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Year Two Recruiting Classes – A Comparison

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    By Stuart


    [h=2]Year Two Recruiting Classes – A Comparison[/h]When there is a regime change in college football, the new coaching staff is almost always given a pass when it comes to their first recruiting Class. There are just too many variables to hold the new coach accountable for his first Class – When was the new coach hired? Under what circumstances (was the previous coach successful, moving on to greener pastures, or was the previous coach run out of town after a series of losing campaigns)? Do the commitments to the old coach fit the system of the new coach? Is the new coach coming from another college program (and perhaps bringing recruits with him)?
    Year Two for the new coach, conversely, begins to give fans a better picture of how well the new coaching staff can recruit. The new staff*has had*its system in place for a year, and had a full cycle of summer camps and official visits to recruit their style of player.
    Just for fun … let’s look at Year Two of the Recruiting Classes for the*last two CU head coaches, Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree, and see how those classes shaped up when looking at how they were perceived at the time, and how they fared once they got to Boulder. Looking at those two Classes might help CU fans when assessing the incoming Class of 2014, a/k/a Year Two of the Mike MacIntyre era.
    While not necessarily comparing apples to apples – there are still many variables involved -*it’s at least comparing red delicious apples to pink lady apples … which is better than comparing apples to oranges.
    [h=3]Dan Hawkins – Year Two – Recruiting Class of 2007[/h]The circumstances … Dan Hawkins came to Boulder from Boise State, where he had a run of 50 victories in five seasons leading the Broncos. Hawkins took over*the program from Gary Barnett, forced out due to a myriad of scandals, both real and imagined.
    Glass half-full … Despite the issues surrounding his dismissal, Barnett had won the Big 12 North division four of the previous five seasons, and the Buffs were two-time reigning Big 12 North titles when Hawkins was hired.
    Glass half-empty … Hint of scandal had hung over the program for several years, reducing the quality of the recruiting Classes. While the*CU program may not have been “burned to the ground”, as Hawkins later described it, the talent level of the team had been reduced over the past few seasons. Recruiting for the Class of 2007 was also affected by the miserable 2-10 debut season the Buffs put together in 2006 under Hawkins, including a loss to Montana State in CU’s first-ever game against a 1-AA program.
    The Recruiting Class of 2007:
    National Rankings … 32nd (Rivals); 35th (Scout)
    Big 12 Rankings …*5th (Rivals);*6th (Scout)
    Headliners … Colorado had a five-star recruit in its 28 signees, offensive tackle Ryan Miller from Littleton, Colorado. The Buffs also had two four-star commits, running back P.T. Gates, a junior college transfer from Mission Viejo, California, and wide receiver Marques Simas from San Diego.
    Other signees of note … Amongst the remainder of the Class, the highest-rated three-star prospects were offensive lineman Blake Behrens, defensive end Drew Hudgins, offensive lineman Sione Tau, defensive back Anthony Wright, and quarterback Matt Ballenger.
    Analysis … Ryan Miller held up his end of the bargain, setting a career record for the most games*started – 48 – of any Colorado player. Otherwise, the Class*- which never posted a winning season – was a huge disappointment. None of the skill players recruited by Dan Hawkins in Year*Two played a significant role for the Buffs (unless you want to count Brian Lockridge, the running back who finished his career at Colorado as a defensive back). *Almost all of the players who were recruited as part of the Class of 2007 who were around to be on the roster as fifth-year seniors were offensive and defensive*linemen – Ethan Adkins, Behrens, Shawn Daniels, Conrad Obi, and Tau. Two other players will be familiar*to many Buff fans:*Tyler Ahles, recruited as a linebacker, who ended up as a fullback, and Matthew Bahr, brought in as an offensive lineman, finished his career in Boulder as a tight end.
    Bottom line … In 2014, Buff fans can’t even imagine having a Class ranked in the top 35 in the nation. But, as the Class of 2007 demonstrated, Class rankings do not always portend results on the field.

