Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre has been looking for all the right measurables in prospects as he puts together his first true recruiting class in Boulder, but he's also searching for a quality that doesn't show up on Internet highlight videos.
MacIntyre is recruiting staying power.
There might be a good season here and there if the Colorado program continues to see 40 percent of its recruits leave the program before graduation day, but MacIntyre is a firm believer that CU won't claw its way back into the national conversation and legitimate contention for the Pac-12 Conference title until CU strings together classes of recruits who stay together in Boulder to the end of their eligibility.
"I think we're doing a really good job of finding the right people," MacIntyre said. "I always tell the guys, 'Don't worry about the ones we lose. Worry about the ones we get, cause you're going to lose some, but make sure you get the right ones.' I feel like we've had a very good evaluation process, not only athletically but socially and academically. To me, that is important because we want staying power when they get here.
"I think it's really important that the young man needs to realize what he's stepping in to, the commitment level academically and how important it's going to be that football is important to you."
MacIntyre has correctly noted in the past that Colorado is hardly alone in college football when it comes to attrition. Players are always looking for greener pastures even in the most successful programs.
But a cornerstone of MacIntyre's rebuilding plan for the Buffs is keeping players and coaches together to the greatest extent possible for as long as possible.
MacIntyre signed a mix of his own recruits and players who pledged to former coach Jon Embree on national signing day last February and so far all but one of the 21 players in that class remains on the roster.
But looking back at previous years provides an idea of why CU has been forced to use so many true freshmen in games that past two seasons.
The program signed 27 prospects in the 2012 class and 10 of them either never made it to CU or have left the program already. CU signed 23 players in the 2011 class and nine of them either never made it to CU or left without finishing their eligibility. One oddity with that class was losing three players to career-ending injuries, something that is out of anyone's control.
The 2010 recruiting class consisted of 24 signees 10 of whom either never played for CU or left before completing their eligibility.
That's a total of 74 recruits signed between 2010 and the 2012 classes and 29 of them or 39.1 percent flamed out.
CU has 20 commitments for the 2014 class, including two junior college transfers who are already enrolled for the spring semester. MacIntyre expects to sign 21 or 22 players on national signing day in three weeks.
If he can keep a high percentage of last year's class together along with a high percentage of those he's recruiting now, he believes it will pay off handsomely when those players are juniors and seniors a few years from now.
One way MacIntyre tries to ensure that staying power is by making sure recruits and their families get all their questions answered and understand the expectations before choosing CU.
MacIntyre sets aside time on every recruiting weekend for recruits and their parents to meet with some of the current players without coaches or other CU staffers around. He said five or six members of the team representing each class will sit in a room with the recruits and their parents and answer any question that might be asked.
"They will ask them all kinds of things," MacIntyre said. "And then when our players are hosting them, they see we've got good young men.
"I'm a parent myself. You can stage anything, but I want it to be real and I want them to know we're real and know the real facts. If a kid doesn't want to be here, I'd rather know before he comes and leaves after a year. I think that will help us eventually have a good retention rate, and I think we do, but I want it to be where we have a phenomenal retention rate."