Nick Hirschman has been a college freshman for more than a week now. As the Colorado Buffaloes’ lone early enrollee for the recruiting class of 2010, the quarterback from Los Gatos (Calif.) High School is getting comfortable with life on campus.
“It was a little bit hectic to start out,” Hirschman said. “But everyone’s been really helpful. I love it here. I love the campus, it’s a good place to be.”
Hirschman is indeed a rarity, not so much for college football, but for CU. The last early enrollee for the Buffs was current redshirt sophomore linebacker Josh Hartigan in 2007.
Director of Football Operations Robert Tucker sees no problem with the team’s lack of early enrollments, a trend becoming quite popular in today’s world of college football.
“There are some schools where it’s starting to become the culture for recruits to enroll early,” Tucker said. “I don’t think [getting so few early enrollees] has anything to do with the University of Colorado. I think it has everything to do with the players we recruit.”
Tucker, however, realizes the upside for high school players who start college in the spring.
“It’s an advantage of familiarity,” Tucker said. “It’s familiarity with the playbook, how to be a college student, how to study, and how to prepare.”
Though Hirschman has yet to sign his national letter of intent with the Buffs, his enrollment this semester is extremely beneficial for someone playing his position.
“Coming into a new system is hard for a freshman, especially a quarterback,” Hirschman said. “I thought [enrolling early] would give me the best chance to come out and compete.”
Having the opportunity to compete behind Tyler Hansen and Cody Hawkins will allow Hirschman to mature into a better player by summertime, which is also when his fellow recruits will be arriving in Boulder.
Recently, the number of early enrollee recruits has boomed. And for those who decide to take this path, success has followed.
Former No. 1 NFL draft picks Mario Williams and Matthew Stafford enrolled early at North Carolina State and Georgia, respectively. Decorated QB Tim Tebow won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy after arriving at Florida a semester early. In 2009, super freshmen Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh) and Matt Barkley (USC) were early enrollees.
Those players are not only giving themselves an advantage in their sport, but also academically. Just ask Hartigan, Hirschman’s predecessor in early enrollees.
“It helped me a lot by forcing me to get adjusted,” Hartigan said. “Rather than going in the summer, I got ahead in school and I’ll be graduating early next December.”
However, Hartigan said he gave up an important chapter in his life, such as senior prom and his graduation ceremony to focus on the future with his new team and school.
Hirschman, who was deciding between CU and Harvard before he chose the Buffs, says he knows he made the smart decision to enter into classes this spring.
“Just the advantages you get out of being able to learn a system a few months before everybody,” Hirschman said, “I think it really helps.”
He’s been a CU student for a grand total of 10 days. But come summertime, the young quarterback will be a semester older and a semester wiser than the incoming freshmen.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Michael Krumholtz at Michael.email@example.com.