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Palmer Ridge duo excited for future with CU Buffs

Anthony Costanzo, Kaden Dudley both committed to Colorado

Brian Howell, Buffzone
Palmer Ridge High School standouts Kaden Dudley, left, and Anthony Costanzo are committed to play football at Colorado. Dudley is CU’s lone commit for 2021, while Costanzo is committed for 2022.

Sitting in an office at SixZero Strength and Fitness last week, Anthony Costanzo and Kaden Dudley both smiled a bit as coach Matt McChesney raved about the duo.

“I have a feeling that at some point you’re going to be looking at the two all-conference safeties in the Pac-12 playing in the same backfield,” McChesney said as he walked out of the room. “I think it’s going to be nasty.”

That would be a dream come true for Costanzo and Dudley, best friends who led Palmer Ridge High School to a third consecutive Class 3A state title last fall. Or maybe they’ll be a nasty duo at receiver.

Regardless of what positions they play, Costanzo and Dudley are future Colorado Buffaloes and excited about what lies ahead.

Dudley, a rising senior at Palmer Ridge, is currently the lone player verbally committed to CU for the class of 2021. Costanzo, a rising junior, is the Buffs’ lone commit for 2022.

“It was pretty exciting,” said Costanzo, who committed to CU on Nov. 22, about a month after Dudley gave his pledge to the Buffs. “Especially being the first in my class to go forward with it. For me it was pretty big.

“(Dudley committing) definitely boosted it for sure. He definitely led the way for me. When he committed and after being up there a few times, I started to believe in it and I just finally decided for myself I was fully committed to go through with it.”

The two met a few years ago when Costanzo moved from Florida and they’ve been tight ever since.

“We play really well together and especially coming here (to SixZero Strength), it boosts our IQ,” Dudley said. “Having us both in the defensive secondary together, it’s just nasty. It’s unstoppable.

“We’ve played together since sixth grade, so the chemistry is unreal.”

Last season, Dudley caught 35 passes for 794 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding 90 tackles and five interceptions on defense. Costanzo caught 16 passes for 433 yards and eight touchdowns and had 15 tackles and three interceptions on defense.

Costanzo and Dudley both said Buffs head coach Mel Tucker wants them to play defense at CU, while receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini wants them on offense.

There’s plenty of time to figure out where they play, but in the meantime, they are making each other better on both sides of the ball.

“It goes back and forth,” said Costanzo, who prefers to play defense. “There’s certain days where he just can’t gain anything on me, but there are certain days where his routes just get the best of me. It definitely goes back and forth. We’re always competing, grinding every day.”

Their grind took them to Texas this week. On Wednesday, they played on the U.S. National U-17 team against Japan in the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Both continue working out and improving their craft, while aiming for another state championship next fall.

Costanzo and Dudley are also striving to get some of their friends to join them in Boulder.

Dudley, who plans to enroll at CU in January of 2021, is hoping to follow the lead of current Buffs freshman lineman Carson Lee by stepping up as a recruiter for his class. Lee, a Cherry Creek High School graduate who also works out at SixZero, was active on social media and with fellow class of 2020 recruits.

“Carson played a big role in some of the guys that are up there now,” Dudley said. “I think it’s a big deal. I think coach Tucker really appreciates when we help him out like that because it’s more of a connection. We can share our true opinions on how we feel about the school and how we feel about what’s going on up there. Being a recruiter is definitely a big deal.”

It helps that many of the state’s top players work out at SixZero, which allows Dudley and Costanzo to build those relationships with in-state players.

“I think keeping in-state kids in Colorado, it’s a big thing,” Dudley said. “I think if we keep the in-state talent in-state, we’ll be able to compete at a much higher level, instead of these guys leaving and branching out to different schools.”

For Costanzo and Dudley, the choice to commit to CU was easy – not only to stay home, but to play for Tucker.

“Everyone sees his vision,” Costanzo said. “I stand behind him and so does Matt and so do the rest of the coaches. We all believe in what he’s going to do.”