    [h=3]Jon Embree – Year Two – Recruiting Class of 2012[/h]The circumstances … After five consecutive losing seasons, Dan Hawkins was let go, with former Buff Jon Embree hired as the new head coach. Embree had not only played for the Buffs, but had been an assistant coach in Boulder. Embree brought with him another former Buff standout, Eric Bieniemy, as his offensive coordinator, while bringing back longtime assistant coach Greg Brown to be his defensive coordinator.
    Glass half-full …*Colorado had endured five straight losing seasons under Hawkins, but the 2010 team had finished 5-7,*so there was optimism that with the return of Embree and Bieniemy there would be also be a return to the glory days of Colorado football, brought to the Buff Nation by coaches who understood in could be done in Boulder. In addition, it didn’t hurt that both Embree and Bieniemy were highly regard recruiters.
    Glass half-empty … In his first season, Embree had to run his new team through a 13-game gauntlet, including a $1 million pay-for-play blasting by Ohio State. The result was a 3-10 season, with the Buffs far from competitive in their first season in the Pac-12.
    The Recruiting Class of 2012:
    National Rankings … 36th (Rivals); 29th (Scout)
    Pac-12 Rankings …*8th (Rivals);*6th (Scout)
    Headliners … Colorado had two four-star*recruits in its 27 signees, both defensive backs: Kenneth Crawley from Washington D.C., and Yuri Wright from Ramsey, New Jersey.
    Other signees of note … Amongst the remainder of the Class, the highest-rated three-star prospects were quarterback Shane Dillon, defensive end Kisima Jagne, defensive tackle Tyler Henington, tight end Vincent Hobbs, offensive lineman Jeromy Irwin, and three running backs – Clay Norgard, Davien Payne, and Christian Powell.
    Analysis … The verdict remains out on the Class of 2012, as they are just now moving into the status of upper-classmen. Crawley and Wright were both thrust into the starting lineup early in their careers, and hope remains that they will prove to be all-conference caliber defensive backs before their careers are through. Kisima Jagne, of course, never made it to Boulder, failing to make the grades as a high school senior, then spurning the Buffs at the*last minute the following December, opting for Arizona State (where he washed out). Tyler Henington and Christian Powell have shown positive results, while Clay Norgard (moved to linebacker) and Jeromy Irwin (injured last season) still have potential.
    Bottom line … Again, it’s hard to imagine CU with so highly rated a Class (both the 2007 and 2012 classes were over-sized, helping the final rankings), but the Class of 2012 has yet to realize its full potential – turning CU back into a winner.

    [h=3]Mike MacIntyre – Year Two – Recruiting Class of 2014[/h]The circumstances … Mike MacIntyre came to Colorado with the Buffs already riding a*school-record streak of seven consecutive losing seasons. MacIntyre moved to Boulder from San Jose State, where he had turned around the Spartans, going from a one win team to a ten win team in just three seasons.
    Glass half-full …*Mike MacIntyre brought with him hope, a plan … and a few good recruits. Addison Gillam was a San Jose State commit that became a freshman All-American for Colorado, while another MacIntyre recruit, Michael Adkins, showed great promise at running back. The Buffs moved from a one-win team in 2012 to a four-win team in 2013, sparking hope for the future.
    Glass half-empty … While not as awful as the nadir of 2012, the losing did continue in 2013, with Colorado being blown out in a number of Pac-12 conference games. The talent level discrepancy on the field remained painfully obvious to all but the most ardent CU fan.
    The Recruiting Class of 2014:
    National Rankings (as of 2/2) … 64th (Rivals); 68th (Scout)
    Pac-12 Rankings (as of 2/2) …*11th (Rivals);*11th (Scout)
    Headliners … Colorado has one*four-star*commit amongst its*20 current pledges, wide receiver Shay Fields from Bellflower, California.
    Other*commits of note … Amongst the remainder of the Class, the highest-rated three-star prospects are quarterback Cade Apsay, linebacker Rick Gamboa, defensive back Donovan Lee, tight end Dylan Keeney, linebacker Grant Watanabe*and defensive linemen Eddy Lopez and Michael Mathewes.
    Analysis … With these players not even on campus yet, there is no way to know if this is the Class which will spark a turnaround of fortune for the Buffs on the field. On paper, there is less to be excited about from the Class of 2014 then there was from either the Class of 2007 or the Class of 2012. Both of those Classes were in the top 40 nationally, while the CU Class of 2014 will be hard-pressed to break into the top 60.
    That being said, there are a number of potential “diamonds in the rough” out of this Class. Mike MacIntyre and Co. have already demonstrated an ability to spot overlooked talent, and, while it is never fun to have a recruit switch their commitment to another school (e.g., Jomon Dotson, and perhaps Elijah Rodriguez), there is some comfort in knowing that other schools have taken a second look at these players after they have committed to Mike MacIntyre … and that those schools have liked what they have seen. Imagine what MacIntyre and Co. can do when they are allowed into the homes of even higher rated recruits down the line …
    Bottom line … Recruiting is an inexact science. There are just too many variables surrounding predicting what 17- and 18-year olds will grow into over the next four to five years. Still, there is ultimately an undeniable*correlation between stock-piling five-star*talent and ultimate success on the field of play. Success in the fall is simply not possible without success on the first Wednesday of February each winter.
    Here’s hoping that Mike MacIntyre will have better luck with Year Two recruiting Class than did his predecessors …



    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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  2. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    Well, I'll take our class over the previous two "year-two's".... And every point I have tried to make about recruiting and "stars don't matter outside the top tier" is certainly true with those two classes.
     

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