Colorado football's Southern California recruiting pipeline is firmly tapped into Mission Viejo High School. It's a partnership that could produce gems for the Buffaloes.

Mission Viejo football coach and athletic director Bob Johnson spoke highly of 2014 CU commits Michael Mathewes and Josh Kaiser in an interview with BuffZone, and he also believes CU is a program on the rise.

"They're fired up, I'm fired up, it's a great new staff," Johnson said of Mathewes and Kaiser, who both committed to Colorado on Dec. 15 following official visits.

"A couple guys on the staff (Kent Baer and Gary Bernardi) are good friends. I think they got two really good players, for sure."

Michael Mathewes
Michael Mathewes (

Johnson spoke first about the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Mathewes, who lined up primarily at defensive end as a senior for the 11-1 Diablos.

Mathewes is listed as a two-star recruit by Rivals and was named All-South-Coast-League and to the L.A. Times' All-Area Football Team after recording 14 sacks during his senior campaign. He holds reported offers from Air Force, Army, Holy Cross, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Yale.

"Michael Mathewes has got a motor like nobody else. He's tall, strong and can really run and run forever ... he could run marathons," Johnson said. "He's just a beautiful kid with a real high GPA, almost a 4.0, and just a team leader."

The longtime Mission Viejo coach believes Mathewes can contribute early when he lands at Colorado.


"I see him playing fairly early up there, I really do. It may take him a year, but it just depends on his position and who they have coming back," Johnson said.

Mathewes is active in the Mission Viejo athletic department, participating in wrestling and track, as well as football.

"He's a two-year starter for us," Johnson said. "He's wrestling, he's throwing the shot put and the disc, he's a really busy man."

Johnson says the sky is the limit for the late bloomer Kaiser, who recently turned 17.

Kaiser spent his senior season on offense after a junior year on defense. The 6-5 lineman moved to left tackle because of a logjam of D-I talent -- including Mathewes -- on Mission Viejo's defensive line.

"He's a one-year starter, didn't play the year before," Johnson said. "He was behind Michael and another kid that was a D-I kid on defense.

"Then we moved him to offensive left tackle. He's a young kid with very little playing time, obviously just the whole year this year, but he's a real diamond in the rough."

It was a seamless transition to tackle for Kaiser, Johnson said, one that yielded all-league and all-county honors.

Josh Kaiser
Josh Kaiser (

"I think (the Buffs) feel that he's one of their best recruits, you know, on the offensive line," Johnson said. "They think that via film and stuff, and they do a great job of studying it. I knew they'd like him a lot. There's a lot to like, and his best is yet to come."

While Kaiser could potentially redshirt as a freshman, his future at CU is bright.

"He's a young, late bloomer, perfect for an O-lineman type guy that way," Johnson said. "He's going to be gigantic -- his parents are both really huge.

"He's already big, he's 6-5, probably 275 or 270 now, and he'll probably come in at '80 or '85 his freshman year and be a 305 guy by the time he leaves. He'll be a real guy for them, too," Johnson said.

"He'll gain some weight in a hurry, take it real serious and hopefully be a real player for them."

Colorado is a perfect fit for Mathewes and Kaiser, according to Johnson, and he hopes to send more players to Boulder in the future.

"I think they got two really fine, hard-working, humble, no-trouble kind of guys," Johnson said.

"It's an up-and-coming place. I think they'll really get it done, it's a great staff."