During the past 14 months, Colorado players and recruits have bought into the vision Mel Tucker had for the future of the program.
Now, many of those players were left wondering about their own futures after Tucker decided Tuesday night to leave the Buffaloes after just one year to become the head coach at Michigan State.
“I’m shocked. I really am,” safety Mark Perry, who will be a sophomore next season, said when reached by Buffzone.com. “A year ago, I trusted coach Tuck, thinking he’d be here for a while and I bought into the vision for not only me but the program.”
Tucker did not meet with the players on his way out, but athletic director Rick George held a meeting with the team on Wednesday morning.
“I’d probably say somber,” George said of the mood of the players. “I know they enjoyed playing for coach Tucker. My message to them was we’ve got an incredible opportunity here to do really some significant things. We need them to stick together and have confidence that we know what we’re doing and where we’re going and we will hire somebody that they will appreciate and respect and want to play for. We’ll do that as quickly as we possibly can.”
Current players and recruits, who recently signed letters of intent for the 2020 class, reacted on Twitter late Tuesday and throughout Wednesday.
Perry, who signed with CU as part of the 2019 class, was one of several young players to join the program in part because of Tucker.
Now that Tucker appears to be leaving, Perry said, “We’re all kind of stuck right now.”
Several other players responded to the report on Twitter, including running back Ashaad Clayton, a four-star recruit from New Orleans who signed his letter of intent with CU on Feb. 5.
“I hate being lied to,” Clayton tweeted Wednesday morning. “Especially when you look me in the eye.”
Clayton, who picked CU over Florida, Kansas and other schools, later tweeted that he loves Buff Nation and added, “For the outsiders, I did not sign to Colorado for coach Tuck. I did it for me and my future, to put myself in the best position, of course the (people) are gonna have irrelevant things to say, but don’t speak on a situation you don’t know. I wish coach Tuck and his family the best.”
Receivers Keith Miller III and Montana Lemonious-Craig and defensive back Christian Gonzalez were also among the 2020 recruits to post that they are sticking with CU.
Other reactions on Twitter …
Receiver KD Nixon: “Man tell me this can’t be true …”
Running back Jaren Mangham: “I stopped believing in a mans words a long time ago … not gone change my goals and aspirations”
Running back Joe Davis: “Can’t believe this.. crazy how promises can just be thrown away for some (money). … Stay strong buff nation”
Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon: “I’m typically the one to stay positive. But we really don’t deserve this (stuff).”
Cornerback Chris Miller: “We still gonna shine”
Offensive lineman Jake Wiley: “Not the first time a coach quit on me, gotta ride with my brothers … Time to see what life has next”
Receiver Brenden Rice, who signed with CU in December and is finishing up his senior year of high school: “It’s a business. You also gotta understand the lives you’ve affected. … Blessings to the commits for we don’t know the obstacles that lie in the road ahead.”