Prep football recruiting in recent history has been more a discussion of who is going to Stanford then who is going to play for the Buffs or Rams. This year probably won’t turn out much different. Like last year, however, a few local prospects may turn their eyes to Fort Collins. CSU signed five Colorado high school players, and a few like Sam Carlson (Pourde HS) and Dorian Brown (Thompson Valley HS) don’t have far to travel to start their college careers.

The top prospects for the Class of 2012 in Colorado, like years of past Colorado prep football, are offensive linemen and heading to schools elsewhere.

Three of the top offensive tackles in the nation, Paul Thurston of Arvada West, Joey O’Connor of Windsor, and Shane Callahan of Parker Chaparral recently made commitments. Thurston picked Nebraska, while Callahan picked the nation champion Auburn Tigers in a bit of rare Colorado to SEC commitment. Windsor’s own Joey O’Connor is rated among ESPN’s Top 150 players in the nation, and picked Penn State. Guard Alex Kozan from Valor Christian is one of the lone heavyweights not yet committed, but has plenty of offers from Oregon to Oklahoma.

Other top-rated national prospects will be heading to the Pac-12, but not with the Buffs. Mullen tight end Evan Baylis has verbally committed to Oregon where he’ll be going up against his high school teammate, quarterback Cy Miles, who committed to Washington.

CU does have two in-state commitments from Mullen defensive lineman Tyler Hennington, and Mountain Vista lineman Clay Norgard.

The Rams have been active targeting a couple of solid prospects early in the recruiting process. Receiver Jordan Vaden of Praire View and linebacker Keith Davis of Fountain Fort Carson both received early offers from CSU. The question now becomes who will the Rams have to hold off in order to secure commitments. Something Rams (and Buffs) may have to get use to is the increased presence of Boise State in recruiting Colorado. BSU is looking at Vaden, as well as Valor Christian linebacker Andrew Pint who recently picked up an offer form UNLV after attending their camp. In addition to Kozan, CSU has offered Valor Christian defensive end Michael Mann. However, Mann is being recruited by former CSU coach Scott Brown, who is now at Arizona State.

CSU will mostly likely only have in the order of 11-13 scholarships for the class of 2012 depending on grayshirts, and other roster attrition. This means that Steve Fairchild and staff have to be judicial in taking verbal commitments, or at least more so then usual. That means taking a good long look at prospects, especially ones just getting on the radar. CSU got a up close look at scat-back/receiver Joe Hansley of Highlands Ranch at a recent summer camp, and decided to extend a scholarship. Hansley is the mold of Tony Drake with speed and moves.

So who else in-state might come into consideration for CSU coaches?

Dillon Zacharias, DT, Cherokee Trail – Zacharias was injured for part of his junior year, but played in the state playoffs and has the size at 280lb to gain interest

Austin Hendrickson, OG, Arvada West – Not as big as his teammate Thurston, a solid player none-the-less.

Gavin McHenry, DB/WR, Chaparral – Sub-4.5 speed has garnered McHenry a few FBS offers including Air Force. Finished 2nd in the state 100m final.

Raymond Bozmans, WR, Fort Collins HS – Bozmans finished 3rd in the state 100m final, and could have offers to run track in college.

Jerreon Dennis, RB, Grand Junction – Dennis may not have the speed measurables, but his runs are McDougal-esque.

Sean Rubalcaba, QB, Grand Junction – has offers from Northern Colorado and North Dakota.

Matthew Boselli, C/G, Regis – An offensive lineman with the last name Boselli, how can you not scout him?

Zach Jones, TE, Thunderridge – Good receiving skills for a tight end.

Christian Rebhun, TE, Cherry Creek – Solid blocker with really good size for the next level.

Nate Shepherd, OL, Sedalia Castle View– Classic small school sleeper prospect.

Maleaque Washington, WR, Eaglecrest – Pac-12 interest coming his way.

Thomas Singleton, WR/DB, Cherokee Trail – Air Force offer.

Justin Holden, WR, Denver East – Tall receivers aren’t a dime a dozen.

Chandon Rose, WR/FS, Grand Junction – Red Bull 7-on-7 tourney MVP.

Andrew McReynolds, CB/WR, Chaparral – All-purpose offense, defense, and special teamer.

If you have a tip to share about prospective CSU recruits, feel free to shoot me an email at: ramnationrecruiting@yahoo.com.