Prior to this month, Zach Courtney had not visited the state of Colorado.
All it took was one weekend to make him feel good about calling it home.
During the first weekend of this month, Courtney and his family took an official visit to the University of Colorado, and the 6-foot-6, 248-pound tight end from Post, Texas, concluded the trip by giving his verbal commitment to the Buffaloes’ football program for the class of 2022.
“It’s a relief honestly,” he said of his decision. “Having that meeting with (head coach Karl) Dorrell the second to last day, he made my parents like it a lot and my brother super happy about it,” Courtney said. “He made us all comfortable with me coming here.”
Close to his own family, Courtney said he liked the family atmosphere he felt with CU. The entire visit made a good impression on Courtney, who had CU offensive lineman Austin Johnson as his player host.
“The food was top tier and all the people were super nice to me and the views (of Boulder),” he said of what he liked from the visit. “We did a scavenger hunt and that was awesome.”
While the trip was fun, Courtney was mainly impressed by the future he sees for himself at CU. Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com, Courtney also has offers from BYU, Fresno State and a few other schools.
CU’s commitment to the tight end position stood out.
“It makes me really happy because at my school we don’t really use the tight end as much,” said Courtney, who caught nine passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns last year in 16 games. “We just use them to block and catch a couple passes a year. Looks like (CU uses) them like crazy.”
The Buffs are trending in that direction, anyway.
After several years of rarely using tight ends as weapons, Dorrell, entering his second year, puts a premium on having quality tight ends.
Currently, CU has one of the best tight ends in the Pac-12 with junior Brady Russell. Senior Matt Lynch, a former UCLA quarterback, is also projected to play a lot for the Buffs this year.
Beyond that, however, the Buffs are very young at the position, but adding to the depth has been emphasized. Of the 11 tight ends currently on the roster (including eight on scholarship), only three were on the roster as tight ends when Dorrell was hired nearly 16 months ago.
Dorrell has signed two high school tight ends, added Lynch and another walk-on as transfers and moved two players from defense. In addition, the Buffs have two freshmen who were signed by previous head coach Mel Tucker.
Courtney is eager to join the mix in the fall of 2022 and can’t wait to use all of his skills to help the Buffs.
“(I like) throwing people down and getting the ball every once in a while,” he said. “They said they needed a Y and I can be that position.”
At Post, Courtney helped the Antelopes go 15-1 last year, losing in the state championship game. With 18 seniors graduating from that state runner-up team, though, Courtney said he’s looking forward to being a leader this fall and making the most of his final season of prep football before joining the Buffs.
“I’m just working out and getting ready, trying to lead my young team and teach them,” he said.