The Colorado “Semi-Weekly” - Buffs' latest commitments

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The Colorado “Semi-Weekly” - Buffs' latest commitments
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January 3rd

Buffs pick up commitment No. 13

On Sunday, Colorado picked up its 13th known commitment of the 2010 recruiting class, offensive lineman Kaiwi Crabb , from Honolulu, Hawaii. Crabb is 6′4″, 272 pounds, and is considered by Rivals.com to be the 39th-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation.

Crabb has been to camps in Boulder the past two summers, and took his official visit the weekend of the Texas A&M game.

The three-star prospect had offers from several Pac-10 schools, including Washington and Arizona, but was sold on the Colorado coaching staff.

“Definitely, the coaching staff made a difference,” Crabb told BuffStampede.com. “I really like (offensive line) coach (Denver) Johnson. I think he’s a great coach and a great person.”

Crabb becomes the 13th player, and third offensive lineman, of the 2010 Colorado recruiting class, joining junior college transfer Eric Richter , who is already enrolled and will be part of the team for spring practice, and Daniel Munyer , a three-star prospect from Sherman Oaks, California.

As the Buffs lost no senior offensive lineman this fall, Crabb may be the last offensive line recruit Colorado takes this recruiting cycle.

January 1st – Happy New Year!

The North hangs up its cleats

Within a span of 24 hours, the Big 12 North stepped onto the national stage, and quickly receded. With the Holiday Bowl, the Insight Bowl, and the Texas Bowl now assigned to history, Nebraska, Iowa State, and Missouri have joined Colorado, Kansas State and Kansas on the college football sidelines.

Nebraska and Iowa State emerged victorious, while Missouri lost its final game of 2009.

What it all means for 2010 …

Nebraska 33, Arizona 0 – Holiday Bowl

The Cornhuskers completely dominated the Wildcats, posting the first shutout in the 32-year history of the Holiday Bowl (note to Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes: If you wanted to be a serious candidate to follow your father and be the head coach at Texas Tech, you may have wanted to put up something other than a “goose egg” against a Big 12 opponent).

Arizona set several Holiday bowl records for futility.

No team had ever scored fewer than 10 points previously, but Arizona never got close to scoring against Nebraska, mustering only six first downs and 109 yards of offense. Nebraska entered the game ranked 22nd; Arizona 20th, so the game represented the first win by Nebraska over a top 20 team in nine seasons.

What it means for 2010 … Nebraska finished with its first ten win season since 2003, and will end up near the Top 15 in the final polls. Look for the Cornhuskers to start there in 2010.

If there is anything which is a lock for the 2010 preseason magazines, it will be that Nebraska will be picked to win the Big 12 North. Every other team has issues, but Nebraska has solidified its role as the top dog in the division.

In some magazines, Nebraska will be a trendy BCS bowl pick, as the schedule favors such a run. The non-conference schedule includes the likes of I-AA South Dakota State and Western Kentucky (0-12 in 2009, the Hilltoppers first year in 1-A; outscored 475-245).

The road games for Nebraska are manageable – Washington (coming back, but not yet there), Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State (which may suffer the same fall from grace which hit Missouri in 2009 – the talented players on offense are all graduating).

Iowa State 14, Minnesota 13 – Insight.com Bowl

A 14-13 win over Minnesota gave Iowa State a 7-6 record, the first winning season in Ames since 2005.

A year removed from a 2-10 season which witnessed the Cyclones finish on a ten-game losing streak, Iowa State turned things around under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads. Junior quarterback Austen Arnaud threw for 216 yards and ran for another 77 yards in leading the Cyclones, as Rhoads became the first head coach at Iowa State to post a winning record since fabled George Veenker turned the trick in 1931.

It gets even worse for Minnesota. In losing their fourth straight bowl game, the Golden Gophers fell to Iowa State for only third time in 26 meetings - and for the first time since … wait for it … 1898.

What it means for 2010 … Iowa State will certainly get some love in the 2010 preseason magazines after a five win improvement (tied for third in the FBS), but the schedule next season makes any improvement over 2009 unlikely. In addition to the traditional in-state rivalry game against Iowa (in Iowa City), the Cyclones also must play Utah.

In Big 12 play, the Cyclones must play Texas and Oklahoma – on the road – in successive weekends - in October. Another bowl appearance is achievable, but that’s about as much as the fans in Ames can expect.

Navy 35, Missouri 13 – Texas Bowl

Navy ran through, over, and around Missouri in amassing 385 yards rushing in a 35-13 rout.

Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs ran the triple option to perfection, running for 166 yards and three touchdowns, while also passing for 130 yards and another score. Despite having a month to prepare for the Midshipmen’s offensive tactics, the Tigers had no answer for the Navy attack.

Meanwhile, the Missouri offense, with only 19:06 of possession, was held below 32 points for the first time in six games. Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for 291 yards, but was intercepted twice and was sacked four times by a defense which often lined up with only two down linemen.

What it means for 2010 … Missouri finished 2009 with eight wins, but you would be hard pressed to find a Tiger fan doing handstands over this past year.

Without its star offensive players from 2007-08, including quarterback Chase Daniel, tight end Chase Coffman, and all-everything Jeremy Maclin, the Tigers failed to three-peat as Big 12 North champions.

Instead, the Tigers are left with the bitter taste of a rout at the hands of a service academy. Missouri will be a tough call for the preseason magazines – are the Tigers rebuilding, or is 2009 the beginning of the end of a good run?

The 2010 schedule favors the former. Missouri starts 2010 with Illinois (3-9 in 2009) in St. Louis, and doesn’t leave the state until mid-October. The remainder of the non-conference schedule - McNeese State, San Diego State, and Miami (Ohio) – is light, and all three games are at home. The Tigers then get a bye week to prepare for Colorado – again in Columbia.

Kansas State will be in year two of the second stint for Bill Snyder, and Kansas will be in its first year under Turner Gill. Both teams are likely to be given a pass by the preseason magazines. Neither will be picked to win the division, but both will be seen as being “on the rise”.

Which leaves Colorado. No new coach. No bowl win to build on. Four straight losing seasons. A schedule which includes five road games – with four of those opponents 2009 bowl participants. No road wins since 2007. Georgia and Cal on the non-conference slate, in addition to Colorado State in Denver.

If you were writing up the 2010 Big 12 North preview section for your preseason magazine, how would you rate Colorado?

Unfortunately, with the results of the 2009 bowl games, there are only two certainties … Nebraska will be the consensus pick to finish atop the Big 12 North; Colorado will be the consensus pick to finish at the bottom.

Happy New Year …..

 December 24th

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Just a little coal for your stockings, though. The highest rated recruit in town this past weekend, Davon Dunn , a four-star running back from San Diego, has de-committed from Cal.

Yea!

Oh, but it doesn’t look like Colorado will be in the mix for Dunn’s services, either. Dunn told BuffStampede.com that, while he enjoyed his trip to Boulder, Colorado wasn’t amongst his leaders. “I really like Coach Kiesau … he’s really cool,” said Dunn. “We had a long talk about how they we’re so close to winning so many games last year.”

Sounds good. But …

“Colorado is a good school, but it is just too far away for me.”

Sigh.

Dunn is looking to commit to Fresno State. “I feel like that is the best fit for me”, but Dunn is still planning on an official visit to UCLA.

More on the quotes from players who visited December 18th are found below …

December 22nd

Notes on weekend visitations

No new commitments were announced after eight players made their official visits to Boulder this past weekend, but at least one player is just waiting for an offer …

Three-star defensive back A.J. Powell told Scout.com that he is ready play for the Buffs. “If they offered, I’d commit right away,” said Powell, who visited with three of his Charter Oak (Calif.) teammates this past weekend.

Powell is considered the 66th-best safety in the country by Rivals, has offers from Colorado State, UTEP, and New Mexico. “My visit to Colorado was great,” said Powell. “Being in Boulder and Denver, it was just beautiful there.”

And what about his three Charter Oak teammates, linebacker Keith Smith , running back Adam Muema , and cornerback Brandon Golden , who also were in Boulder this past weekend?  “We could all play together in college,” said Powell. “We all have the same work ethic and the same mentality to win.”

Linebacker Keith Smith is also waiting for an offer from the Buffs. Smith is a three-star prospect who currently has offers from UTEP, Nevada and Air Force.

“It was great and it was fun,” Smith told Scout.com. “They treated us like kings.” Colorado is Smith’s top choice, but there has not yet been an offer.

“The way they were talking to me, they sounded like they were going to offer me, but I’m not sure when.” Even if he gets an offer, Smith may not jump at an offer from the Buffs. “I’ll decide after I make my trips,” said Smith, who will visit UTEP and Nevada after the holiday break.

One player that Colorado would like – but who doesn’t sound like he’s excited about being a Buff – is Westland, Michigan, running back Jeremy Langford . The three-star running back recruit was offered by Michigan State last week.

