lance Carl*was an*Iowa first-team All-State wide receiver, according to the*Des Moines Register. Playing for Fort Madison in 1982, Carl*caught 28 passes for 710 yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging 35.0 yards per kickoff return.
    How did you and Fort Madison do in 1982?
    As I recall, we were 4-6. We lacked depth on both sides of the ball, and the majority of us went both ways. I played free safety on defense.
    Was a football scholarship always your plan? When did you know that you had Division 1-A talent?
    I was actually a better baseball player (All State center fielder) and was getting recruited by several Division-1 programs. Football was my 2nd*favorite sport. I realized I had D1 talent following my junior year when I began hearing from universities in the Midwest.
    How old were you when you first heard from a college recruiter? How were you contacted?
    I was 16 yrs. old, following my junior year. I was contacted by mail and then by telephone.
    What schools recruited you? Did you have a favorite? A dream school?
    Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Northern Iowa primarily. Growing up 90 minutes from Iowa City, I was a Hawkeye fan and thought it would be cool to go there. I’d gone there for Lute Olson basketball camps throughout high school and was familiar with the city and campus.
    Iowa is not normally a recruiting hotbed for the University of Colorado. How did you and the Buffs connect?
    One of Coach Mac’s classmates from Mizzou, Don Gill, contacted CU on my behalf. At the time, they had only one other Iowan on the roster, defensive tackle Joe O’Brien. Coach Mac’s offensive coordinator, Ron Taylor (who was also the quarterback at*Mizzou when Mac was the center in the early 1960′s), came to visit me in Fort Madison. He saw me play basketball and then watched some game film – he then called Coach Mac and told him he needed to visit me as well.
    Colorado, in the fall of 1982, went 2-8-1 in the first season under Bill McCartney. It was the fourth straight losing season posted by the Buffs, so there was little to objectively indicate future success. What was your impression/knowledge of the team?
    I had no knowledge of Colorado or the Buff tradition. I’d never been west of Iowa and literally had to get out the Encyclopedia Brittanica to see where Boulder was.
    Which CU coaches were recruiting you? What did they tell you about the offense they wanted to run, and how you fit into their plans?
    I was recruited by Ron Taylor. My position coach my freshman year was Jim Caldwell, current Indianopolis Colts head coach. Coach Caldwell was an Iowa grad and was familiar with Fort Madison. At the time I was recruited, we had twor or three wide receivers*on the field and threw the ball 30+ times a game. The staff thought I could fit in seamlessly.
    When did you first meet Bill McCartney? What were your impressions?
    I met Coach Mac*one week after Coach Taylor came to visit. It was in the winter, I believe in December. He walks in the front door, introduces himself and asks me to come back in two hours. He wanted to spend some one-on-one time with my mom. I actually thought to myself, “Aren’t you here to see me?” I came back two hours later and they were at the dining room table reading the Bible together! Coach Mac stood up, shook my hand again and said he’d like for me to visit Boulder. He said he liked the way I caught the ball, liked my character and thought I’d be a good fit for the program he was going to build.
    Did you take an official visit to Colorado before committing? If so, what was it like? What did you do when you were in Boulder?
    I was the last player that Coach Mac recruited in his first class. I took my recruiting visit in January and left Iowa temperatures in the single digits, gray skies and gloomy. That Colorado day was like so many in the winter – temperatures in the 40s, blue skies and white powder on the ground. I caught that view coming down US highway 36 and said to the coach, “What was your record last year?” He said, “2-8-1.” I said, “I’m in.” I came in on a Sunday night and a former high school classmate from Iowa had moved to Wheatridge. Her family came to Boulder, picked me up and I had dinner with them that night.
    I was the only recruit in the weekend and my host was running back Chris McElmore – great guy, very quiet though. He was a holdover from the Fairbanks’ staff. He liked Coach Mac and the new staff and thought they’d turn things around. I got to tour the campus on Monday and met with Coach Caldwell and a few other coaches. Colorado was unlike anything I’d ever seen and I remember thinking that I was so grateful to Don Gill for making that phone call. The facilities and weight room were shoddy, Balch Fieldhouse is the same now as it was then.
    Did you take any other official visits? How did your visits compare? (Better or worse facilities; nicer town; friendlier coaches; better players, etc.).
    I took visits to Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Actually planned to go to Iowa and play baseball and football but after meeting Coach Mac, visiting the campus and meeting with the coaches, it was CU all the way. Iowa had a great campus and Iowa City is a great college town. Ames is a nice college town as well. Since there are no pro teams in Iowa, it’s all Iowa or Iowa State, depending on which side of the state you live in. I wasn’t particularly fond of Nebraska or Notre Dame growing up so I didn’t take trips to either. The facilities at Iowa were considered good for that time and Iowa State’s were average.
    The 1980′s were a period in which there were numerous recruiting scandals (SMU was on its way to the death penalty; every SEC team seemed to take pride in being on probation). Were you aware of any recruiting improprieties, either in the your recruitment, or the recruitment of your teammates? Were you aware of / expecting any “extra benefits”?
    As a 17-year old, I was naïve to the whole recruiting process. My mom had no idea of scholarships for playing sports until meeting with a few coaches during recruiting. I wasn’t aware of nor did I expect any “extra benefits.” I thought my visiting the schools was benefit enough.
    What did you know about your fellow CU recruits? Without the internet, it would have been difficult to track the recruiting class of 1983. What did you know about other player who were being recruited at your position?
    I was the last recruit of Mac’s first class and came in alone during my visit in January. I didn’t know anything about the other recruits except that they’d made an impression on the in-state kids and many were buying into Coach Mac’s vision for the program.
    Was there any fanfare at your high school on Signing Day? Was there a Signing Day – or did you just mail/fax in your Letter of Intent?
    There was no fanfare at my high school. The local paper came to my house on Signing Day and took a photo of me signing with my mom looking on.
    When did you get out to Boulder? Did you come early, and attend summer school? Was there any summer conditioning programs? Any seven-on-sevens?
    I came to Boulder that summer following graduation. I drove out with 2 other recruits from NW Missouri,*offensive linemen*Joe McCreary and*Tim Harper. The first time I conditioned, I thought my lungs were going to explode. We got together and worked on routes, timing, etc.
    You were in the same recruiting class as CU head coach Jon Embree. Do you remember when you first met Embree? What about other members of the Class of 1983?
    Jon was one of the first guys I met and is one of my most trusted friends to this day. At that time, frosh stayed in Aden Hall for two-a-days. Being the last recruit, I hadn’t met any of the guys before and was very nervous. Jon, Tom Gebhardt, Eric McCarty and a few others were very friendly and welcomed me right away. I heard a few jokes about being a Black guy from Iowa! The first night, Jon, Tom Gebhardt, John Nairn, Sam Smith, Mike Marquez and I jumped in Tom’s 280Z and headed to Pearl Street. I remember almost being late for curfew our first night! Our class is exceptionally close and I keep in touch with those listed above as well as others. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, golf together, etc. I serve on the Buffs4Life Foundation board of directors with Joe McCreary and Jon.
    Any other memories from your recruitment you would like to share?
    I’ll never forget what my mom said after Coach Mac left our house. She said, “He’s the only man that I trust. He’ll see that you get an education and become a man.” Growing up without a father, that statement really resonated with me. Although CU was a long way from my home in Iowa, she saw the benefit of my leaving Iowa and wanted me to experience something beyond my dreams. Her self-sacrifice and belief in Coach Mac spoke volumes to me.

