Buffs can't finish second

Colorado coach Jon Embree preaches to his team about the art of finishing. Whether it's finishing a block, finishing a tackle, finishing a play, a game or an opponent. With only a little more than two months left in the 2012 recruiting cycle, it's up to Embree and his assistants to finish what might be the most important recruiting class in a generation. Get inside for more.

If the Buffs are going to make significant improvement in the Pac-12 Conference standings in the near future, such as the next two or three years, the program needs a large influx of talent as soon as possible. The best chance to add that talent is this year with the program able to offer as many as 28 scholarships with three counting back to last year's class.

Colorado football coaches are under the gun trying to land commitments from some talented players around the country while keeping those who have already pledged to be Buffs. CU must avoid continuing a problem that plagued the program throughout Dan Hawkins' tenure as coach – finishing second with the best talent.

How did the CU program get here, 2-10 once again in November 2011?

Plenty of factors play a part but one of the most significant issues is that CU simply hasn't recruited enough good players in recent years. You have seen it on the field each week this season, the Buffs are generally the smaller, slower, weaker team from top to bottom. That has to change before the final scores will begin to turn in Colorado's favor on a more consistent basis.

One of the Buffs' best talents is wide receiver Paul Richardson and the program even finished second with him when he was originally making his college decision. Only an off-the-field incident led Richardson to CU after he first signed with UCLA.

Look around the nation and throughout the Pac-12 Conference and you find players making valuable contributions to different teams after once considering CU in the recruiting process. Oregon linebacker Michael Clay is one example, Arizona State defensive lineman Junior Onyeali is another. Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake and defensive lineman Nosa Eguae are two more. The list is lengthy.

Every program in the nation misses on some of its targets. That will never change, but a team in rebuilding mode like Colorado is under even more pressure to land the cream of the crop because that's the only way to improve.

Once again this year, CU coaches are in the mix for some stellar talent. The Washington Post reported Sunday that four-star running back Wes Brown lists CU in his top-five. Brown doesn't do many interviews, but his former position coach and mentor Bernie Dancel told the paper why Brown likes Colorado along with Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and Michigan.

"He loves the coaches," Dancel told the paper. "He has a strong relationship with [Jon] Embree and [Eric] Bieniemy and have a bunch of NFL guys on the coaching staff there."

Other talented players CU is trying to lure to Boulder, include cornerbacks Ishmael Adams, Yuri Wright and Kenneth Crawley, defensive linemen Samson Kafovalu, Kisima Jagne and Kory Rasmussen, linebacker Reshawn Hooker, tight ends Taylor McNamara, Austin Ray and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, and offensive linemen Joey O'Connor, Shane Brostek and Zach Hemmila.

Embree and his staff absolutely must land a majority of these players and not just two or three of them to begin turning around the program and avoid prolonging the rebuilding process.

This group of coaches was noted for its recruiting prowess when the staff was assembled one year ago. Those reputations will be put to the test over these next two months as the 2012 cycle runs its course in December and January. It's a tall order and a tough sell with just two wins and early playing time to sell.

There should be around 70 players recruited by Embree in the program when fall camp begins next August. It's imperative that a hefty percentage of them are players the staff considers priorities and not second, third and fourth options.

The lower you drop down the list, the higher the chances are of a player not developing into a contributor or not panning out at all. There is way too much of that right now in Boulder.


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