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Signing day a quiet day for CU Buffs

Karl Dorrell doesn’t add any recruits to class

BOULDER, CO – October 13, 2020:  Head coach Karl Dorrell during Colorado football practice. (Courtesy photo/University of Colorado)
CU Athletics
BOULDER, CO – October 13, 2020: Head coach Karl Dorrell during Colorado football practice. (Courtesy photo/University of Colorado)

For decades, the first Wednesday in February has been somewhat of a holiday in the college and high school football world.

National signing day has been a big deal going back to 1982 – the first year that the NCAA instituted one signing period for all football recruits. (Prior to 1982, each conference had signing days, often in December.)

For the Colorado Buffaloes, Wednesday was just another day.

While several teams around the country added to their 2021 recruiting classes on Wednesday, CU did not. It’s believed to be the first time since at least 1982 that CU didn’t add any recruits on a signing day.

CU’s only activity Wednesday was officially announcing the previously reported additions of transfers JT Shrout, a quarterback from Tennessee; and Robert Barnes, a linebacker from Oklahoma. Both are already in school at CU.

Of course, the February signing period isn’t the same as it once was. In 2017, the NCAA began using an early signing period, and that’s when teams collect most of their national letters of intent. On Dec. 16, CU signed 17 players.

Still, Wednesday was quieter than expected for the Buffs.

Outside linebacker T.J. Patu, from La Habra (Calif.) High School, verbally committed to CU in October and had been planning to sign with the Buffs. On Tuesday, however, he announced he was de-committing from CU and opening his recruitment.

Ikechukwu Iwunnah, a defensive tackle from Lakeview Centennial High School in Texas verbally committed to CU just two weeks ago. A three-star recruit, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Iwunnah was given a scholarship offer from Michigan just two days after he committed to CU.

Michigan made a late push for Iwunnah, who flipped to the Wolverines on Wednesday morning and signed his NLI with them.

Another player the Buffs had hoped to land was quarterback Clay Millen, from Mount Si High School in Washington and the son of former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen. Rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com, Millen committed to Arizona in June, but re-opened his recruitment three weeks ago.

CU was interested in Millen before he committed to Arizona and hoped to land him Wednesday. With two freshmen quarterbacks already in the fold at CU – Brendon Lewis and Drew Carter – Millen chose to go elsewhere, however, and announced his commitment to Nevada.

At one point, CU also had defensive tackle Victory Vaka on its commit list. The three-star recruit from Westlake Village (Calif.) High School de-committed on Jan. 19, which was the day Iwunnah committed.

Punter Ashton Logan, from Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High School, has been verbally committed to CU since September and was originally expected to sign Wednesday. CU is looking to delay his enrollment until January of 2022, however, so he has not signed.

Although Wednesday was quiet, CU may not be done adding players for the 2021 roster.

In addition to the 17 players signed in December, CU has brought in two transfers –Shrout and Barnes – and is likely to be more active on the transfer market. CU could potentially add three or four more transfers this winter and spring, according to sources.

With three seniors taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility, the Buffs can have up to 88 scholarship players next year. Currently, CU has 90 projected scholarship players for 2021, although there is typically some attrition during the spring and summer.

Former Buff receives grant

Bryce Bobo, a CU receiver from 2013-17, has been awarded an NCAA Division I Degree Completion Award, the first Buff to earn the grant. The program provides funds for student-athletes needing financial assistance to complete their degrees.

Bobo put his degree on hold in the spring of 2018 to pursue a pro football career and wound up signing as a free agent with the Denver Broncos. He also spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos, but has retired from football.

A sociology major, he needs 15 credit hours to complete his degree and plans to graduate in August.

“It’s very important, and now that I have a daughter (Saaige), I want to be able to show her that if you’re going to start something in life, you need to finish it – like going to college and getting your degree,” Bobo said.

Bobo ranks seventh in CU history in career catches (150) and 12th in receiving yards (1,638).

Note

Former CU running back Jaren Mangham has found a new home. On Wednesday, he announced his commitment to South Florida. Mangham rushed for 476 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons with the Buffs, piling up most of that in 2019. … Three players who have left CU as transfers this winter were officially announced at their new schools on Wednesday: defensive end Jason Harris (Arizona), quarterback Tyler Lytle (Massachusetts) and receiver KD Nixon (Southern California). … With safety Derrion Rakestraw going to Tulane, CU has three transfers still looking for new teams: linebacker Akil Jones and defensive backs William Anglen and KJ Trujillo.