The old saying dictates that “what goes up must come down.” The Colorado Buffaloes football team is hoping that perhaps that saying can be amended to read “what goes down must come up.”
After a disappointing first season under Dan Hawkins, one that will see his team lose its Big 12 North title after winning four of the last five and not make a postseason bowl appearance for the first time since the 2000 campaign, there is hope in Boulder. That hope comes in the form of five-star recruit Ryan Miller.
Miller – a 6-foot-7, 268-pound mountain of a man from Columbine High School – made a strong verbal commitment to CU and head coach Hawkins on Oct. 25. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, who made two personal trips to Colorado to visit with Miller, had also heavily recruited him.
“First, it is a great weight off my shoulders,” Miller said. “Colorado is home, and that is so important to me. The Notre Dame coaches were very courteous, but CU is the choice.”
With such heavy recruitment from a prestigious university like Notre Dame and the dismal season Colorado has had under Hawkins, some questioned Miller’s decision.
“We really appreciated coach Hawkins’ plan and his honesty,” Miller said. “It is exciting to be a part of the program. I’m very happy.”
Miller has still not yet signed a letter of intent to play for CU, and Hawkins is unable to comment on recruits not yet on scholarship. He did say he really liked the way the recruiting process has unfolded this season.
“We have been pretty happy with how it has gone,” Hawkins said in reference to the recruiting process. “You just have to continue to work on that infrastructure stuff that you know is important in the off-season so you can be ready to go in spring ball.”
Miller’s mother, Daylyn, released a statement concerning her son’s decision to attend CU rather than Notre Dame on Oct. 25.
“Ryan has decided to stay in Colorado and help build the new CU program under Dan Hawkins. Ryan sees the vision of Dan Hawkins and can’t wait to be a part of it,” Daylyn Miller said in the statement. “He is Colorado through and through.
We hope the Notre Dame coaches will appreciate how much Ryan feels a part of the Colorado family but also know he appreciates what they have done for him. He believes he can make the most difference spending the next phase of his life right here in the mountains.”
The Sporting News ranks Miller as the No. 46 player in the national high school football scene. He was ranked the No. 5 player at tackle and the No. 1 player in Colorado.
So far in the recruiting process, CU has received verbal commitments from 20 players. Another notable recruit is Conrad Obi, a blue-chip defensive end whom Hawkins wooed away from the University of Georgia.
Obi is the first four-star out-of-state recruit to come to CU since the 2003 recruiting class saw four-star recruits Bernard Jackson, Lorenzo Sims, Travis Berry, and Chris Russell come to Boulder.
“You tell freshmen they have a shot, and if you’re the best guy, you’ll play and that’s evident,” Hawkins said. “You just lay it out as you see it and paint the picture as honestly as you can.”