Keep up with the Colorado football commits for 2014 every Monday in the Afternoon Drive. Players are listed in order of commitment date to CU. Let's play soft or firm commitment this week, where players' pledges to CU are assessed.
1. Isaac Miller, OL, Silver Creek (Longmont)
The defending state champ Silver Creek Raptors locked up a spot in the 3A playoffs with a 44-21 rout of Berthoud. Isaac Miller and offensive line helped Josh Quiroz rush for 196 yards and two touchdowns on senior night. Silver Creek quarterback Ben Sjobakken went over 2,000 yards passing on the season with 234.
The 7-2 Raptors draw the No. 9 spot in the playoffs and head to 8-2 No. 8-seed Evergreen on Saturday. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Miller told the Denver Post he'll be signing a letter of intent to CU and he hopes to be the next Nate Solder, firm commitment.
Miller quotes from the Denver Post story: "I feel it's the place for me. I'm happy with the coaching staff there. I'm happy with the school in general. I know it's great academically. It's close to home. I'm just happy with the whole package."
"I don't think there's been a second where I've thought anything different. I've been to almost every home game and love the atmosphere there. I made the right decision."
"By the end of it, they want me at about 300 pounds, which is about the ideal for an offensive tackle. I have plenty of time to get to that weight, and when football ends, I'll be working hard in the weight room, and I hope to get up to that as soon as possible."
"I want to be the next Nate Solder. He was a dude on the line. Everyone knows that. You know the name because he was so strong - a big dude who was so strong. He could just overpower people, and I would love to be like that."
2. Grant Watanabe, LB, Brennan (San Antonio)
Grant Watanabe sat out Brennan's 68-3 blow out of Jefferson (San Antonio). The Bears improved to 10-0 concluding their regular season and are ranked No. 4 in Texas' Class 4A. Watanabe is nursing a hamstring injury, but should hopefully be ready to go when Brennan gets into postseason action.
Any photos of Watanabe I've seen this season where he's not in football gear, he's wearing Colorado beads or apparel. The future CU linebacker is nearly a lock to land in Boulder. Firm commitment.
3. Chance Waz, S, Hendrickson (Pflugerville, Texas)
Chance Waz and the Hendrickson Hawks also completed a perfect regular season (10-0) with a 21-7 win over McNeil (Austin). The Hawks' D fared well holding McNeil to 123 yards and seven first downs. Hendrickson is ranked No. 11 in Texas 5A heading into the playoffs, brackets come out next week.
Waz is scheduled to take in the Huskers game in Lincoln next weekend with Hendrickson teammate Trai Mosley. As mentioned in last week's comments, Mosley has picked up an offer from Oklahoma, so we'll see if he lands at Nebraska. At this point, Waz is a soft commit to the Buffs.
4. Cade Apsay, QB, Canyon Country (Santa Clarita, Calif.)
Canyon Country bounced back from a loss, taking care of West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.) 28-6 to improve to 7-2. Cade Apsay spread the ball around, connecting with seven different receivers, finishing 20-of-29 for 238 yards passing with three touchdowns and an interception.
Canyon closes its regular season on Friday at 8-1 Hart (Newhall, Calif.) and it should be a shootout with Apsay facing Hart's 2015 four-star recruit QB Brady White. Apsay was in the stands for the Buffs' game at UCLA on Saturday and said he can't wait to get on the field. He's a firm commit to CU.
SignalSCV.com: "We're like adversity magnets," said Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay. "We came out flat, but I'm proud of how we turned it around and stepped it up in the second half."
Canyon Country coach Rich Gutierrez on his QB: "He's phenomenal. He's untouchable. He plays lights out every week. I couldn't be more blessed to have a young man like that lead this team, not just one side of the ball, but the (entire) team."
Apsay senior stats: 2,517 yards passing (65 percent completion rate), 22 touchdowns, five interceptions with 88 carries for 350 yards and three touchdowns.
5. Rick Gamboa, LB, Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.)
Chaminade obliterated Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) 73-0 to up its record to 7-2. Rick Gamboa returned an interception for a touchdown, but it was called back. The future Buffs linebacker was selected to play in the West Coast Bowl, an All-Star game scheduled for Jan. 20. Gamboa is firm in his commitment to the Buffs.
Colorado 2014 target Donovan Lee had a big game against Harvard-Westlake, scoring on three of his seven carries. Gamboa, Lee and the Eagles wrap up their regular season on Friday at 8-1 St. Francis (La Canada, Calif.). It should be a great game.
6. Zach Brown, DE/LB, Patrick Henry (San Diego, Calif.)
Good news and bad news. Good news: Zach Brown's Patrick Henry team picked up its first true victory of the season. Bad news: Brown is no longer firm in his commitment to CU and he's deciding between joining the Buffs or being a Spartan at San Jose State.
