Before the first whistle has been blown, or the first challenge flag tossed, college football prospects are committing to Colorado State left and right it would seem. 14 known commitments before the end of August is a first in the history of the program. Maybe five or six commitments wouldn’t be a shock, but 14 for a program coming off a three win season is a surprise.
Although in comparison, University of Texas regularly has 20 or more commitments before the season starts. In part, the trend in college football recruiting is to get on the juniors and lock the good ones up before everyone else catches on. With the internet and press coverage now of recruiting this is really not so easy. The NCAA is considering legislation that would ban offering high school juniors. Would this level the playing field so to speak? Probably not for the colleges, but how it affects the timing of prospects committing is hard to say.
As big programs like Texas fill up their recruiting classes early then it becomes less likely they will offer seniors who maybe did not standout enough as juniors. These seniors, or now soon to be seniors, are faced with the reality that they may not get an offer from their dream school. So what should they do? Wait and see what other schools offer, or make a commitment from among the offers they do have? This becomes even more magnified when a prospect only has one offer. It could be with the trend of early commitments that it comes more about securing a spot to play, rather then finding the right fit for the prospect. For some prospects though, it has as much to with putting the decision in the past, and moving forward without the weekly calls and visits from college coaches and media.
What becomes of some of the early Ram commitments who have yet to visit Fort Collins such as fullback Tommey Morris of Odessa, Texas or Bryan Bosworth of Cape Coral, Florida, may not be known until signing day in February. Last year one of the first CSU commitments Ra’Shawde Myers of Cocoa, Fla. ended up signing with Marshall after they offered him in January. Steve Fairchild clearly understands the recruiting landscape, and has his top recruiting lieutenants, Pat Meyer and Tim Duffie, out aggressively pursuing top talent to keep the Rams in the game.
The MWC vs. WAC battle could show up in a recruiting battle between CSU and Utah State. Both schools have offered Cape Coral, Fla. defensive end Jimmy Stewart. Stewart is teammates with CSU commitment Bosworth at Island Coast High School.
CSU seems to be getting a nice boost from having players enroll early after graduating in December of their senior years. CJ James played at defensive end as a true freshman last year, and may very well start this year. Pete Thomas recently named the starting quarterback got a jump on the job by being here for spring ball. Next in line for possible early admittance is place kicker Keenan Adams from Bainbridge, Georgia of all places. Adams plans to be at CSU for spring ball and help give incumbent junior kicker Ben DeLine some competition.
It’s no secret that Fairchild likes to have some tall receivers on his offense, something that wasn’t always the norm during Sonny Lubick’s tenure (although no one will be giving back Dave Anderson or Pete Rebstock). CSU has offered a number of lengthy receivers like 6’5” Tyler Higbee of Tarpon Springs, Florida, and 6’4” Chris Gallon of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla. The best of the bunch could very well be Jacob Hillyer of Somerset, TX. At 6’4", Hillyer supposedly ran a 4.5 at UTEP’s summer camp, which has gotten Hillyer on the radar as far away as Oregon State.
The talk of CSU not recruiting in-state should die down a bit this year. The Rams already surpassed the number of committed in-state preps then were signed a year ago. Sam Carlson from Poudre High School should become the first Fort Collins local to sign with CSU since Alex Kelly in 2008. I suspect Carlson will last more then one season at CSU.
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