Cliff Grassmick/The Daily Camera
Cliff Grassmick/The Daily Camera
BOULDER – Mike MacIntyre’s first recruiting class at the University of Colorado lacks star power and big names, and the Buffaloes’ new coach insists that doesn’t bother him.
After all, his classes at San Jose State similarly were nondescript, and he turned that program around in three seasons, taking a team that went 1-12 in 2010 to 11-2 last year.
Nobody’s expecting that quick of a turnaround at Colorado, where Jon Embree was fired following the worst season in school history, but MacIntyre’s plan is to begin making steady progress right away.
His recruiting wish list included keeping the 10 players who had committed to Colorado upon his arrival – and he was successful – beefing up both lines, adding speed at wide receiver and bulk at linebacker with converted offensive backs.
MacIntyre said he called all of Colorado’s commitments as soon as he was hired and was pleased that all signed their letters of intent with the Buffs on Wednesday,
The hallmark of this class likely is Sefo Liufau, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash., who might be able to compete for playing time right away.
“I haven’t been on the field with everybody yet. I’m excited about Sefo, but I don’t want to put all that pressure on him, and when he gets here, we’ll see how he’s progressing,” MacIntyre said. “But I think he has the body type, I think he has the intelligence. He played in a good program there. But we’ll just have to wait and see how everything unfolds.”
Liufau threw a lot in high school, but MacIntyre said he’s athletic enough to run, too.
“Yes, he can run. I’ve seen it on film and watched him play high school basketball, and he can jump, and he can 360-dunk it. I mean he’s an athlete,” McIntyre said.
He said he hopes Liufau will be “a bell cow for this class and our program as he grows in it.”
So far, MacIntyre has only seen his current QBs – Nick Hirschman, Connor Wood, John Schrock, and Jordan Webb, who’s recovering from an injury to his right (throwing) hand – on tape.
“I’ve seen flashes in all of them,” MacIntyre said. “We’ll have to see how they fit into what we do and how we do it. You look at different quarterbacks ... if you look at the NFL you look at different quarterbacks in different systems. Some guys are really good in one system, and some guys are really good in another. As we get out there and look at our guys and see how it fits, there will be somebody who will rise to the top. I don’t know who it is, but somebody rises.”
In addition to his 19 high-school recruits, MacIntyre signed linebacker Addison Gillam, who signed with San Jose State a year ago but grayshirted and decided to follow MacIntyre to Colorado, enrolling this semester. Also enrolled is Markeis Reed, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker from Napa, Calif., who graduated in December.
MacIntyre said keeping the 10 Colorado recruits who had committed to play for the former coaching staff “was the right thing to do, and I watched the film at the same time, and I felt like these were good football players, and I knew we were behind the 8-ball, and we needed to keep these guys, and we did.”
MacIntyre signed three in-state recruits – Mullen defensive end Timothy Coleman Jr., Denver South running back/defensive back Phillip Lindsay and Columbine offensive lineman John Lisella II – but pledged future classes would include more Colorado kids.