Patrick Henry rolled over winless San Diego High School 49-0 and could make it two in a row on Saturday against 3-6 Morse (San Diego). Maxpreps.com lists Patrick Henry's loss to Hoover on Oct. 25 as a win by forfeit despite Brown's team falling 28-13. According to the website, the Patriots are 2-7.
7. Dylan Keeney, TE/D, Granite Bay (Calif.)
Granite Bay cruised past Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.) 35-7 to up its record to 6-3. Dylan Keeney had another strong outing for the Grizzlies, pulling in three catches for 62 yards and touchdown.
Granite Bay finishes its regular season with a conference battle against 0-9 Nevada Union (Grass Valley, Calif.). There hasn't been anything to make Buffs fans believe Keeney has wavered in his commitment, so let's list him as a "firm."
Keeney senior stats: 26 catches for 631 yards (24.26 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns.
8. Evan White, S, Cherokee Trail (Aurora)
Evan White and the Cherokee Trail Cougars (8-2) started the 5A playoffs in fine fashion, downing Arvada West 40-14. Maxpreps.com credits White with a touchdown in the victory. White's No. 6-seed Cougars take on 11-seed Mountain Range on Saturday night in the second round of the 5A playoffs. A victory over Mountain Range would set up a showdown with Cherry Creek. White's commitment hasn't been questioned, another firm for #CUin14, and a needed safety for the recruiting class.
9. Eddy Lopez, DT, Coronado (El Paso)
Eddy Lopez and the Coronado Thunderbirds held on for a 24-23 victory over Mountwood (El Paso). Lopez was credited with four solo tackles and two assists as his team moved to 7-2. Coronado wraps up its regular season on Thursday against 2-7 Bel Air (El Paso).
While Texas is reportedly interested in the Colorado commit - Lopez was at the Longhorns' game last weekend - the defensive lineman is likely to land with the Buffs. Firm commitment until otherwise noted.
Lopez senior stats: 37 solo tackles, 24 assists, nine tackles for a loss and four sacks.
10. Jase Franke, DE, St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
St. Bonaventure is in the playoffs after a 38-6 win over Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.). Jase Franke's Seraphs took care of business, improving to 6-3. Playoff seeding is on the line when St. Bonaventure goes to Agoura (Calif.) on Friday.
11. Sam Bennion, DE, Logan (Utah)
Logan held on in the first round of Utah's 4A playoffs, downing Bountiful 22-17. Sam Bennion's Grizzlies are a perfect 11-0 this season. Bennion recorded seven solo tackles and an assist to go with a half sack in the win. Bennion's No. 1-seed Grizzlies get 10-1 Olympus (Salt Lake City) in the quarterfinals on Friday. It's going to get tough from here on out for Logan. Bennion is still a firm commitment to CU.
Bennion senior stats: 37 solo tackles, 24 assists and eight and a half sacks.
12. Elijah Rodriguez, OL, Cypress Creek (Houston)
It keeps getting worse for Elijah Rodriguez and the Cypress Creek Cougars. Cy-Creek dropped its fifth straight, falling 21-14 to Cy-Woods. The 4-5 Cougars hope to finish the regular season at .500 on Friday against Cy-Fair. It'll be tough as Cy-Fair is 8-1.
While there were rumors of LSU interest in Rodriguez earlier this season, he appears to still be a firm CU commit. Colorado hopes to land a letter of intent with the issues on its offensive line.
13. Christian Shaver, DE, Jordan (Sandy, Utah)
The Jordan Beetdiggers got a huge win in the first round of Utah's 5A playoffs, pounding Hunter (West Valley City) 56-28 to advance. Christian Shaver was credited with two solo tackles and two assists in the postseason victory. The 'Diggers have a tall test on Friday against 9-2 Pleasant Grove. Shaver is another future Buff whose commitment is firm.
Shaver senior stats: 33 solo tackles, 12 assists and four and a half sacks.
14. Jomon Dotson, RB, American Canyon (Calif.)
Jomon Dotson returned to action for American Canyon after sitting out last week to rest. The running back carried the ball 22 times for 86 yards in a 35-7 victory over rival Bethel (Vallejo, Calif.) to clinch a share of the conference crown.
Dotson failed to find the end zone, so his school record for rushing touchdowns (24) stands for another week. 8-1 American Canyon concludes regular season play at 7-2 Benicia on Friday. Dotson's Wolves seem primed for a deep playoff run.
Washington was at the Bethel game to scout CU's commit. As previously reported here, the Huskies are chasing Dotson as a defender. Until something changes, Dotson is firm in his commitment and has the potential to add needed speed to the Buffs' attack.
Dotson senior stats: 138 carries, 1,497 yards (10.85 yards per carry), 23 touchdowns and eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.