The Colorado men's basketball team's win over No. 6 Kansas on Saturday is paying dividends for the football program.
Sacramento City Community College defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon told Buffzone he committed to head coach Mike MacIntyre's Buffaloes this morning following an official visit that included the thrilling hoops victory.
The 6-foot-3, 182-pound Witherspoon and his parents were in Boulder this weekend and they fell in love with the town, school and coaching staff.
"It was great. A lot of the coaching staff was really informative and the best thing I like about it is that all the values and morals that coach Mac had expressed to me on my home visit and over the phone before I came, they were just constantly being confirmed throughout the entirety of the trip by multiple coaches, staff, players," Witherspoon said in an interview while he waited for a flight back to California.
CU's most recent commit was a late bloomer after playing prep ball at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento. He spent a year at Sacramento City filling out his frame and learning the nuances of being a collegiate cornerback.
"The biggest thing for me, since I grew so late, I grew about seven inches in 16 months," Witherspoon said. "By the time I got to 6-3, I couldn't just go off of word of mouth to get to the next level, so I had to have a year under my belt of quality film."
Witherspoon's lead recruiter from CU was Klayton Adams. The defensive back said he's only been in serious contact with the Buffs for the past two to three weeks and he'll likely land at cornerback at CU.
Witherspoon detailed his official visit saying, "I got there, got into the hotel (St. Julien) room, it was very nice, very welcoming. Went out to dinner, to a nice dinner spot. Saturday morning woke up, went on a facilities tour of the weight room, training room, locker room, I got to see all the gear.
"And then they had a jersey out of all the recruits of your previous school's number, so that was sweet. Then I got to go to probably the best basketball game I've ever seen. That was incredible, the atmosphere was ridiculous."
Witherspoon selected Colorado over interest from Fresno State, Utah State, Idaho State and UNLV. He said MacIntyre and his staff made it obvious he needed to be a Buff.
"Coach Mac was the big difference. He's a great coach and even better human being. Like I said, just the confirmation of all his values and morals being expressed throughout the trip was huge," Witherspoon said.
The future Colorado defensive back wasn't sure what to expect on his way to Boulder.
"When I was coming out, I was kind of in the middle, just because I didn't know what it would be like to be in a college town," Witherspoon said. "After that basketball game, that was incredible, it really showed me how passionate the students are about their sports."
And his parents?
"They were the same as me, they were kind of unsure what the city would be like, but man it's a great place."
Witherspoon hopes to major in pre-medicine or a related field, something he's always been interested in. He said he's carrying all A's this semester and is heading back to finish strong in the classroom. He'll start classes at CU in January and will return to Boulder on Jan. 8 to get settled in.
As a tall defender, Witherspoon models his game after Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman, who is also 6-3.
"I like to watch Richard Sherman just because he has the size that I do. I feel like he shares some of the similar qualities, the length, specifically on the ball in the press position," Witherspoon said. "His ability to flip his hips and have great feet at such a tall size."
Witherspoon said he currently weighs in at 182 pounds, but wasn't sure what his 40-yard dash time was.
"I don't know my 40 time either, I haven't ran it probably since I was a junior in high school," he said.
Witherspoon said he's ready to get back to the game he loves following a 1-9 season at Sac City.
"I'm just ready to get back into football honestly," he said. "It ended about four weeks ago and ever since I've been really bored. I'm ready to strap it up, do some drills."
The first commitment from a big recruiting weekend at CU is on the board. Witherspoon becomes the 16th commit the Buffs have landed for their 2014 recruiting class and he might not be the only pledge CU receives today. Witherspoon's Hudl highlights are available here.