Shortly after arriving in Boulder to begin his new job with the Colorado football team, Darrin Chiaverini did his part to spark a furious rally.

It was early January and the Buffaloes were about a month away from a ho-hum recruiting class. Over the next month, Chiaverini and the rest of the CU staff was flying all over the country to meet with recruits. When they weren't flying or visiting players at their homes, they were on the phone, or entertaining recruits in Boulder.

As a result, the Buffaloes landed a solid class on Feb. 3, including a bevy of potential game-changing playmakers.

"I was very pleased with how we finished," said Chiaverini, who was hired in December as co-offensive coordinator, receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. "Getting a guy like Davis (Webb) and getting a guy like Juwann (Winfree) and getting a guy like Beau Bisharat to come in late, I think that's huge.

"I think the staff worked their butt off."

In recent years, CU has landed recruits who chose the Buffs over lower-level FBS schools. This time around, the Buffs signed players who chose them over Power Five schools. Winfree, for example, had been committed to Pittsburgh before switching to CU.

"I think that shows where this place is headed," Chiaverini said.


While Chiaverini and the rest of the CU staff were excited about how they finished the 2016 recruiting cycle, it was really just the first step for the Buffs.

Now in the early stages of constructing their 2017 class, the Buffs are already building on the momentum they gained on signing day. On Sunday, two of the top players in the state, Cherry Creek teammates Dante Sparaco and Jon Van Diest, gave verbal commitments to the Buffs.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from talking about players until they sign letters of intent, but Chiaverini said he's eager to see how good of a class the Buffs can get in 2017.

"I'm excited about 2017 and getting people on campus and showing this place," Chiaverini said. "It's special, it really is. It's just a matter of we've got to get them here and that's what we're working on now."

In 2017, the Buffs will look to add depth on the offensive and defensive lines. They also need some young linebackers and defensive backs, and they'll always look to add a top-notch quarterback.

Regardless of what positions they target, the Buffs have one simple approach: Be aggressive.

"We have to be very aggressive in recruiting, we have to be very visible in recruiting and we have to show them how special this place is," Chiaverini said. "You have to be very, very visible in what we're doing and very aggressive on showing them how special this place is on social media, how we communicate and pushing the message that it's Colorado football."

CU will mainly target Texas, California, Hawaii and Utah, but Chiaverini said in-state talent is a high priority. In recent years, the state's best players have signed elsewhere.

"We can't let the great ones leave the state," he said. "We have to start doing a better of keeping them home. You're not going to get them all. Some guys are going to leave; that's the way it goes. At the end of the day, you have to be worried about the ones you do get. The ones you do get better be good football players."

They also need to be eager to become Buffs. While CU coaches will do their best to sell the program to recruits, Chiaverini said the players have to buy in before signing.

"I tell people this: I don't want to talk you into coming here," he said. "I want you to want to come here, because if I have to talk you into coming here, I'm going to have to talk you into playing hard. I want you to want to come here. I want you to see how special the University of Colorado is."

With CU's aggressive, upbeat approach, more and more players are starting to give Colorado a look. Once those recruits get on campus, they're seeing CU as a legitimate option.

Yet, as strong as the Buffs have been on social media and as good as they might be as salesmen, Chiaveirni knows it's time for CU to start using the greatest recruiting tool of them all.

"We have to win football games," he said. "People get more excited when you win."

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.