The Colorado Buffaloes are coming off a dismal 2012 where they went just 1-11 and cost head coach Jon Embree his job. One of the worst parts of last year’s team was the inconsistent quarterback play, as three different signal callers got starts throughout the year, each with poor results. New head coach Mike MacIntyre looks to be addressing that issue with his first recruiting class at Colorado with dual-threat quarterback Sefo Liufau.
Liufau, a senior at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Washington, committed early to Colorado, which affected the amount of interest he garnered on the national scene. Last spring, the three-star quarterback went on his official visit and fell in love with the program, committing shortly afterwards. The coaching staff made him feel right at home and he raved about Colorado’s academics as “the cherry on top.”
When Embree was fired, Liufau was unsure if he would follow through with his commitment and got calls from other Pac 12 schools, including the Oregon State Beavers. MacIntyre, however, spoke with the young quarterback shortly after taking the job and convinced him Colorado was still the place for him to be. Basically, MacIntyre told him that he was exactly the quarterback the Buffs needed.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Liufau led Bellarmine all the way to the state title this season with a prolific performance under center. He completed 60-percent of his passes for 2,253 years with 23 touchdowns to six interceptions, earning the No. 27 ranking among quarterback prospects by Rivals. He’s still developing, too, and has an athleticism and speed that was under-utilized during his high school career.
That ability to throw and run will make him an immediate option at quarterback next fall. MacIntyre will be installing the pistol offense in Boulder next year, but lacks a true dual-threat quarterback to take advantage of the running opportunities that style of offense brings. Though he’s never played from the shotgun, Liufau has the skill set to have a huge collegiate career, much like Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers did while with the Nevada Wolfpack.
He’ll have to overcome the returning starters from last season for the job (which shouldn’t be too difficult) as well as the early favorite to be the starting quarterback out of spring practice, redshirt freshman Shane Dillon. The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Dillon came to Colorado as the No. 13 ranked pro-style QB in the nation in 2011. He was arguably the most talented signal caller on the Buffs’ roster last season and will get a good hard look under center for next season.
Liufau, however, has the edge when it comes to athleticism. If Dillon doesn’t take control of the starting job early and keep a firm grasp of it, Liufau could sneak in and play his way into the starting lineup with his speed, which serves as a nice complement to his throwing ability.
Even if he doesn’t get his chance next fall, though, Liufau is poised to be the man for Mike MacIntyre over the next several years who he will turn to as they turn things around in Boulder.