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Colorado Buffaloes 2010 First Look: Quarterbacks

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Colorado Buffaloes 2010 First Look: Quarterbacks
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

2010 – Quarterbacks – Returning players / Recruits

First, the numbers.

After having his red-shirt torn off at mid-season for the second year in a row, sophomore Tyler Hansen started the final seven games of the 2009 season. Hansen ended the yeat with 1,440 passing yards, topping junior Cody Hawkins’ 1,277 yards with his 269-yard effort in the finale against Nebraska.

The total team passing yards for the season (2,717) was just seven yards short of the best passing year of the Dan Hawkins’ era (2,724) in 2007.

Hansen was moderately more successful than Hawkins on the much of the stats sheet. Hansen completed 55.8% of his passes, compared to Hawkins’ 50.6% completion percentage. Hansen had a touchdown to interception ratio of eight-to-seven, while Hawkins had 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The more mobile Hansen does not appear so in the final numbers. Hansen was sacked 33 times in his eight appearances, while Hawkins was sacked only 11 times. In games started by Cody Hawkins, the Buffs went 1-4, while Colorado went 2-5 under Tyler Hansen.

Cody Hawkins will be back for his senior season, and, with his father being retained for a fifth year, the fear might be that father Dan might re-open the competiton for the starting quarterback job again this spring.

While the “every job is open” mantra is to be expected (even welcomed) the starting role is Tyler Hansen’s to lose. Hansen improved his play over the course of the season, as the Colorado offense averaged 370 yards/game in the final four games after averaging only 247 yards/game in Hansen’s first three starts.

The Buffs, with an offensive line which never gelled, relied more and more on the passing game late in the season. The Buffs opened the Oklahoma State game with 13 straight passes; the pass/run ratio in the finale against Nebraska was 44/28.

What’s more, there is reason to believe that the passing game may become more of the focus of the offense in 2010.

The entire wide receiver corps returns next fall, supplemented by transfer Toney Clemons, returning former starter Kendrick Celestine, as well as red-shirt freshmen Jarrod Darden and Terdema Ussery.

 

So, will there be a quarterback controversy in 2010?

Perhaps, but it may not be the battle you have seen the past two years.

Yes, senior-to-be Cody Hawkins will be given every opportunity to win back the starting position.

Hawkins is, after all, in the top five in every major passing statistical category in Colorado history, including first in touchdown passes (46), second in pass attempts (983) and completions (543), and third in passing yards (5,862).

Of course, Cody is also first in career interceptions (36), and the Buffs have never been able to put together a successful run with Cody at the helm (a three-game winning streak to start the 2008 season notwithstanding).

So, if not Cody, who will challenge Tyler Hansen for the starting position?

Remember Clark Evans ?

Clark Evans was a 2009 recruit, and sat out his red-shirt season this past fall. Evans was the 25th-ranked quarterback in the 2009 class, a 6′5″, 230-pound dual-threat player from Los Alamitos, Calif.

In his senior year in high school, Evans was the MVP of his prep league, throwing for 2,173 yards, running for 840 yards, and accounting for 37 touchdowns overall.

Remember Josh Moten ?

Josh Moten was another 2009 recruit, but was not engrossing himself in the Buffs’ system this past fall. There were issues with Moten’s test scores last summer, and the Harbor City, Calif., recruit was not allowed to enroll at Colorado.

Moten re-took his tests, has been accepted at CU, and will enroll in January. “I’m really excited,” said Moten. “I’m happy it’s over and I can get up there and help my teammates.”

Moten is 6′1″, 180 pounds, and, like Evans, was the MVP of his prep league. Moten threw for 2,741 yards and 26 touchdowns his senior year, running for another 500 yards.

There is also a walk-on quarterback, Seth Lobato , from Eaton, Colo. Lobato was a true freshman this past season, and was actually the back-up quarterback on the depth chart early in the season, when the pre-season announcement that Tyler Hansen would red-shirt in 2009 was still in effect (Another freshman quarterback walk-on, Jerry Slota , will not be returning to Colorado in 2010).

 

2010 Recruiting class

There are two quarterbacks already on the Colorado 2010 recruiting list, Nick Hirschman and Munchie Legaux .

Nick Hirschman committed back in June, when “ten wins, no excuses” was still a possibility for 2009. Hirschman is 6′2″, 212 pounds, and played for Los Gatos High in California.

As a senior, Hirschman threw 22 touchdowns (and no interceptions) in his first seven games in a pro-style offense. Hirschman led his team to a 7-3 regular season record, and then dominated in the playoffs.

Los Gatos won its first two playoff games by a combined score of 93-6. In a 45-6 thrashing of Aragon in the Central Coast Division II playoffs, Hirschman went 11-of-17 for 286 yards and two touchdowns in limited playing time.

In the finals against Wilcox, Hirschman led the Wildcats to a 20-19 victory in overtime. The three-star college prospect hit Jake Hackman-Salazar for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the seven yard line, with the extra point giving Los Gatos the championship.

“They out-played us most of the game,” said Los Gatos head coach Butch Cattolico. “Hirschman has been our team all year, and he came through when we needed him again.”

Hirschman went 14-of-25 for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the title game, which included a 70-yard drive in the final three minutes to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

Munchie Legaux is a different type of quarterback than Hirschman, but has also been a success on the field. Legaux is 6′4″, 185 pounds, runs a 4.6 40, and is considered to be the 12th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation (Rivals).

Playing at Edna Karr Magnet School in New Orleans, Legaux committed, along with teammate Keenan Canty (a wide receiver prospect) after a trip to Boulder for the Missouri game.

In a 4A regional playoff victory over Vandebilt, Legaux was a star, leading the Cougars to a 46-9 victory. Legaux threw only 15 passes, but he hit on nine of them for 151 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 100 yards and two more scores.

Unfortunately, the following weekend, Edna Karr High met its match, falling in overtime to Salmen in the state quarterfinals, 25-24.

Legaux scored for the Cougars in overtime, but the extra point was blocked, setting the stage for the one-point loss. Legaux went 9-for-22 for 107 yards in his final high school game.

 

Any other prospects for the 2010 recruiting class?

No, and that’s probably a good thing. With the senior Hawkins, junior Hansen, red-shirt freshman Evans, and true freshmen Hirschman and Legaux, the Buffs will have six scholarship quarterbacks.

Most teams keep five, and, with Hawkins the only senior, will not be in dire need of a new quarterback recruit anytime soon. Still, there remains the possibility that one or more of the players may be moved.

Josh Moten is the most likely candidate. “Coach Hawkins said said I can play quarterback if that’s what I really want to do,” said Moten. “But if me switching to another position is going to boost the team, then I am going to go for it. I could play receiver or defensive back.”

 

Up next week:  The running backs.

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