CU football: Moschetti connection could boost Buffs recruiting

Seemingly every day, Keanu Saleapaga has 10 schools calling him, hoping he will play football for their programs.

While most of those schools aren’t getting past the phone call stage, Colorado is getting the first opportunity to bring the La Mirada (Calif.) High School prospect on campus.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Saleapaga will be in Boulder on Friday to check out the school his high school coach once called home.

“He’s only taking two trips and Colorado is one of the choices,” said Mike Moschetti, who quarterbacked at CU in 1998 and 1999 and is now the head coach at La Mirada. “Everybody in the country is trying to get in on him. The positive – I’m really excited about this – is one of the few choices is going to be Colorado.

“I think it’s important for him and his family to get to Boulder and see the new facilities and sit down with the coaches and be around the players, and I feel pretty good about him possibly going there.”

According to Moschetti, Saleapaga will make just one more official visit, next week, but he hasn’t decided where to go. He’s debating among several schools for the final visit, including BYU, Arizona and Arizona State. Moschetti said South Carolina wants Saleapaga, and Ole Miss visited him Thursday.

“In my mind, that’s a real positive that he wants to go to Colorado first,” Moschetti said. “He’s everything that you look for in a defensive end.”

Moschetti is obviously biased toward a player he coached, but he’s also a Buff, and said he believes Saleapaga can be a great player in Boulder.

“They need dominant guys that can play on defense right now,” Moschetti said. “He’s a kid that could come in as a true freshman and he’ll contribute and he’ll play.”

Moschetti said he believes Saleapaga, a three-star prospect who de-committed from USC earlier this month, could be a great player as an end, or by bulking up and playing inside at defensive tackle.

Moschetti has not sent a La Mirada player to CU since running back Justin Torres in 2010, although the Buffs were in the running a year ago for Tony Brown, who chose Texas Tech over CU. A big reason for Brown going to Tech was the relationship he built with Darrin Chiaverini, who is now the co-offensive coordinator at CU.

A year from now, Moschetti would like to see three more of his players in Boulder. Recently, the Buffs gave scholarship to offers to three-star tight end Sire Woods, linebacker Chase Newman and athlete Elijah Hicks. All three are part of the 2017 recruiting class.

“I’m selfish. I want them all to go to Colorado and turn this thing around and win a national championship,” Moschetti said. “Colorado is the first school I contact, because I believe in it. Colorado made me the man I am today. You just have to get across to these kids that they have great tradition. We just have to get these kids to get out there and see it.”

CU was the second school to offer Woods and the first to offer Newman and Hicks.

“That’s going to mean a lot to the kids that the first school that believed in them and recruited them was Colorado,” Moschetti said. “I think that’s very important.”


Linebacker Drew Lewis and receiver Juwann Winfree, both from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, are visiting this weekend, according to Winfree is a four-star recruit who has already verbally committed to Pittsburgh. Lewis visited Utah State last week and will visit Memphis next week. … A week ago, the Buffs had 13 players visit. … lists Cottonwood Senior (Utah) High teammates Pookie Maka and Fua Pututau as scheduled visitors for Jan. 29. Maka is a linebacker and Pututau a defensive end.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or