Embree discusses recruiting

Colorado football coach Jon Embree has the better part of two weeks during the dead period to take a step back from his pursuit of recruits, evaluate some film and develop a strategy for what will be a busy January in recruiting. What are his priorities for a small 2011 class? Get inside for more?

Embree said Colorado will host recruits on campus probably every weekend in January once the dead period ends Jan. 3. He said the goal is to sign 12-15 players on national signing day Feb. 2.

CU already has four commitments along with one player, offensive lineman Alex Lewis, who will join the program in January after grayshirting this fall.

Embree said one of his priorities is landing a quarterback after parting ways with the two players who had been committed to the program at the position under former coach Dan Hawkins.

The coach said he already has identified two quarterbacks he described as "under the radar" whom he believes could help the program with depth next season. He plans to sign one of them.

"There are some options available for us still this year at the quarterback position," Embree said. "The reality of it is as I look at it is I've got to make sure I can get guys in this cycle that can fit in and help us."

With two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and several other players saying they want to try to prove they can play the position in spring ball, Embree would like to add one more solid option to the depth chart at quarterback for fall camp next August. But landing a quarterback he believes in is only one of his priorities.

Embree said the biggest holes on the roster are at wide receiver and cornerback, particularly looking into beyond next season, and he will be pursuing options there throughout January.

Adding two players at each of those positions would be ideal, considering the small overall size of the class.

He said he also is recruiting linebackers and the defensive line. He said he would like to add size to the defensive line, but he acknowledged that will likely happen over time through several recruiting classes before it is where he wants it to be. He said landing big defensive linemen with the skill, strength and speed to play at the highest level is one of the most competitive parts of recruiting.

"You can't have enough d-linemen," Embree said. "Those guys, if they can't play on the defensive line, they can become offensive linemen."

Embree said he believes the program is probably solid in terms of total numbers on the offensive line, but he didn't rule out possibly taking one more offensive lineman in this class.

The program has only one longsnapper returning next season and Embree has no plans to use a scholarship on another one. He said he will work with players in spring ball to see who else can fill in there if needed.

Kicking and punting is an area where Embree might have the most questions right now. Why? There isn't much film of any of the place-kickers on the roster because they received so few opportunities last season.

Ultimately, he might be content to go through a season with what he has and add another kicker or punter to the roster in the 2012 recruiting cycle.

"We're looking to see if there is the right guy," Embree said.

Embree said he plans to talk with punter Zach Grossnickle to see if he has any interest in place-kicking, something he did in high school. He also plans to see if place-kicker Justin Castor wants to challenge Grossnickle for the punting job.

Marcus Kirkwood also could figure into the place-kicking job.


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