Colorado Football: Recruiting Roundup

Stuart WhitehairAnalyst IMarch 3, 2011

March 2nd

ESPN’s Colin Cowherd – “Top 10-12 program” facing major violations

Maybe it’s just a slow news day … Or maybe there is something to it.

Colin Cowherd, on his radio program on ESPN, reported that “a major program in this country is going to be outed very soon for major recruiting violations. It is a top 10-12 program.” Cowherd cited several unnamed sources stating that, “it is a major program and a major publication.” Cowherd also stated that, despite all of the problems with Cam Newton last fall, the program in question was not Auburn.

There was some speculation early on that it was Texas or Tennessee, but neither program right now fits the criterion of being a “top 10-12 program.” There are also rumors that Oregon may be the school targeted, but John Canzano of the Oregonian wrote, “A reliable source high in the athletic department said everyone there was ’surprised’ to hear about the rumors. They have not been contacted by the NCAA on this matter, nor anyone else.”

We’ll just have to wait and see if this story has any legs …

College football and crime

The cover story of Sports Illustrated this week investigated the preseason top 25 teams from 2010, and discovered there are a number of recruits who are playing for major college football programs and have a criminal record. “College football and crime” found that, of some 2,837 players on the rosters of the 2010 preseason Top 25, about 7% of had criminal records.

The school found to have the most players with criminal records was Pitt, with 22 players charged. Only one school in the Top 25, TCU, was free from having players on their roster with a criminal record. [Of schools in the Big 12 and Pac-12, Oklahoma came in 7th, with nine players; Oregon and USC were tied for 11th with seven; Utah was tied for 15th with five; Nebraska and Oregon State were tied for 19th with four; Texas was at 23rd with two; and Stanford was 24th with one].

In all, 277 offenses were uncovered, with nearly 40 percent for serious offenses, including 56 for violent crimes. In cases where the outcome was known, players were guilty or paid some penalty in nearly 60 percent of the total incidents.

While not excusing any of the above, the report to me seems to be exploitive and biased. Just a few questions ….

- What is the percentage of the total school population which has a similar record? Without comparable numbers from the general college population, no conclusions can be drawn.

- According to the report, less than 60 percent of the players plead guilty or paid some penalty. Which means over 40 percent were not guilty of the charges, reducing the population of “criminals” on team’s rosters from 7 percent to 3 percent.

- According to the report, “nearly 40 percent involved serious offenses.” Read another way, that would be, “over 60 percent involved minor offenses.” Again, how would the actual number of serious offenses compare with the student population involved?

- While the report indicates that some states, like Florida, do allow anyone to check juvenile records, it is silent about those states in which juvenile records are sealed.

Again, I have no problem with criminal offenders being punished to the full extent of the law. If Michael Sipili, for example, is found guilty of sexual assault, my sympathies are with the victim and her family, and Sipili, Buff or not, should be held accountable for his actions. That being said, however, for the article to paint such a broad brush of accusation, over a relatively small sample is, in my opinion, over-the-top journalism.

Perhaps Sports Illustrated should have run a second week of swimsuits instead …

First (un)official visit for 2012 set

Elijah Shumate is a 6′1″, 205-pound four-star safety/linebacker prospect from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey.

And he will be in Boulder for the CU Spring game.

Shumate may be a long-shot for the Buffs, as the high school junior presently favors South Carolina (”I’ve got a great relationship with the coaches … I love how they recruit me”) and Rutgers (”I’d like to stay close to home”) but he is willing to take a look at Colorado.

“My coaches say that Colorado is a good school, and wanted me to check it out,” Shumate told “I know two guys from this area that go there, too. They’ve got (former teammate) Tony Jones (red-shirt freshman tailback) and Paul Vigo (sophomore defensive back from New Brunswick, N.J.) I’m cool with them.”

Shumate may favor South Carolina and Rutgers, but he has offers from all over the country. is showing offers from North Carolina, LSU, Penn State, USC, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech, amongst others.

“I want to focus on my senior year and be done this summer,” said Shumate. I want to feel at home, and be very wanted by the program. I’d like to come in and compete early.” As a result, though Shumate’s visit will be unofficial (official visits don’t take place until the fall) the spring game may be as close to an official visit as the Buffs get from Shumate before he makes his choice.

True, Colorado may not be high on Mr. Shumate’s list, but the Buffs are on his radar. Colorado is now after recruits who are considering USC, Penn State, Virginia Tech and LSU.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Buffs are after bigger fish under the new coaching staff.

Got to go after ‘em to get ‘em …

A wide receiver for the Class of 2011 still in the offing? … Perhaps not …

It’s been a rumor for the past week or so, that a “high-profile” wide receiver candidate from the Class of 2011 will be taking an official visit this weekend.

There has been no confirmation, but if there is a wide receiver visiting this weekend, odds are that it would be the elusive Michael Thomas—the four-star wide receiver recruit from Woodland Hills, California.

In case you have been on vacation since signing day, Michael Thomas is 6′3″, 180-pounds, and is considered to be the 36th-best wide receiver of the 2011 Class by Rivals. Due to the death of his grandmother, Thomas postponed his recruitment past signing day. For the past three weeks, there have been rumors about the Buffs recruiting Thomas, and about Thomas coming to Boulder for an official visit.

We’ll see about Thomas …

Meanwhile … is reporting that 2012 prospect Jordan Payton, is in town this week for an unofficial visit. Payton is a 6′2″, 200-pound wide receiver from Westlake Village, California. Payton verbally committed to USC last spring as a sophomore, but he is keeping his options open.

Payton is taking an unofficial visit to SMU on March 25th. “I have been talking to some schools like Florida and Michigan,” Payton told “Everyone just wants me to come and take a visit and see their campus.”

As for his commitment to USC, Payton remains a Trojan, for now. “I am going to make sure that I have everything in order this summer,” said Payton. “I will know exactly what I am going to do, and if I will stay committed to USC or decommit from them. Probably in June is when I will know.”


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