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bsn BSN: Just how high is #TheRise?

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    In the age of recruiting websites like Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, and even ESPN, the first questions fans ask when hearing of a new verbal commitment is usually pretty standard. How many stars does he have? Who else offered?

    It’s understandable why fans would want to know. The players recruited by Colorado will be put up against the players recruited by their foes–not rocket science, I know. When you’re a program that hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2007, any sign of progress in recruiting that can be build on is encouraging, even if each sign doesn’t always come with four golden stars next to its name.

    So, for those who haven’t kept up this month, a month in which CU has received eight commitments, here’s what Colorado recruiting looks like compared to years passed.

    Where we stand

    Colorado currently has 12 commitments in the 2017 class, with five of the prospects having been rated as four-stars on at least one site. As of publishing, those numbers have Mike MacIntyre and company sitting at No. 38 in the national team recruiting rankings.

    Anchored by two local pledges in Jonathan Van Diest and Dante Sparaco who got things started, the Buffs’ staff has turned what was once a program that had trouble establishing its identity on the recruiting trail into one that is setting trends. From edits to .gifs to a barrage of on-message campaigns from various staff members, it’s easy to see that those inside the program are working together to produce a consistent and, might we say, badass brand. All of that is well and good, but does it actually have an effect on landing recruits?

    As Chris Miller said when he committed, he saw the momentum on social media of coaches and fans showing excitement surrounding the pledging of Tyler Lytle. From there, he knew he wanted to join in. This is the power of social media, sure, but it’s also the power of a well planned campaign. Ever since Darrin Chiaverini took over as recruiting coordinator, this has been the case. It’s something that has been missing from Boulder for years, as evidenced by the paltry recruiting we’ve seen in the past.

    Back to the beginning

    MacIntyre’s first class at Colorado was one of transition, where he honored those who had committed to Jon Embree and began to use his connections throughout California to land players he felt might be overlooked by the rest of the Pac-12.

    Sefo Liufau, Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson, and Addison Gillam are four players who have turned out to have standout careers at Colorado thus far, though Liufau was a holdover from Embree.

    Didn’t know much about Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie till I popped in tape this am. Now he’s one of my favorites. Plays CB like a Mike LB!

    — Todd McShay (@McShay13) June 29, 2016

    As for the rest of the class though, that ranked No. 64 in the country, the results have been mixed at best. Michael Adkins, Kenneth Olugbode, George Frazier, and Jimmie Gilbert have shown flashes, but have yet to become reliable over the course of a full season. All in all, this was far from the worst case scenario as a transition class.

    It was MacIntyre’s next class, however, that showed how tough times had truly become. Despite a vastly improved team from the year before, largely thanks to the star power of Paul Richardson, the Buffs stalled out to another poor recruiting ranking, this time at No. 63 in the nation. Sure, this is the class that brought Shay Fields to Boulder, and Eddie Lopez has shown potential, but this class has yet to unfold with a tremendous amount of promise.

    Hold on, there’s more.

    Colorado’s 2015 class was rated as the worst, according to Rivals, in the MacIntyre era. Falling to No. 69 in the team rankings, the Buffs failed to land a Rivals.com four-star prospect. There have been potential bright spots like Jordan Carrell, Steven Montez, Patrick Carr, and Tim Lynott. Still, in his third class, MacIntyre and his staff had yet to prove that they could land a consistent group of impact, Pac-12 level players.

    The 2016 class saw a changing of winds in Boulder. Colorado, thanks in large part to the efforts of Jim Leavitt and Joe Tumpkin, got into Florida. They landed two of their top, four-star targets in Juwann Winfree and Beau Bisharat. There was a clear and present shift in the recruiting momentum, yet still, the class was only ranked No. 63 nationally.

    Yes, it’s a big deal

    There’s a lot of time left before signing day and the final team rankings are formalized. Plenty of players are still available for teams to land, with 17 of the 26 five-star prospects, according to Rivals, uncommitted as of publishing. Where the Buffs stand today, at No. 38, could very well change in the coming weeks and months. But it’s not necessarily promised to get worse.

    There are plenty of options for the Buffs on the board, right now, that would help them either remain in the 30-40 range of team rankings or even move up into the Top 25. Regardless, what we’ve seen here is a really, really big deal.

    The sudden change in recruiting is noticeable. It’s significant. It is necessary for the program to move forward, of that there is no doubt. Of course, how many games the team wins this year will go a long way in helping determine which current commits remain on the Buffs’ list–or which recruits might join the herd.

    Either way, when putting this summer’s recruiting efforts into perspective, the job done thus far becomes no less impressive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

    William Whelan
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