In the battle of the trenches, the University of Colorado is winning the state recruiting war to land big men.
The Buffaloes have two of the state's top homegrown offensive linemen — Isaiah Holland and Isaac Miller — entering as freshmen in the fall, and another pair — Tim Lynott and Dillon Middlemiss — orally committed to CU for 2015.
"I love the (CU) coaches," Lynott said. "I also felt like the program is heading in the right direction. But most of all I wanted to play for and represent my home state."
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Regis Jesuit senior-to-be is a highly sought athlete, receiving a dozen scholarship offers that included schools such as Arizona State, Kansas State and Oregon. But he said "it felt right being close to home." He committed to CU last month.
Middlemiss, heading into his senior season at Pomona, grew up a CU fan, so it was a no-brainer when he made his pledge in April.
"I was extremely excited when I heard that Lynott committed to CU," Middlemiss said. "I'm definitely excited to keep the offensive line from Colorado."
Holland, an All-Colorado selection who helped Valor Christian win the Class 5A state title in 2013, is following in his family's legacy. His father, Darius, was a defensive tackle for the Buffs in the 1990s and played in the NFL for a decade.
Miller, another All-Colorado selection, attended Silver Creek in Longmont. The 6-7, 250-pounder was CU coach Mike MacIntyre's first oral commitment for the class of 2014.
Former CU and Broncos lineman Matt McChesney said it's a good change of pace to see the Buffaloes' coaches emphasize signing area players.
For several years, he said, CU and Colorado State appeared to wait for bigger schools to target area athletes before making a move.
"There's a lot of kids in the state that could play," said McChesney, who owns Six Zero Strength & Fitness and trains young athletes. "There are so many Colorado kids that should be at Colorado or Colorado State."
CU is hoping that its area recruits will rise to the level of former area linemen Nate Solder (Buena Vista) and Ryan Miller (Columbine). Both are playing in the NFL after starring for the Buffs.
But getting the program back to a bowl game — something that hasn't happened since 2007 — is vital.
"The program's going to turn around really well," Lynott said. "Coach MacIntyre is putting the program in the right direction."
Big men on campus
Colorado's locally grown offensive linemen:
Ed Caldwell, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, So., Highlands Ranch
Isaiah Holland, 6-4, 320, Fr., Valor Christian
John Lisella II, 6-4, 265, So., Columbine
Tim Lynott*, 6-4, 295, HS, Regis Jesuit
Dillon Middlemiss*, 6-5, 275, HS, Pomona
Isaac Miller, 6-7, 250, Fr., Silver Creek
Marc Mustoe, 6-7, 290, Jr., Arvada West
*Oral commitment. Player still in high school.