Colorado football coach Jon Embree and his staff will play host this weekend to the first group of recruits making official visits to check out the program since he was hired last month.

Embree is expected to host at least nine prospects this weekend, the first of three consecutive big recruiting weekends that will cap the 2011 recruiting cycle.

It`s clear that Embree and his staff have made up significant ground in recruiting over the past five weeks, based on the ratings of the prospects slated to visit.

Considering that recruiting was all but dead in the final six weeks of the Dan Hawkins era and the final two months of the season, the fact that CU is hosting a group of three- and four-star players, most of whom are nationally ranked at their positions, is a good sign of things to come.

Now, can they convince those players that CU is the right place for them?

In some cases it will mean a player will have to switch his commitment from another program to CU.

Cornerback Rashad Wadood, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound prospect from Lakewood, Calif., is one such story. Wadood, is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com, and has been committed to Arizona State since last summer.

Kameron Jackson, a 5-10, 175-pound cornerback from Long Beach, Calif, has been committed to Washington since last spring.

Four-star linebacker Kellen Jones (6-1, 210) is committed to Michigan but is now considering other options in the wake of the coaching change there.


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Jones was being recruited in the spring and summer by Hawkins` staff but obviously wasn`t sold on the Buffs then.

Linebacker Leilon Willingham of Denver`s Mullen High School is another prospect the staff will be trying to turn. Willingham pledged to Texas A&M late last month.

Colorado is expected to sign between 12 and 15 recruits in this class. It has five known commitments heading into the weekend.

Embree has previously identified wide receiver and cornerback as the two primary positions of need in this class. He also would like to land several linebackers and a running back and a defensive lineman or two. There is one linebacker and one wide receiver among the five known commitments.

It`s definitely a good time for the basketball team to be playing its best ball in years. Coach Tad Boyle`s crew is coming off back-to-back upsets of top-25 teams and hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday. It has the makings of a rowdy day at the Coors Events Center and the kind of atmosphere recruits should enjoy.

It will be interesting to see how Embree and his staff approach recruiting and what changes will be apparent from the recruiting weekends Hawkins hosted over the past five years.

One change is already in the works.

Hawkins used to limit the number of people a recruit and his parents would interact with on campus to a few. Recruits would be closely chaperoned by members of the operations staff.

Embree is hosting recruits on the club level at Folsom Field on Friday afternoon and evening where they can mingle with assistant coaches, operations staffers, academic advisers, professors and plenty of other members of the campus community. If a recruit or his parents have a question about the school or the program, someone at those gatherings should be able to provide the answer.

And it all comes with a beautiful backdrop that can be matched in only a few stadiums elsewhere in college football.

Cody Hawkins headed

to Sweden

Cody Hawkins his headed overseas to play European football for the Stockholm Mean Machines, the team announced on Thursday.

"Its official -- I will be heading to Stockholm, Sweden in March to play for the Stockholm Mean Machines for 8 months! Should be a great experience," Hawkins said on Facebook.