Being a head coach at a Power 5 program is every college football coach’s goal. However, a coach needs to be a top-notch recruiter to be successful at a Power 5 program. Mel Tucker has taken his first steps to be a successful recruiter for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Mel Tucker Buffs Up Colorado Defensive Line
The 2019 Colorado Buffaloes wound up finishing 8th in the Pac-12 in total defense (5,303 yards allowed) in 2019. There were growing pains on the defensive side adjusting to Tucker’s defensive philosophy. However, finishing 8th in the conference was an accomplishment despite giving up 30 or more points in the first nine games of the season.
Mel Tucker has already proven he can get talent to come to Boulder. On November 4, 2019, Tucker achieved his first major recruiting victory. Antonio Alfano, a five-star defensive end who spent his freshman year at Alabama, decided to transfer to Boulder. Tucker sent a message that he could recruit top talent to Boulder.
He also added four-star defensive end Jason Harris, a defensive lineman from Gilbert, Arizona. Harris, who is 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, is ranked 84th in the 2020 ESPN 300. These two additions of Harris and Alfano should help the Buffaloes’ defensive line win the battle in the trenches for years to come.
Strongest Position Group for Colorado Buffaloes: Wide Receiver
The 2020 Colorado Buffaloes will go into the season without arguably their top two threats at wide receiver in 2019. Laviska Shenault and Tony Brown combined for over half of the team’s receiving yards in 2019. On top of that, they had nine of the team’s 18 touchdown receptions.
Fortunately for the Buffaloes, Darrin Chiaverini, Colorado’s Wide Receivers Coach, has always been able to recruit effectively at wide receiver. Some of the players he has recruited include Shenault and K.D. Nixon. He was able to add another receiver, Brenden Rice from Chandler, Arizona, to the team. Rice is the son of Jerry Rice, arguably the best wide receiver to ever play football.
People nationally will be interested to see what the son of a legend can do, and that will get more eyeballs on Colorado football. Consequently, recruiting should be helped because more and more people will talk about Colorado nationally.
Colorado Buffaloes Get Four-Star Quarterback and Running Back
The Buffaloes improved their offensive weapons this recruiting cycle. They signed a four-star quarterback and got a commitment from another, according to the ESPN 300.
Brenden Lewis is a 6-foot-2, 205 pound quarterback from Melissa, Texas. Lewis has an outside chance at starting his freshman year. However, he will have to beat out Blake Stenstrom and Tyler Lytle. Lewis figures to be a starter down the line for the Buffaloes. He has one distinct advantage: being a quarterback who was recruited by the current coach of the team.
CU also got a commitment from four-star running back Ashaad Clayton. Clayton may be redshirted during his freshman year, but could get playing time behind Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham. Clayton figures to have a more prominent role down the line for the Buffaloes, but not necessarily in 2020.
What Does Strong Recruiting Mean For Future?
The Buffaloes having the 33rd-ranked recruiting class according to 247 Sports. However, they are still not seen as a threat regionally in the Pac-12. Colorado has the worst odds to win the Pac-12 in 2020 according to sportsbettingdime.com. However, the fact that Mel Tucker has had a year to implement his philosophy should help the Buffaloes improve. There is a lot to like with how Tucker has pursued higher-rated recruits such as Brenden Lewis and Antonio Alfano.
Winning the Pac-12 should not be expected from the Buffaloes this season. However, they should be able to have close games at home again. The Buffaloes have to be competitive at home and on the road in 2020. They struggled on the road in 2019, finishing with a 1-4 record. Winning more road games is integral to the Buffaloes being taken more seriously by other teams and fan bases within the Pac-12.
However, the goal remains the same for Colorado Buffaloes: Making a Bowl Game In 2020
Tucker has been praised for the job he has done on the recruiting front so far. However, recruiting is only part of the equation. Mel Tucker will have the opportunity to coach them and mold them into players that can help the Colorado Buffaloes win football games.
The Buffaloes made only one bowl game last decade. The culture change that Tucker has brought to start this new decade should result in the Buffaloes’ first bowl appearance since 2016. However, this culture change did not lead to a winning record in 2019. It is hard to buy the hype based off of Tucker’s first full recruiting cycle. On the surface, it looks like the recruiting is already better under Tucker. However, he must produce wins for fans to completely take notice of the improvements in recruiting he has made.