It's difficult to pinpoint another event in all of major college athletics that celebrates the unknown quantity of untapped potential quite like national signing day.

Few events, if any, feature fans heaping praise upon players who literally have yet to achieve anything for their team and, in fact, will soon be scorned by those same fans if potential fails to lead to on-field impact.

For the University of Colorado, though, there is good reason to celebrate.

The Buffaloes' 2016 class is highlighted not by an 18-year old overflowing with little more than promise, but a veteran quarterback with starting experience ready to step immediately into the starting role. They doubled the number of four-star recruits collected during head coach Mike MacIntyre's first three recruiting classes combined — one of whom may be destined to line up immediately at receiver, and another who is the first player in the Rivals250 CU has landed since 2012.

And the MVP of it all? With apologies to assistants Jim Leavitt and Joe Tumpkin, who dutifully mined the rich recruiting fields of Florida and Georgia, that honor has to go to new co-offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Darrin Chiaverini.

The final numbers will state the Buffaloes' 2016 class is roughly in the same underwhelming stature as MacIntyre's previous classes. puts the Buffs' 2016 class at No. 63 overall and last in the Pac-12 Conference.

That's comparable to what we've seen from CU under MacIntyre, whose first recruiting class came in at No. 68 overall (last in Pac-12) just months after he was hired. There also was a No. 64 mark (10th in Pac-12) in 2014 and a No. 70 ranking (11th in Pac-12) last year.


At least for this year, though, the numbers don't tell the whole story. And Chiaverini is a big reason why.

Hitting the ground running when his hiring was announced on Dec. 15, Chiaverini's relationship with graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb during his previous stop at Texas Tech was a big reason why CU landed a player likely to be its next starting quarterback.

Of course, MacIntyre will say all the right things in regards to Webb competing for the job, as he should. Anointing the starting job to a player who will not be part of spring drills would be a terrible way to motivate those who will be under center this spring.

That said, as an experienced starter eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer, Webb had no shortage of suitors. And there is little doubt Webb wanted to land in a place where he could maximize his playing time in his final season of eligibility. His arrival as a graduate transfer is not accounted for in's rankings.

Credit goes to Chiaverini for another huge coup with the signing of Juwann Winfree, a four-star receiver who also has a year of Division I experience at Maryland. Winfree comes to Boulder from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and, like Webb, could make an immediate impact in filling the void left by record-setting wideout Nelson Spruce.

Finally, landing four-star running back Beau Bisharat (ranked No. 243 overall by not only gives the Buffs a potential backfield workhorse in years to come, but as a former Stanford commit who had several offers around the Pac-12, bringing his talents to Boulder also keeps Bisharat from possibly hurting the Buffs down the road in another uniform. Given Webb and Winfree have just three years of eligibility between them, Bisharat's signing might prove to be the most critical of CU's 2016 class.

Of course, no recruiting spiel impresses teenage ears more than winning, an area in which the Buffs are still lagging. Yet if the trio of Webb, Winfree and Bisharat deliver as quickly as Chiaverini, MacIntyre just might enjoy the opportunity to coach Bisharat for the duration of his collegiate career.

And if that proves to be the case, MacIntyre might also wind up thanking Chiaverini for saving his job.

Pat Rooney: or