The 2012 college football season is a mere month away. Leading up to the opening kickoff each Pac-12 school’s recruiting progress for 2013 will be examined. Jon Embree, head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, is charged with turning around a conference newcomer. The Buffs first year in the Pac-12 had plenty of bumps along the way going 3-9. If the tide is to turn, Embree must convince recruits that his vision of future success in Boulder is not unfounded.
Last year finished with a bit of momentum as the Buffs won two of their last three games including the season finale at Utah. Embree has an opportunity this recruiting cycle to sell the idea that his program is on the right track. So far the 2013 class is reflecting a renewed optimism for CU.
Judging by the amount of offensive line verbal commitments, Embree and his staff are holding true to their desire to build from the inside out. Five offensive lineman have given verbals to the program. Jonathan Huckins, Gunnar Graham, Sam Kronshage, Colin Sutton, and John Lisella round out the lineman commits thus far. Four of the group are rated as three star prospects by Rivals; Huckins, Graham, Kronshage, and Sutton.
Local talent, tight end Mitchell Parsons, is the top rated of the bunch earning a four star by Rivals. The Parker Colorado product is a solid pass catching threat, and could develop into a nice addition if the Buffs are to have an effective run game.
Other verbals that could potentially assist the passing game are Bryce Bobo, and Elijah Dunston. Both wideouts hail from California and are given two stars by Rivals. Dunston, out of West Hills, brings a long-stride in the open field enabling him to create separation from defenders. How this will translate to the Pac-12 is a question, but the receiver has built a reputation on excellent hands and running good routes. Bobo is a couple inches taller than Dunston at 6’3″ and will bring versatility as a pass-catcher.
Two defenders have given verbals to this point for Embree. Athlete George Frazier is a man child who consistently overpowers the ball-carrier. In one highlight Frazier threw an opposing quarterback out of bounds as if the high school-er were a rag doll. The Monrovia California product had offers from San Jose State as well as Pac-12 school Washington State.
Another Californian has given a verbal commitment on defense. Safety Kyle Trammel from Victorville is lacking in elite size at only 5’10″ 170lbs. Although Trammel is not physically imposing his speed, athleticism, knack for knowing where to be to put himself in position to make a play is intriguing. In a league that likes to the pass the ball, Trammel’s instincts could prove to be an asset for the Buffs D.
CU has plenty to worry about at the quarterback position for the upcoming season. If offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy can continue to develop the talented Sefo Liufau, the Buffs might have found a gem in Tacoma Washington. Liufau has excellent fundamentals in his footwork and pocket presence. The 2012 class did not contain any scholarship quarterbacks and there may not be another outside of Liufau in 2013. Embree’s staff must have great faith in Liufau to carry the torch at the quarterback position.
Rivals rates Colorado as the eighth best 2013 recruiting class in the Pac-12 as of today. While Embree is showing ability to nab three star talent in California and Texas, he must put a wall around the borders of Colorado. Until the Buffs can keep the best prospects within their home-state, building a championship contender will have to wait.
Current Colorado high school athletes barely remember CU’s Big 12 conference championship in 2001. This year’s Buffs could use an upset or two to give the in-state talent a reason to believe. Of the top ten ESPN recruits out of Colorado, CU has verbals from two. Four commits have given verbals to out-of-state programs, one is uncommitted, and three have given verbals to in-state rival CSU.
The CU faithful yearn for the days when the program was consistently ranked and competing for conference championships. Those days will come, but only if homegrown talent arrives first.