Earlier this week, Colorado and other college football teams kicked off the spring evaluation period.

Between now and the end of May, coaches will be on the recruiting trail evaluating prospective student-athletes.

As usual, the CU coaching staff will have Monday morning meetings before the assistant coaches hit the road for the week (evaluations are not permitted on Sundays or on Memorial Day).

A new twist this year is the addition of early official visits. High school juniors may now start taking official visits from April 1 through June 24. Previously, players had to wait until Sept. 1 of their senior year.

With the new recruiting calendar, CU and other schools now have to balance when they will use their official visits. Each team is allowed to offer 56 official visits per year, and may carry over as many as six unused visits from the previous year. CU has 62 visits to use for the 2019 recruiting cycle.

CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said he doesn't have a set number of visits he wants to use during this early period, but said, "Our thought process is in the 20 range."

"But, all of a sudden if we get a couple of kids that say, 'Coach we want to come now; we're ready to make our decision and we've visited other places,' you gotta do that," he said.

Of course, CU won't use all — or even close to all — of its 62 visits too early.


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"We'll definitely leave some for the season and we'll definitely have some for after the season," he said, adding that he doesn't think CU will use all 62 anyway.

The early visits could lead to some verbal commitments this spring and summer.

MacIntyre said he likes having official visits earlier in the year, in part because it could benefit not only the college teams and the athletes, but also the high school coaches.

"What I'm starting to hear, a lot of the high school coaches are starting to catch onto this, and a lot of them are starting to want (the athletes) to take their visits now and not take them during the season," he said.

CU is scheduled to have a handful of recruits on campus for official visits the weekend of April 27. Each player is allowed to take five official visits.

Looking back

In re-evaluating CU's spring drills, which concluded on March 23, MacIntyre said he was "overall, really pleased with what we accomplished."

MacIntyre felt there was a lot of carry-over of knowledge from the returning players, while the newcomers picked up the schemes quickly.

"The first few days were a little tough but then after that they got it and I thought that was a great step forward for us," he said.

For the past several weeks, the Buffs have been in offseason workouts, and MacIntyre said he's been impressed with the effort and intensity, as well as the work being done by strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson. MacIntyre said he overheard one player tell someone that the team is really close.

"I've seen that," MacIntyre said. "I've seen the effort, I've seen them pushing each other, I've seen them hanging out at different places and doing different things with each other. To me, that's a critical factor."

Notable

CU has not named its captains yet, but MacIntyre said the team is in "family group competitions" to see how they lead. Before the start of the summer program, the Buffs will vote on captains, but MacIntyre is trying to stress to his team that they all need to be leaders in their own right. "I think they've taken that to heart and I feel very good about that at this point," he said. ... Receiver Jay MacIntyre, who had foot surgery last month and missed all of spring practices, is still in a walking boot, but is expected to be at full speed by the start of June. ... Coach MacIntyre said he was surprised that true sophomore outside linebacker Dante Sparaco decided to leave the program, because he's still a young player. Sparaco, second on the depth chart coming out spring, announced that he will transfer to Montana State. "I really like Dante and I thought he had a good future (at CU), but that's kind of today's world a little bit," MacIntyre said. "I wish him the very best."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33