Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer
Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer ( PAUL AIKEN )
W ednesday was Groundhog Day.

Also known as Recruiting Day, where the same scene and coaching cliches play out over and over from Miami to Lincoln to Honolulu.

Whether it`s Nick Saban talking about Alabama`s highly ranked national class or Paul Wulff unveiling Washington State`s 12th-ranked Pac-12 class, head coaches make every incoming freshman sound like the next Heisman Trophy winner.

Most of the time the hype turns out to be nothing more than hot air.

Remember Darrell Scott? We all thought Dan Hawkins was on the fast track to restoring Colorado to glory after the No. 1 running back prospect signed with the Buffs three years ago.

"Dan Hawkins has a vision, and I want to be a part of that vision," Scott said after putting the CU hat on instead of the Texas hat during his look-at-me announcement. "Hopefully, we can pull in a national championship."

The refreshing thing about signing day at CU this year was the honesty.

Jon Embree -- like the fax machines used to complete the official signings -- is old school. He freely admits that the Buffs didn`t land everyplayer on the wish list and some prospects didn`t bite because the new head coach didn`t tell them what they wanted to hear.

One potential "student-athlete" who visited Boulder lost interest in CU when he learned that the new staff would be implementing 6:45 a.


m. study hall sessions. Others decided to go to programs where coaches promised them playing time.

Can you imagine an 18-year-old Embree asking Bill McCartney to make such concessions and promises back in the day? Neither can Embree.

"I want kids that want to add to the tradition and who don`t ask what you can do for them," Embree said.

Once recruits really get to know Embree or offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy or defensive coordinator Greg Brown or linebackers coach Brian Cabral, they see a pretty clear picture of what CU football can do to change their lives.

Being a part of CU family. Taking advantage of the academic opportunities offered by the university. Experiencing Boulder. Playing in the Pac-12. A realistic map of the NFL path.

Embree includes all of the many reasons why being a Buff can be great while making his pitch on the recruiting trail. But when he entered a home to close the deal ...

"The first thing I sell them on is me," Embree said.

It really doesn`t matter what the recruiting savants say about Embree`s first class, which consists of 19 players who will arrive without a bunch of stars by their names.

There is no question this coaching staff can recruit with the best of them. Despite having only 13 days on the road, CU was able to "flip" nine players who had committed to programs such as Boise State, UCLA and Washington.

The Buffs` 2012 class -- 30 offers have already been made to current high school juniors -- will likely be ranked in the top 20 nationally based on the track record Embree and his assistants have in the living room.

The current Buffs and newly signed Buffs understand the truth about Embree`s on-field plans.

"Kids asking about the depth chart ... that`s a red flag," Embree said. "I`m bringing in guys next year to beat out everyone in this class."

You didn`t hear that kind of blunt assessment about competition at most recruiting news conferences around the country.

And the best news of all on Recruiting Day 2011? Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring when he failed to see his shadow on Wednesday.

The Buffs have already been warned: Spring football begins March 11.

"Nobody`s job is safe on this team," Embree said. "The players know that."