Sitting in his office on a mid-June morning with just four recruits having pledged to his program for the 2012 recruiting class, Colorado football coach Jon Embree gave no indication of worry about how he is being received both in-state and across the nation.
In fact, Embree provided just the opposite impression. He believes, and so do most of the members of his staff, that the most important time in recruiting each class is just around the corner and not already in the rearview.
With the football season approaching, Embree is confident there are still plenty of high-level recruits available. Embree is a firm believer that some of the best players in the nation in this cycle haven't even emerged yet. He said being patient and thoroughly evaluating the senior seasons of prospects will always be a staple of his program's recruiting efforts.
While many of his peers in the coaching business are eager to gain commitments from players who were great in their sophomore and junior seasons in high school, Embree says in a majority of cases he would rather have the player who has the great senior season.
CU offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has voiced the same opinion multiple times during his first six months on the job.
"A lot of guys get overlooked or haven't even played their best football until they are seniors," Embree said. "And sometimes guys who have been great as sophomores and juniors, they commit before their senior year or early in their senior year and they lose that intensity and don't play as well as seniors."
It's looking like the majority of Embree's second recruiting class -- but the first he will have had an entire cycle to recruit -- will be assembled during the fall and early winter months in the build up to signing day in February.
The 2012 class has grown in recent days to seven members including a commitment Tuesday from three-star wide receiver Gerald Thomas of The Colony, Texas, and two-star offensive lineman Gerrard Kough, of Pomona, Calif., who gave an oral commitment to the Buffs late last week. But Embree is expecting to sign the maximum in any one year of 25 and could add two or three others if they can enroll early and count back to the 2011 class.
That means as much as 75 percent of the class remains to be filled in the next seven months.
The Buffs are off to a decent start with blue chip quarterback Shane Dillon of El Cajon Calif., two wide receivers, two defensive linemen, a running back and an offensive lineman in the class.
Coming off five consecutive losing seasons and a coaching change, the Buffs have early playing time and a chance to make a big impact on the program immediately to sell. It helps that the team is losing 27 seniors when the 2011 season ends.
That seemed to resonate with Thomas.
"It was the best choice for me from the schools I had," Thomas told Scout.com. "I think I can go there and make a difference, get the program back on track."