DENVER — Joel Klatt grew up rooting for the Colorado Buffaloes, and then be became one of the top quarterbacks to ever play for them.
Klatt's heart still bleeds black and gold, and that was evident on Thursday as he emceed the Colorado Football Signing Day Celebration at the Denver Sheraton hotel.
The former CU quarterback and current Fox Sports analyst was a special guest at the luncheon, which was designed to highlight CU's 2017 recruiting class that was signed on Wednesday. The luncheon, which featured Klatt, head coach Mike MacIntyre, athletic director Rick George, and each of CU's assistant coaches, was sold out.
Klatt, who threw for 7,375 yards during his CU career from 2002-05, appealed to the crowd with his charisma and humor, and he also took plenty of time to praise the Buffs for their resurgence this past season. CU ended a string of 10 consecutive losing seasons by going 10-4, winning the Pac-12 South division and finishing No. 17 in the Associated Press poll.
After the event, Klatt said he believes the Buffs' new recruiting class, which ranks in the top 30 by ESPN and Scout.com, is a sign that the Buffs are here to stay.
"Recruiting is the life blood for any program," he said. "What I evaluate classes on is not rankings or stars; it's who you are competing against to get these commitments. Now, we're competing with the big boys. We're at that table. For some of these commitments, that's a big deal, and I think it's going to pay dividends down the line."
While Buff Nation certainly hopes that's true, Klatt said that among his colleagues in the national media, there's a wait-and-see approach.
"There's still, I'm not going to call it skepticism, but now it's kind of like, 'Now what? Was it just a senior class bubble? Was it a flash?'" Klatt said. "There is some cautious optimism nationally, and I think that's fair."
Klatt admits that in his job as a national college football analyst, he shares that view.
"Professionally, absolutely," he said. "There were so many seniors in such high profile positions and contribution positions. I have to (take that view). It's my job.
"Now, with my heart, I fully believe that they've done the right things to sustain the success. My professional side has to say, 'We'll wait and see.'"
During the luncheon, Klatt told the crowd he believes that in society there is often too much focus on external standards, but he felt the Buffs succeeded this past season because they were driven by an internal standard.
Klatt also said he admired the sense of urgency from the 2016 seniors. He gave special praise to senior quarterback Sefo Liufau and said he would put Liufau on his CU football Mount Rushmore.
Kronshage leaves team
Senior offensive tackle Sam Kronshage has decided to end his football career with the Buffs.
Kronshage, who started 13 games in his career, including seven this past season at right tackle, will graduate in May. With graduation looming and a history of injuries, he has elected to not play his final season.
CU will still go into next season with five offensive lineman who have starting experience.
During the luncheon, MacIntyre talked about each of CU's 27 new recruits, while highlights of each one were shown on video boards. The loudest reaction during the highlights came when MacIntyre talked about Grant Polley, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound lineman from Denton, Texas. Polley's highlight video features him leveling several defensive players. ... When first introduced, MacIntyre, who earned nine national coach of the year awards, was given a standing ovation. ... New secondary coach ShaDon Brown, who was hired last week, told the crowd that before coming to Boulder, he was sent to Dallas to make sure cornerback Chris Miller stayed with the Buffs. Despite heavy recruitment from Ole Miss and Baylor in the final days, Miller stuck with the Buffs.