For the first time in years, the Colorado Buffaloes are finding quarterback recruits in their own backyard.

Valor Christian High School's Blake Stenstrom signed his letter of intent with the Buffs in December and will be in Boulder this fall.

Then, on Monday, Palmer Ridge High School's Ty Evans announced his verbal commitment to sign with the Buffs next December, as part of the 2019 recruiting class.

Assuming Evans signs, that would give CU in-state quarterback recruits in back-to-back years for the first time since 2000 and 2001.

CU fans are very familiar with Fairview High School's Craig Ochs, who signed with the Buffs in 2000 as one of the most highly-touted prep quarterbacks in the country.

In the 17 recruiting classes between Ochs and Stenstrom, however, the Buffs signed just two in-state quarterbacks, and it would take a real die-hard fan to identify those players.

In 2001, Horizon High School's Russell Lovett signed with CU, but never played for the Buffs. Then, in 2004, Grandview's Ryan Walters signed with CU as a quarterback, but was switched to safety that fall and wound up having a stellar career on defense.

After Ochs, Joel Klatt, who went to Pomona High School, took over, but he wasn't a high school signee. He walked on at CU after giving minor league baseball a shot, and then became the program's all-time leading passer (he now ranks third).

Klatt, whose career ended in 2005, was the last Colorado-raised QB to throw a pass for the Buffs.


In fact, in the last 12 years, only one in-state player has even played the position in a game: Jaleel Awini. He was a Rangeview High School standout and Air Force transfer who played mostly defense at CU, but, as an emergency QB ran the ball four times for 20 yards in the 2015 season finale at Utah.

Since 1980, CU has typically gone out of state to find its quarterbacks. The best in-state quarterbacks for the Buffs in the past 35-40 yards are probably Klatt, Brighton High School product John Hessler and Air Academy's Steve Vogel.

Stenstrom and Evans could be starting a new trend for CU, which may not have to look too far for its class of 2020 quarterback, either. Fairview's Aidan Atkinson is surely turning heads after throwing for 3,405 yards, 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions as a sophomore this past season.

Still growing

Of note with Evans is his height. He is currently 6 feet, 2.5 inches, which is slightly shorter than every scholarship quarterback at CU right now.

Steven Montez and Tyler Lytle are both 6-5, while Sam Noyer is 6-4 and Stenstrom is listed at 6-3.

Keep in mind, however, that Evans is still only 17, and he told me when I talked to him last week that doctors don't think he's done growing.

"They definitely think I'm going to keep growing," he said. "I'll keep growing and keep adding weight. I definitely haven't hit my ceiling yet."

Evans has a year before he'll get to CU (he will enroll next January), and if he hits that growth spurt, he could be right in line with the others, at around 6-4.

Moving on

I was literally putting the finishing touches on a story about 2019 QB recruit Hank Bachmeier, from Murrieta Valley (Calif.) High School, when news of Evans' commitment came through on Monday afternoon.

That story, of course, is no longer valid, as the Buffs will only sign one QB in the 2019 class. Bachmeier has plenty of other options and said he wishes the Buffs "nothing but the best," but had CU very high on his list.

"Colorado offered me as a freshman, so they've always been one of my top schools," said Bachmeier, rated a four-star prospect by "They were the first team to really take a chance on me."

In addition to liking Boulder, the school and the CU offense, Bachmeier was interested in potentially playing with two close friends already at CU: receiver Maurice Bell and Lytle.

Perhaps most disappointed is Bachmeier's uncle.

"He is from Broomfield and he texts me literally all the time," Bachmeier said. "He's a die-hard Buff fan and Bronco fan. If there's anything he sees on Boulder in general or the Buffs, he sends it to me. He's a homer."

I also talked with Bachmeier about new CU quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper. Bachmeier doesn't know Roper personally, but Roper, while at South Carolina, had been out to Murrieta Valley to watch Bachmeier throw. Bachmeier said his offensive coordinator in high school has a good relationship with Roper and, "He speaks very highly of (Roper)."

Grad transfer OL

There's been some talk recently of CU adding a graduate transfer offensive lineman, with two names in particular in the conversation.

Dwayne Wallace, formerly of Cal, and Casey Tucker of Stanford are two players that CU has targeted.

Wallace was particularly intriguing because he's a mid-year transfer who could have potentially come to CU this semester and participate in spring drills. However, I'm told by a source at CU that they don't think they can get Wallace into grad school, so it's unlikely we'll see him as a Buff.

Tucker, meanwhile, can get into school at CU, but the Buffs couldn't count on him until the summer. Much like Davis Webb in 2016, Tucker has to finish his school year before he can transfer, and he's not bound to any school until he enrolls in the summer.


CU doesn't have many spots left for the 2018 recruiting class, but will entertain an intriguing visitor this weekend.

Defensive end Alex Tchangam, from De Anza (Calif.) College, will be in Boulder this weekend. He doesn't have an offer yet from the Buffs, but is hoping to get one this weekend. He has three years to play two.

Joshka Gustav will also be in Boulder, as he takes his official visit. Gustav, a linebacker from Aquinas (Calif.) High School, signed with CU in December, but was unable to line up a visit until this week.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or