One month before Wednesday's national signing day, things looked a little bleak for Colorado.
On Jan. 2, the Buffs lost the top player on their commitment list, four-star defensive back Craig Watts from Florida, leaving the Buffs with a class that didn't wow anybody.
CU's coaches rallied in a big way down the stretch, though.
Led by new recruiting coordinator and co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini, who started his job at CU around the time Watts de-committed, the Buffs put together a class that turned the heads of their fans.
"Chev makes a big difference," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He does have high energy."
While late additions Beau Bisharat, Davis Webb and Juwann Winfree headlined this class, it could be argued that Chiaverini was the MVP of this recruiting cycle. Without him and his connections and passion, Webb and Winfree may not be on their way to Boulder.
Chiaverini wasn't the only assistant who shined, however. Klayton Adams' relentless efforts got Bisharat to CU, while Charles Clark, Jim Leavitt, Brian Lindgren and Joe Tumpkin also played significant roles in bringing this class together.
"They've always worked hard, but it's a result-led business," MacIntyre said. "All of our coaches, I think, do a really good job. Adding some new energy does help. That pushes it over the edge and it's always good to have fresh ideas."
Facilities pay off
This class was the first one to see CU's completed $156 million facilities upgrades, and MacIntyre believes that helped to land a quality class.
"At the end of our recruiting class, when it got down to some battles at the end, this made a big difference," he said. "We wouldn't have got some of those guys in our old facility, to be honest with you."
CU's receiving corps this coming season will include veterans Shay Fields, Devin Ross, Jay McIntyre and Lee Walker, who are all under 6 feet tall.
The Buffs also have 6-foot-2 junior Bryce Bobo, but have added significant size to the position. Last year, they signed 6-foot-3 Justin Jan. On Wednesday, they added Johnny Huntley, Kabion Ento and Juwann Winfree, who are all 6-3, and the 6-2 Derrion Rakestraw.
"We felt like we had some quick receivers that are smaller now," MacIntyre said. "We decided to go after the bigger guy this year. We wanted to add a bigger, athletic guy, really for the outside spot. You need more than one or two."
Throughout their history, the Buffs have recruited a lot of players from California and Texas. They did so again, but also signed two from Florida, two from Georgia and one from Louisiana.
"We had contacts in there with high school coaches," MacIntyre said. "As we worked in there we weren't just chasing around looking. We went to specific areas that we knew we would have contacts to be able to shoot us straight. I felt like that worked well. We were able to get some very good athletes that wanted to come west."
In addition to adding depth at receiver with five new recruits, the Buffs got some much-needed depth and talent at cornerback. They currently have just four corners on the roster, but signed three more on Wednesday.
The Buffs also added depth at linebacker, with three new signees, and they filled a need at running back with Beau Bisharat. Three new offensive linemen give them young depth up front as well.
About the only spot where the Buffs didn't sign anybody was at defensive line (although Terriek Roberts could move there). MacIntyre didn't feel that was a need this time around, because they have three redshirts (Brett Tonz, Lyle Tuiloma and Frank Umu) with four years of eligibility remaining, and in January added Sam Bennion, a 2014 signee who returned from an LDS mission.
MacIntyre said coaches are constantly watching recruits on social media, looking for any red flags. "We've pulled off of guys because of their Twitter or their Facebook, just completely dropped them," he said. ... CU signed two players from Coffeyville Community College - Drew Lewis and Juwann Winfree - that were both dismissed from their previous Division I schools (Lewis from Washington, Winfree from Maryland). MacIntyre said the Buffs have no concerns, though. "I feel excellent about both of those kids because of the inside connections," he said. "If I wouldn't have had those inside connections, I probably wouldn't have felt the same way." ... Four players who would have been fifth-year seniors — Clay Norgard, John Walker, De'Jon Wilson and Yuri Wright — have decided to graduate and pass up their final year of eligibility. In addition, tight end Hayden Jones, who would have been a sophomore, has left the team for personal reasons.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.