The Colorado State football coach snored. Must have been the sounds of contentment, as the list of players he went to bed hoping would sign national letters of intent the next day did just that, giving the second-year coach a batch of 24 new players to help build up his program.
It is a list that includes six players who have already enrolled, four of whom are junior college transfers and one, Austin Berk, who graduated early from Grand Junction. The rest will be incoming freshmen, and McElwain expects to see most of them on campus in June when the second summer session begins.
But in the day and age of highly publicized recruiting, where players change their mind in the 11th hour, the Rams' list stayed firm. And for that, McElwain was grateful. He knows people went hard after the in-state commitments, some of the receivers and quarterback Nick Stevens out of California. Many of them had offers coming from bigger schools, but stayed true to their word.
"A lot of schools tried to come back in on these guys, and that's kind of how it works in this business," McElwain said. "They held true, and I've gotten calls from some coaches at schools who say, 'Mac, that's unbelievable. Usually we could have come and poached anybody.'"
McElwain held true to form -- he didn't highlight any one player, really, but spoke highly of the character and their credentials. There are 12 team captains in the group, with a combined postseason experience of 48 games in their careers and nine of them have earned academic honors.
"Guys that are used to winning, they find it really hard to throw in the towel, because they're used to winning," McElwain said. "That is something that is so important, because it says a lot about a guy who knows how to win, and winning doesn't come easy."
Winning also takes the right mix of players, and with this class, Colorado State had to target two specific groups -- the defensive line and wide receiver.
Four of the six already on campus are defensive linemen, and all of them have the size the Rams lacked last year. Berk is the smallest at 6-foot-5, 225; Martavious Foster is 6-3, 260; Terry Jackson 6-1, 260 and LaRyan King is 6-1, 280.
At receiver, Colorado State landed four big targets (average size of 6-2 3/4 and 193), all of whom can run. When they lost one commitment late last week, they were able to pick up another in Xavier Williams to go with Rashard Higgins, Sammie Long (another late get when Washington backed out on him) and Elroy Masters.
In general, McElwain felt the Rams' needs were met, as every position outside of kicker and punter were addressed. The players come from 13 different states, with California producing six and Colorado five. McElwain feels his staff has done a good job making inroads within the Centennial State -- offensive linemen Jake Bennett (Bear Creek), Zach Golditch (Gateway) and Blake Nowland (Douglas County) and tight end Trae Moxley (Roaring Fork) all are local products. He hopes to draw a handful or more from the state in the future.