With Colorado’s 2015 recruiting class just announced, our writers debate: Should Buffs fans get excited with the players MacIntyre has just brought in?
Justin: I’m not a guy who lives by the recruit ranking system (in which a number of scouting websites label recruits by stars, a 5 star player being the most talented) but nevertheless I am not really swayed by Coach MacIntyre’s optimism about this year’s class. In fact, I’m not too sure that he is as thrilled as he has made it seem. If I were a betting man I’d wager that he’s simply trying to inspire some hope after regressing record-wise last year. But hey, that’s not particularly a bad thing to do, but I’m also not going to count my chickens before they hatch.
Jared: First, I also have to acknowledge that the ranking system in place is nowhere near a perfect science. Time and time again we see that schools like TCU, Boise State and—though I hate to say it—Colorado State, have extremely competitive seasons with lower ranked recruiting classes, similar to the Buffs’ this year. It’s not all about getting the guys that are 6-foot-5, strong as a fighting bull and ready to play now. It’s about seeing into the future and coaching players to play in big-time games. We’ve seen with players MacIntyre has brought in the past, like linebacker Addison Gillam and running back Michael Adkins (who weren’t even ranked by ESPN coming out of high school), that he can turn less heavily recruited players into productive starters and even impact players. While many put Colorado’s class as the worst in the Pac-12, you have to trust that MacIntyre is going to get more out of his players than these rankings imply.
Justin: Touche, Jared. I hear what you’re saying but still I advise Buffs fans out there not to get too excited just yet. Most of these guys coming in are not going to play in the 2015 season. And the ones that might don’t really blow me away. But I must agree with you, Jared- the ranking system is not perfect by any means. Does the name Russell Wilson ring a bell? You know, the guy who’s led the Seattle Seahawks to two consecutive Super Bowls? He was a two-star recruit coming into college. So it is completely plausible that a star rank does not define the true talent of these recruits. But I have to assume that Russell Wilson’s case is not an everyday occurrence. I can’t imagine any of these recruits will shed their low star rankings like the Hulk ripping off his clothes. I will say though, that DT Jordan Carrell out of American River College in Sacramento, Calif. and DE Blake Robbins from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. catch my eye the most out of our 2015 recruiting class. They have the potential to strengthen a weak Buffs defensive line, which would be a big boost to the defense overall. But that is a big “if.” We will have to see how they handle Oregon and Arizona, among others, if the time comes.
Jared: One guy I’m super excited to see on the field soon is offensive guard Tim Lynott out of Colorado’s own Regis Jesuit High School. Watching game footage of him moving five yards downfield in high school makes me hopeful that he can recreate some of that dominance at the college level. Offensive line was one of the Buffs’ major weaknesses last year and I don’t see why he couldn’t step right in and contribute from the get-go. Other than Lynott, who was also recruited by Colorado State, Miami and even Oregon, few recruits got much national attention. It’s going to be one of those diamond in the rough type situations if this class is going to be successful. Sure, almost all of CU’s recruits shined in prep football in some type of way, but all of them were overlooked by the powerhouse schools as well and Colorado is the place that’s going to give them a shot. We have to hope they take advantage of it.
Justin: Remember that scene in the movie Moneyball where Billy Beane is criticizing his head scout for the way he talks to the parents of potential players to sign to contracts? The overall theme of the scene is that no one knows how good players will be. Unproven talent is unproven talent. That argument can be applied to both sides of this argument, but just because I enjoy playing the role of Debbie Downer SO very much, I’ll use it to segue into the fact that we can’t get too excited about these guys. I hope you prove me wrong, Jared. I truly do. But right now, I just don’t see these guys impacting the 2015 season very much.
Jared: Sure Justin, you could be right. Maybe this class will disappoint this year, but let me give you a couple names to keep an eye out for next season and down the road. Afolabi Laguda is a 6-foot-1 cornerback who just finished junior college in Kansas. In a high-flying Pac-12 Conference, I can see MacIntyre inserting Laguda into the lineup sooner rather than later. Especially because Laguda already has two years of college experience and the Buffs have lost one of their better defenders, cornerback Greg Henderson, to graduation. Another guy I’m excited to see is running back Patrick Carr from Texas. Colorado’s backfield had a decently admirable performance in the 2014 season, but really never had a ‘go-to’ guy. I’m not saying Carr can become ‘the guy’ right away, but as evidence form his high school playing—he averaged 7.6 yards per carry his senior year—he very well may be molded into that type of player. The last guy I’ll mention is at quarterback, clearly the most important position in football. Steven Montez comes from El Paso, Texas and has the ideal build for a quarterback at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. He ran for over 1,000 yards and also passed for over 2,000 while throwing for just three interceptions and amassing 46 touchdowns. If numbers don’t lie, that’s something to get excited about.
Now, we could go through every player and debate their skills until the cows come home, but let’s be honest. Even the greatest recruiting experts don’t judge talent from high school to college very well. Fans have to hope MacIntyre has put together a group of guys that will mesh on the field and continue to make the Buffs more competitive. Every year we’ve seen improvement from MacIntyre’s teams, and I think with a little help from this year’s CU class, the Buffs will take another step in the right direction for the 2015 season.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Justin Guerriero at Justin.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Jared Funk-Breay at Jared.email@example.com and follow him on twitter @jaredfunkbreay.