Two games remain on Colorado’s football schedule, but first-year head coach Mel Tucker always has an eye on the Buffaloes’ future, as well.
“It never stops,” he said.
CU (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) wrapped up bye week practices on Thursday and then sent several coaches on the road to recruit.
“We’ve got five coaches out and we’ll hit a couple of states and will probably hit 18 to 20 schools and go to several games,” Tucker said. “I’ll be heading out this evening myself and so we’re looking for the best student athletes for Buff nation.”
The early signing period for the class of 2020 runs from Dec. 18-20 and the Buffs have 20 players verbally committed at this point. It’s not just seniors they are working on, though.
“This is a very important stretch for us to close,” Tucker said. “We’ve done well and we’re on the right track, but we have to continue to work and it’s not just the ’20 class, but also the ’21 class and the ’22 class.”
Tucker and his staff continue to put an emphasis on in-state recruits. Although only one 2020 commit is from Colorado (Cherry Creek offensive lineman Carson Lee), the Buffs are looking at younger talent in the state. Palmer Ridge star Kaden Dudley is already committed to CU for the 2021 class.
“That’s been a focus of ours is to keep our best players here at home to the best of our ability,” Tucker said. “We’ve been very aggressive with early offers, identifying and evaluating players that we know they can help us be the type of program that we need to be, so that’s a huge goal of ours is to keep our best players at home.”
Overall, Tucker said the message by his staff has been well received.
“It’s been positive so far with the high school coaches, the student athletes and their parents,” he said.
Tucker came away from Thursday’s practice pleased with the work done by the Buffs this week.
“Our building has been giving tremendous effort this week just in all areas,” he said. “It’s really been a lot of focus and just very goal oriented, in terms of what we have to get done this week. I thought we made the best use of our time.”
CU spent part of the week developing younger players and resting some players with injuries, but also began preparations for the Nov. 23 home finale against Washington.
“Early in the week, the focus has been more on improving the entire roster and with the emphasis towards the end of practice on the younger players and some of the backups to really put the pads on with those guys and try to get a little bit more physicality and work on those types of things to develop them and get them ready for the rest of the season and beyond,” Tucker said. “Then towards the end of the week, we start to look a little bit further towards Washington.”
CU players have started to get and accept invitations to postseason all-star games. Linebacker Davion Taylor has accepted a spot at the Senior Bowl, while quarterback Steven Montez has accepted an invitation for the Shrine Bowl. He was also invited to the Hula Bowl.
The postseason games are always opportunities to play in front of NFL scouts.
“I’m really happy for those guys because they work really hard,” Tucker said. “It’s just a recognition that they’re good players and that they’re going to get a strong look from the NFL.”
Tucker praised senior punter Alex Kinney for doing “everything right, all the time. He’s very consistent; he’s business like; he has a professional demeanor and so now that’s reflected on how he plays on game day. You know what you’re going to get from him every single time.” … CU will take the weekend off before returning to practice Monday.