When it comes to football recruiting in the West, few people can match the expertise of Greg Biggins of www.PacWestFootball.com and The Insiders. Biggins took time out this week to update Colorado State fans on the state of CSU's incoming recruiting class, and the Rams prospects for the future.
MK: For years around here, we've all heard that "CU recruits "1's" while CSU recruits "2's"...meaning of course that CSU can't recruit the same 'blue chip' type of player that Colorado gets. Is that the case?
Biggins: I think that might be true nationally, just because of national perceptions, but it's certainly not true locally. In-state, CSU is able to recruit just as effectively as Colorado, because everyone there knows about Sonny Lubick and his staff, and the great job that they've done in recent years.
MK: Sonny has been very happy with his last two recruiting classes. Will he be just as happy with this one?
Biggins: Oh yeah. I definately think so. I'm a huge Lubick fan, and once again, they got some guys I really like a lot - especailly the kids they've taken out of California. It's a class that's at least equal to last year's...and that was a great class.
MK: Who are the standouts in CSU's class as you see it?
Biggins: Blake Smith, Jon Nichols, Adam Gabriel, Darryl Williams. I'm leaving out some, too. Colorado State seems to have developed something of a pipeline out of California. I don't really like to use the term 'blue-chipper,' but someone like (WR) Jon Nichols could play anywhere in the PAC 10.
MK: Colorado State continues to put a major emphasis on recruiting California kids. Is that a good plan?
Biggins: California is one of the three states - Texas and Florida are the others - that's really a fertile recruiting ground, and anytime you can get in there and have success, you have to keep going back. Unlike kids from Texas and Florida, California kids don't mind leaving the state - there isn't a lot of pressure on them to stay home, because there's not as much passion for the sport as there is in some other places. A lot of Californians are transplants that haven't grown up with a passion for the state, or one particular team. The word is out in California that Colorado State treats the kids very well, and the high school coaches in California know it. They aren't afraid to steer a kid that way.
MK: Teams always want to focus their best efforts on the in-state kids, yet last year, Sonny got more players from California than Colorado. That might happen again. Is that a good move, or could turning away from the in-state players backfire?
Biggins: It just so happens to be not a super great year in Colorado. So, if you're Sonny, and you can get an 'A' prospect out of California, rather than taking a 'B' guy from Colorado, you have to take the California kid. That's the situation the last couple years. Of course they're going to take their very best shot at getting the 'A' kids from in-state, but after that, you have to look elsewhere, and California is working for them.
MK: What is the 'image' of Colorado State among the better players nationally?
Biggins: Sort of unknown, I guess. From a national standpoint, I don't think many kids understand the situation. Especially back east. Rival coaches will tell these guys that if they go to a Mountain West school, they'll never play in a BCS game, and that's probably true. Being in the Mountain West does not keep CSU out of the living rooms of top prospects, but it certinaly keeps them from signing most of them. The (CSU) coaching staff, because they are so good, gets them in a lot of living rooms, but it's fair to say that the conference keeps them from signing many. Among the people who do understand and learn about a place like Colorado State, the image is very good.
MK: What does the transfer of Marcus Houston to CSU do for the image of the program?
Biggins: It definately helps their image nationally. It was all over ESPN, and all that. It sends a message to players - in Colorado especially - that Sonny's program is first rate, and it's a great place to go.
MK: Where does CSU 'rank' in national recruiting this year as you see it? How important is that ranking?
Biggins: We only do rankings because we have to. Everyone seems to want it. It's so subjective, and with football players, it's so hard to know who's going to pan out and who's not. They have so much maturing to do physically. If I had to rank Colorado State, I'd put them in the ballpark of being in the top 40 somewhere.
For more from Greg Biggins, log on to www.theinsiders.com and www.pacwestfootball.com .