Highlands Ranch High School center Drake Nugent is going to play college football somewhere in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Although Nugent doesn't know where he'll land, there's a decent chance it won't be in Boulder. Despite his talent, and playing alongside Colorado commit Austin Johnson at Highlands Ranch, Nugent isn't high on the Buffaloes' list for the class of 2019 at this point.

"I don't really talk to Colorado much at all," Nugent said recently. "I've gone up a couple times for junior days, but they don't really talk to me."

That may have more to do with numbers than Nugent's talent, however.

At 6-feet, 1.5 inches and 275 pounds, Nugent has good size for a high school center, and he's received nine scholarship offers, most recently from Oklahoma State. Arizona and Arizona State are the other Power 5 schools to offer him, and Colorado State - his father's alma mater - has been on him from the start.

"My father played (at CSU), so they've known about me for a long time," Nugent said. "I honestly like CSU a lot, but a lot more has come my way now. I still like them, obviously, but a lot has picked up this year, especially starting in January to now."

As for CU, the Buffs will continue to evaluate Nugent, but just may not have any room for him.

The Buffs have signed a center in three consecutive recruiting classes, including redshirt freshman Colby Pursell. Projected to start at center this season for the Buffs, Pursell is viewed as a potential four-year starter.


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CU also has 2017 signee Heston Paige and true freshman Josh Jynes coming into the mix this summer.

Throw in the experience at center and guard of junior Tim Lynott and the potential of junior Brett Tonz to play center and the Buffs aren't really in need of a center for the 2019 class. The Buffs are loaded with guards, but not much depth at tackle right now.

Nugent is aware of CU's situation at center and said, "I'm guessing that's probably the main reason (CU isn't recruiting him). Even if (an offer) did ever come, it would be a hard decision to go there, because I wouldn't play for a while because they like their guy."

Make no mistake, though: Nugent is one of the top in-state prospects for the class of 2019 and he'll find a good spot - possibly in Fort Collins.

"I kind of want to go out of state anyway, but you never know, because obviously CSU is still in state," he said.

Regardless of where he goes, Nugent continues to work with Johnson and other top linemen at SixZero Strength and Fitness in Centennial, where he has improved his game.

"I obviously need to gain more to be a center at the college level, like 300 like every offensive lineman is," he said. "Training here has been the main reason why (the offers are coming), because you have all these recruits around you, so it gives you that college type of feel.

"I have to think about where I want to go and what's going to give me the biggest challenge. I want to go somewhere where it's not going to be easy and I'm going to be able to play a little early."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.