“They are definitely in the mix,” Langford told Spartan.mag of Michigan State. “The coaches are nice there. I like the distance away from home. It is almost right around the corner for me, I like that.”

What about the other running back in town last weekend, Charter Oaks’ Adam Muema ?

“It was a little cold, but it was a nice experience. I liked it,” Muema told BuffStampede.com. “We bowled, went to dinner, went to Dave and Buster’s, toured the campus, hung out with the players. I really liked going into their locker room. They had uniforms for us.” 

Of the Charter Oaks’ recruits, Muema sounds the least likely to become a Buff. He has official visits planned for Washington State and San Diego State in January, and won’t be making a commitment any time soon.

One of the highest rated recruits amongst the visitors from this past weekend, linebacker Kyle Benson , isn’t ready to make a decision, either. Benson, considered to be the 34th-best linebacker in the nation by Scout.com, is down to his final two. Benson was in Colorado this past weekend, and will visit Arizona after the holidays.

“I have narrowed it down to those two (Colorado and Arizona), Benson told GOAZCATS.com, “so whichever one I like better on the trip, I will commit to.”

So, there may be an announcement concerning this past weekend’s visitors soon … or not …

December 19th

Smith to return for his senior year

Colorado picked up perhaps its most important “recruit” this December, when junior cornerback Jimmy Smith announced that he would return to Boulder for his senior season.

Smith played all but three snaps on defense in 2009, and was a potential second round pick in April’s NFL draft.

“We’re excited to have the chance to work with him one more year,” said Dan Hawkins. “We’re proud of his accomplishments, and look forward to his growth as a player and as a person, and firmly believe he will be one of the best cornerbacks in the country next year.”

Smith, according to CU statistics, allowed only eight completions in man coverage all season. Smith has had 15 consecutive starts at cornerback, and had 70 tackles in 2009.

“I am a lot more comfortable now on the field,” said Smith. “I used to play not to make a mistake. Now, I am playing to make plays.” With fellow senior-to-be Jalil Brown (with ten consecutive starts of his own) also coming back, the Buffs are appear set at cornerback for 2010.

December 17th

Visitations – December 18th

I guess Colorado is back in the recruiting business … or at least the Buffs are up for hosting a Charter Oak High school reunion …

No fewer than eight prospects are coming to Boulder this weekend to make their official visits, four of them from Charter Oak High school in Covina, California. Overall, according the Rivals.com, five of the players are three-star prospects; two are two stars.

There are two linebackers, two running backs, a defensive tackle, a defensive lineman, and an athlete …

With the defection of running back Mister Jones to Texas A&M this week, the two running backs coming in to town are of particular interest.

The first, Jeremy Langford , from Westland, Michigan, we already knew about (see: 2010 Running backs’ preview). Langford is 6’0”, 185 pounds, is considered the 58th -best running back by Scout.com (Mister Jones is ranked 77th ).

Langford is still holding out for an offer from Michigan, but to date only has offers from Bowling Green, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, and, as of this week, Michigan State.

The second running back making an official visit this weekend is Adam Muema , the first of the “Covina Four”. Muema is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals – the 70th -best running back of the 2010 class (Muema is only a two-star recruit in the eyes of Scout.com).

Muema is 5’10”, 175 pounds, and has been timed at 4.62 in the 40. Other schools vying for Muema’s services include Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State, and UTEP.

One of the highest rated athletes of the seven on the visit list is cornerback A.J. Powell , considered to be the 66th -best cornerback prospect in the country.  Powell, like Muema, is from Covina, California, is 5’8”, 185 pounds, and has been timed at 4.68 in the 40. Other schools Powell is considering include Colorado State and UTEP.

If these schools sound familiar, they are also on Adam Muema’s list.  (It’s worthy of note that Powell is also being courted by, of all places, New Hampshire). “I’m not a 6’2” safety, so I have to work that much harder” Powell told BuffStampede.com. “Those that think that I’m too small to get the job done, I prove them wrong.”

The third member of the “Covina Four” coming to Boulder is Keith Smith , a 6’0”, 209 pound linebacker. Smith is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, but only a two-star athlete by Scout (though Scout does rate Smith as the 60th -best middle linebacker prospect in the nation).

Smith attended a camp at Colorado last summer, and was expecting an offer based upon what Buff coaches told him then. Smith also attended camps at San Diego State and Washington State, and is on the radar of other Pac-10 schools Oregon State and UCLA.

