A look at the verbal commitments in Colorado’s 2018 football recruiting class:
RB – Max Borghi, 5-10, 180 (Pomona HS)
OT – Walker Culver, 6-5, 275 (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
ATH – Joshka Gustav, 6-3, 225 (San Bernardino, Calif.)
C – Josh Jynes, 6-3, 310 (DeSoto, Tex.)
S – Ray Robinson, 6-2, 205 (Highlands Ranch HS)
QB – Blake Stenstrom, 6-3, 195 (Valor Christian HS)
While there hasn’t been a whole lot of noise on the recruiting trail lately, the Colorado football program is still riding positive momentum as it works on building its 2018 class.
Six players are already committed for 2018 – two more than at this time last year – and there figures to be plenty more over the next few months.
Now in the middle of the spring evaluation period – which began April 15 and runs through May 31 – CU is aiming to put together another strong class as it continues to build its program.
“We’re a lot farther ahead at this point,” CU co-offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. “We’re headed in the right direction, as far as recruiting goes.”
Last year, the Buffs received a bulk of their verbal commitments over the summer, after the spring evaluation period and summer camps. The hope is that they can do that again.
“This is the perfect time now to go out and see these kids go work out; guys that you offered, guys that maybe you want to offer and you want to see them in person,” Chiaverini said. “This is a very crucial time for us as a staff to get out and watch these kids.”
This time of year will become even more important in the future.
Beginning Aug. 1, the NCAA will adopt some new policies in recruiting, including one that allows recruits to take official visits as early as April 1 of their junior year. Currently, official visits can’t take place until a player is a senior.
For CU, which relies so much on recruiting California and Texas (as well as in-state), the opportunity to get players on campus during the spring and early summer could be crucial.
“I think it’s a great time of the year to be in Boulder, so I think that can be a real benefit for us,” CU athletic director Rick George said.
Stacking the classes
When head coach Mike MacIntyre was hired in December of 2012, one of his top priorities in recruiting was to balance the classes – not only in terms of positional numbers, but to make sure no one graduating class was significantly bigger than another.
MacIntyre and his staff have done that and go into the 2018 cycle looking to continue the trend.
The Buffs are projected to have 17 seniors on scholarship this next season, but figure to have a few others wrapping up their careers. MacIntyre and his staff have established an academic program that helps players earn their degree in three-and-a-half years, so it’s possible that some juniors will also move on, as they did this past season.
“I always want to have around 20 guys graduating every year,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre also wants to make sure every class has four or five junior college transfers who enroll in January, as well as a few high school players who enroll early. This past spring, CU had nine early enrollees (five from high school, four from the JUCO ranks).
Every recruiting class is different, in terms of the positions targeted, and as the Buffs build their 2018 class, they have a few specific areas of need.
Near the top of the list is running back. CU has six running backs on scholarship this season, three of which are seniors. CU already has a commitment from Pomona High School running back Max Borghi, but he won’t be the only back in this class.
“That’s an area that we need to make sure we get a couple of guys,” MacIntyre said.
Chiaverini said tight end and offensive line will also be priorities on offense.
“You always want to be adding offensive linemen, because of injuries and guys sometimes not being able to go,” he said.
One area that won’t be emphasized in this class is receiver. While the Buffs may sign one or two, it’s not a top priority after adding six in the past two classes.
Defensively, the Buffs will likely add four or five defensive backs, while also looking to add depth on the line.
“We have to continue to strengthen our D-line through recruiting,” Chiaverini said. “Whether that’s high school kids or junior college kids, we’ll see how it plays out.”