The Colorado football team will sign the majority of its 2018 class to letters of intent on Wednesday.
One player on CU’s radar who won’t be signing this week is guard Chris Murray, a four-star prospect from powerhouse Mater Dei (Calif.) High School.
Murray, who helped Mater Dei — ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps.com — win the California state title last week, will wait until the regular signing period on Feb. 7 to make his choice official, but CU is very much in the mix.
“I had a great time when I was up there,” said Murray, who took an official visit to CU on Dec. 8. “That was probably one of my favorite officials, just because we packed so much into one weekend. I was able to see everything I wanted to see and get a lot of my questions answered.”
Players are allowed to take five official visits. Murray has also been to Notre Dame, Arizona and Utah, while Stanford and UCLA remain high on his list. He plans to announce his final decision during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 6.
“Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA and Colorado are kind of my top right now,” he said. “In these next two weeks, since my season is over, I can focus on what’s best for me and I’m going to release a top four on Dec. 31, when I go up to the Army game and I’ll be able to commit from there.”
While it’s been reported that Murray is almost a lock to go to Stanford if he is admitted, he said that’s not necessarily the case, especially after Cardinal offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren left earlier this month to take the head coaching job at Rice.
“Coach Bloom left from Stanford and that kind of raised some questions for me,” Murray said. “It’s not where I’m waiting to get in (to Stanford); I’m just still in my decision making (process). I’m not just sold on that one school, because of my (interest) with Notre Dame, Colorado and UCLA.”
In making his decision, Murray said he wants a school that will play the best players and not defer to seniority. He also wants a place “where I can feel like I’m at home,” and have a great connection with the coaches, “where I know they can develop me into the man and the player that I want to be.”
That’s part of why he enjoyed his visit to CU so much.
Murray said he developed a good relationship with head coach Mike MacIntyre and co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Klayton Adams.
“(MacIntyre) is very outgoing and calm to talk to,” Murray said. “Football came up a couple of times, but most of the time we were just talking about how my life is going, how school is going and my grades. He’s a very good family man and I could tell by just having a couple minutes with him.”
Murray has really connected with Adams and spoke at length about his time with the Buffs’ line coach. He said he especially enjoyed talking about tendencies and the nuances of playing the offensive line with Adams, who played center at Boise State.
“Me and (Adams) had a lot of one-on-one time; a lot of one-on-one time in the film room, which I liked particularly,” he said. “The most of all the officials I’ve been on, we were able to just sit down and kind of see the drills he takes all the linemen through. He clearly showed me the depth chart. Some coaches avoid the depth chart, but he went in depth with it: who is leaving, who is coming back. I like that a lot.
“Coach Adams is a guy that you know he’s going to play the best five regardless. Even if they had playing time last year or started, he wants the best five linemen in front.”
Also on Murray’s trip were nine players already committed to CU, including linebacker Clyde Moore. Murray and Moore have been close friends since they were teammates at Mater Dei for two seasons.
“It will help with the transition going from high school, having a friend with me, but that’s not too big of a factor,” he said. “But, it’s something that does stick out that I could possibly be playing with one of my best friends.”
Ultimately, Murray said he will choose a school that he feels is the best fit, and he’s enjoyed the process of figuring out where he’ll spend the next several years of his life.
“This has probably been some of the best times of my life,” he said. “This is a big decision in my life, but I’m not letting it worry me or stress me out. I’ve been taking it slow and on my own time and me and my family are glad that it’s almost over.”