The major recruiting services have rated just one of Colorado's recruiting classes among the top 25 in the nation since 2003.

Former coach Dan Hawkins' 2008 class received a No. 15 ranking from Rivals.com that year, but every other class over the past eight years has been ranked in the mid-30s or lower.

After receiving its 19th commitment for the 2012 class this weekend, CU has moved into the mid-30s in team rankings by Scout.com, and considering coach Jon Embree still plans to add at least nine more recruits to the class, there is a chance the Buffs could get back into the top 25 this year.

But to do so, CU coaches will have to close strong by landing at least a few four- or five-star recruits. The class currently features only two- and three-star prospects rated by the major services.

As of late Monday night, Scout.com ranked CU's 2012 class the 37th best in the nation and sixth best in the Pac-12 Conference. Rivals.com ranked the class No. 48 in the nation and ninth in the Pac-12 but hadn't updated its team rankings in several days.

Colorado coaches received a commitment from running back Donta Abron after his official visit to Boulder over the weekend.


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Abron, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back from Upland, Calif., is the 11th offensive player in the class and the third running back. CU previously received commitments from running backs Davien Payne, of Perris, Calif., and Terrence Crowder from Galena Park, Texas.

Crowder suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament this season and could be a likely candidate to redshirt his first season in Boulder. The injury made signing a third running back that much more important to CU coaches.

"I think given the circumstances of a still new staff and a tough run of mediocrity at Colorado, Jon Embree and his staff are doing a very good job," said Brandon Huffman, National Football Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Recruiting Manager for FOX Sports/Scout.com. "The thing people forget is that when he was at Colorado before, and when he was an assistant at UCLA with Eric Bieniemy, they were very good recruiters. And Mike Tuiasosopo was one of the best recruiters in the Pac-10 before leaving Arizona for Colorado.

"So Embree knows the lifeline for any program is recruiting and evaluating talent well. Now that they've had a full year, and showed some improvement down the stretch, that gives them more of a body to work with and present with new prospects. They've gotten some guys who've flown under the radar and jumped on them early, like Josh Tupou and Mane Manaea. They've gotten players that were coveted by other programs like Kisima Jagne and Shane Dillon. So with little to work with or show for, they're putting a good class together. And even more importantly, they're casting a wide net nationally."

 

Morris Trophy Awarded

Colorado fans might want to familiarize themselves with the Morris Trophy awarded every year by the Pac-12 Conference to the best offensive and defensive linemen in the league.

What makes the award unique is how the winners are selected. Offensive linemen throughout the league vote for the defensive winner and vice versa each season.

This season the honors went to USC left tackle Matt Kalil and Utah defensive tackle Star Lutulelei. Both players are juniors.

The Morris Trophy is sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club, the 101 club, Athletic Awards of Seattle and the Morris Trophy Foundation. It was created 32 years ago and named after G. Patrick Morris, who sponsored the award for 29 years.

Lost letterman

Former Colorado backup center and professional wrestler Mark "Bison" Smith died in late November from heart problems. He was 38.

Smith played at CU from 1991 to 1993 and served as a back up to former CU standouts Jay Leeuwenburg and Bryan Stoltenberg. He became a pro wrestler after leaving CU and that career took him all over the world.