    Lance Carl went on to*lead the Buffs in receiving in both 1986 and 1987,*taking over that role from Jon Embree, who had led the team in receiving in 1984 and 1985. Carl is most remembered by many Buff fans as being on the receiving end of a halfback pass from O.C. Oliver on the first play of the fourth quarter of the 1986 Nebraska game. The 52-yard touchdown gave Colorado a 17-7 lead in what would become a 20-10 victory, the first win over Nebraska for Colorado since 1969.**If you must (and you should), here is the YouTubeVideo of Lance Carl’s touchdown catch against Nebraska*(please make note of the first CU player to greet Carl after the score. He’s No. 80 … He was the tight end … am I giving it away?).
    As mentioned, Lance remains close to the CU athletic program, and is on the Board of Directors for Buffs4Life, a Foundation which has, as its mission statement: “We provide a support system that ensures that no University of Colorado athlete past or present shall suffer any medical or financial hardship alone.”


    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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  2. 4DemBuffs

    4DemBuffs Most admired poster Club Member

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    awesome!
     
  3. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines beware the habu Club Member

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    cool stories, bro
     
  4. SuperiorBuff

    SuperiorBuff Well-Known Member

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    Brought tears to my eyes. I remember hearing about that trip to Pearl Street that week and thinking how I hoped they didn't blow it for themselves.
     

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