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CU Buffs football notes: Mel Tucker praises behind-the-scenes work in recruiting

Coach felt staff was ‘very efficient’ in putting together 2020 class

BOULDER, CO – OCTOBER 25, 2019: Colorado Head Coach, Mel Tucker, and the Buff players arrive for the University of Colorado and Southern California football game on October 25, 2019. (photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Colorado football coaches are back on the road this week, putting the finishing touches on the 2020 recruiting class, while also focusing on those in 2021 and 2022.

While it is the coaches who make the visits and do what they can to bring top players to Boulder, Buffaloes head coach Mel Tucker said it’s the behind the scenes work that makes the process go.

“I thought the staff did a really nice job,” Tucker said.

Tucker highlighted Cymone George, the Buffs’ director of football recruiting who handles a lot of the on-campus details with recruiting; and Geoff Martzen, who helps to organize the travel and visit schedules. There are several other people on staff who play key roles, as well.

“We were very efficient,” Tucker said of the process to put together the 2020 class. “There was a lot of work put in to make sure we maximized our opportunities, whether they were on-campus visits, unofficial visits, official visits. Going on the road during the season, when we use those evaluation days. I thought Geoff did a really good job mapping stuff out. We hit the road recruiting and we were humming pretty good.

“All the pre-work, our travel was super organized.”

With a full team of people contributing, CU has compiled a recruiting class that ranks among the top 40 in the country by 247Sports.com and Rivals.com.

“It’s a strong class,” Tucker said. “All these guys we signed we feel like are going to be able to come in and compete right away for playing time.

“We had at least a year – with some of these guys longer than that – to evaluate them and recruit them and we were very deliberate about the guys that we targeted and the guys that we ultimately ended up signing. They were all guys that we were all-in on and happy to get them.”

Time will tell if the class pans out on the field, but the efforts of the staff have produced immediate results.

“You probably have to look back maybe three years from now on how good of a class it really is, but I thought the staff did a really nice job,” Tucker said.

Recruiting battles

Several of CU’s 2020 signees were heavily pursued by other Power 5 programs, even down to the final hours before letters of intent were submitted.

With the regular signing period set to begin on Feb. 5, the Buffs have more battles upcoming. Running back Ashaad Clayton, from New Orleans, committed to CU in November, but visited Kansas in December and has a visit lined up with Florida this week. LSU is also on Clayton’s radar.

The Buffs are also trying to sign safety William Anglen, from Cleveland. He is set to visit CU this weekend, but is also considering Cincinnati.

Tucker is used to heated recruiting battles, though, after working at Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and other schools over the years.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” Tucker said. “That’s what happens when you’re recruiting guys that other people want.

“I like it because it’s competition and I like to recruit. I know that’s how you improve your team and get to where you want to get to, ultimately, at the championship level. You’ve got to have lots of really good players.”

Extra work for Perry

With Davion Taylor graduating, rising sophomore Mark Perry is slated to take over the star position in the Buffs defense.

As a true freshman last season, Perry learned the position from coaches and Taylor, while getting his feet wet on the field, recording 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups in 196 defensive snaps.

“The development of Mark Perry at the star position was huge for us,” Tucker said. “Of the guys that are coming back, he’s shown that he can play the position effectively.”

That won’t be Perry’s only job next season, however. Signed as a safety, he’ll add those duties, as well.

“He’s going to have to learn two positions,” Tucker said.

The Buffs lack depth at safety, but do return starter Derrion Rakestraw, who will be a senior. Former cornerback Trey Udoffia is a senior, while Isaiah Lewis is a junior, but they combined for just 22 defensive snaps last season (all by Lewis).

True freshman Toren Pittman is the only newcomer listed as a safety, but Tucker said, “Some of these guys that on paper have ‘corner” behind their name are probably going to be playing safety. Which one of these guys? I’m not sure yet, but those are some decisions we’re going to have to make.”

Walk-on Brendan Pyne, a graduate transfer from Brown, could factor in at safety or star.

Notable

On Tuesday, the Pac-12 Networks announced a distribution partnership with Vidgo, an internet-based streaming service. The Pac-12 Network will be part of Vidgo’s “core” package. The six regional channels will be available on the “plus” package.