Smith also has offers from a number of Mountain West schools, including Utah, Nevada, and Air Force (so we know qualifying should not be a problem). Smith was named the Miramonte League Defensive Player of the Year, recording 132 tackles in 2009.

The final Charter Oak player who will be making an official visit on December 18th is Brandon Golden , who is considered an “athlete” by Rivals, but is listed as a cornerback prospect by Scout.com.

Both see Golden , who is 6’0”, 192 pounds, with a 4.4 40, as a two-star player. Of the four Covina, California, players coming to Boulder, Golden would have to be considered the least likely Buff. Last July, Golden committed to play for Washington State, and remains on the Cougars’ list of verbal commitments.

Will the foursome all be coming to play for Colorado?

It’s hard to say, though at least one of the foursome likes the possibilities.

“I was ecstatic when Colorado offered, especially because they also offered my boys,” said linebacker Keith Smith. “We actually have been trying to be a package deal so we can play together in college.” We’ll see …

Perhaps feeling a little bit left out by the Covina group is an Arizona linebacker, Kyle Benson . The three-star prospect from Corona Del Sol High is considered to be the 34th -best outside linebacker by Scout.com, coming in at 6’2”, 212 pounds. Benson can run a 4.48 40, and is being courted by Arizona and Oregon from the Pac-10, as well as Utah and BYU from the MWC.

Benson is another player who attended camp in Boulder last summer.

The final official visitor coming to Boulder the weekend before Christmas is defensive tackle Dontrell Onuahu from La Quinta, California. Onuahu is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, weighing in at 283 pounds.

The 6’2” tackle can run a 5.05 40, but currently is only being recruited heavily by Colorado and San Diego State, though Fresno State, Nevada, and New Mexico State are also in the picture. Onuahu has scheduled an official visit to San Diego State for the weekend of January eighth.

[Update : Rivals reported that four-star wide receiver prospect Davon Dunn , from San Diego, California, also made an official visit this past weekend. Dunn, considered to be the 34th-best wide receiver of the 2010 class, is listed as a solid verbal to Cal. As recruiting fans know, though, nothing is official until February ... ]

Seven visitors, four from one California high school. Stay tuned this weekend – there may be some recruiting news this Sunday …

December  15th

Buffs add defensive end

Colorado has added defensive lineman Kirk Poston to its list of verbal recruits for the 2010 class. Poston is a 6′3″, 245-pound defensive end from St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas. Poston is considered by Scout.com to be a two-star recruit, and is ranked as the 120th- best defensive end prospect in the nation.

Poston made his official visit to Boulder on November 7th, and chose the Buffs over Arizona, Georgia Tech, Baylor, and Kansas State. Poston is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com.

As a senior, Poston recorded 13 sacks for a team which ended its season one game short of the state championship. Poston, after his official visit in November, told Scout.com that one of the lures of playing in Boulder was the chance to play as a freshman.

“I’d really like to play as soon as possible,” said Poston. “As soon as they think I’m ready. I’d like to play definitely during my sophomore year, but if I play during my freshman year, that would be fine also.”

The 12th recruit of the Buffs’ 2010 class should have no trouble qualifying, being called a “great student” by his high school head coach, Rene Ramirez. Poston’s coach is also a fan of his on-field talents. “Poston is a motor guy,” said Ramirez, “(he) can play sideline to sideline.”

Up on Thursday … this weekend’s official visits. There are seven recruits coming to Boulder this weekend, including four prospects from the same high school in Covina, California.

Buffs pick up offensive lineman

In a week of bad news, Colorado did pick up a piece of potentially good news … a new commitment.

Eric Richter , a junior college offensive lineman from Saddleback College, has pledged to become a Colorado Buffalo. Richter is 6′4″, 315 pounds, and made an official visit to Boulder this weekend that was off the radar of the major reporting services.

Richter met with Buffs’ tight ends coach Kent Riddle on Tuesday, and five days later is a Buff. Richter played right guard for a 9-2 Saddleback team this past fall, and will enroll at Colorado this week, making him available for spring drills.

Richter had offers from Arizona State from the Pac-1o, as well as from San Diego State and several other Division 1-A schools. Richter will have three years to play two at Colorado.

Richter projects as either a guard or center. Senior-to-be Keenan Stevens , a former walk-on, played much of the season at center, and was recently awarded a scholarship. Along with junior-to-be Mike Iltis, who also started at center in 2009, the Buffs will have three players to choose from at the center position in 2010.

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