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Demetrice Martin has developed a reputation for being a strong recruiter, in part because that aspect of his job allows him to show his personality.

Colorado’s first-year cornerbacks coach is learning to adapt to a new way of recruiting, however.

Colorado cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin.

Like all coaches around the country, Martin and the rest of the CU football staff is figuring out how to recruit virtually – utilizing Zoom and FaceTime more than ever before because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has changed the game a little bit. Well, a lot bit, because the simple fact that it’s hard for me,” Martin said. “I kind of wear my feelings on my sleeve as a recruiter and a coach. So it’s kind of hard for me because I haven’t got the chance to really evaluate certain guys as much as I wanted to as far as in person and seeing them. You have to go by other avenues as far as watching a lot of extra film on guys and hopefully guys are posting workouts that they did in different places with different things.”

Martin isn’t alone in preferring actual in-person visits with recruits and their families, but coaches, many of whom didn’t use Zoom before COVID-19, are learning to adapt to a new way of recruiting, which includes virtual campus tours. The virtual tours aren’t quite the same, however.

“I feel like we’ve caught up (on recruiting virtually), but … everybody kind of to a tee says, ‘Yeah I’d like to see the place,’” Buffs quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf said. “I think the advantage for some of these kids that have committed is they have been on the campus, they’ve been to a game, they’ve been able to meet the staff in person, see the facilities.

“I think we are at a pretty big disadvantage in that sense because even the guys we’re talking to, it’s kind of the same thing: ‘I can’t wait to see it.’ I think some guys aren’t real comfortable making a decision until they do meet you face to face and see the campus.”

At some point, official visits are likely to be allowed again, but virtual tours could remain a part of the process, particularly for a recruit who can’t get to Boulder.

“If it does stick around longer, I think we would be fine with that because of our usage and our experience on it right now,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “We’ve had really, really good feedback on all of our virtual visits.”

While not ideal, Martin said he’s managed to develop good relationships with recruits and their families virtually.

“It’s a lot easier to tap in and lock in with the guys and their parents,” he said. “As long as I’m having conversation and we’re talking and we’re developing relationships, whatever it takes.”

Prep work

To this point, Dorrell, his staff and the players have done their work together virtually. The players have done some on-the-field work on their own or in small groups, however.

“They’re already doing that with their own initiative,” Dorrell said. “They’re throwing  passes and getting some work in, so that is encouraged, there’s no question. We know that it’s a voluntary timeframe, but I think since we did miss spring practice and I am new and the season’s almost here – it’s going to be here before you know it – I think there is a sense of urgency that our players have kind of embraced about, ‘Let’s get going.’

“(Coaches) can’t direct those things, we can’t be present at those things, but they do have the product that’s needed. If they need footballs and  cones and things like that, we’re able to supply those things for them.”

Options at Star

Last year, Davion Taylor excelled in the “Star” position on the Buffs’ defense, recording 69 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and seven pass breakups and becoming a third-round draft pick of the Philadephis Eagles in April.

Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers said there are several players that could fill that spot this year, including sophomore safety Mark Perry, junior cornerback/safety Chris Miller and Jaylen Striker, a sophomore cornerback signed from Independence (Kan.) Community College.

“We’re looking for a Star that can really be a guy that we feel like is dynamic as a coverage guy and has the ability to be able to pressure quarterbacks, as well, and be very stout in the run game,” Summers said. “It is a position that you are looking for a very specific person to be able to do and there’s a lot that comes with it.

“That’s the beauty of playing in this system is being able to find guys and recruit guys that you feel like fit in that. We feel like we’ve done that, with Mark and Jaylen and obviously the opportunity to have Chris learn that, as well.”

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