Incoming Players React

While CU officials declined to confirm or deny a Rocky Mountain News story Wednesday morning that stated <b>Gary Barnett </b>would be reinstated this week as head football coach at CU, the story's substance was good news for some of the CU football team's incoming class.

"I really didn't know how the situation would go, but I got a good feeling from Coach Barnett," said Patrick Williams, from DeSoto, Texas. "I'm happy to hear he got reinstated."

Charlie Sherman III, of Sacramento, Calif., said that despite the general tone of media in northern California about the controversy, he wasn't surprised by the news.

"I'm very happy," Sherman said. "I knew he was going to be reinstated because I know what a great guy he is. But all the articles that we had out here made it sound like he had no chance in coming back."

Asked if he ever doubted his decision to play at CU through all the controversy, Sherman said, "no."

Sherman will play either wide reciever or safety at CU. Asked what it was about the Barnett that made Sherman look forward to being part of the program, he said, "When he came to visit me he told my parents that he's going to be my new father figure, and I respected that a lot."

Barnett was placed on administrative leave with pay on Feb. 18 by CU president Elizabeth Hoffman in the midst of a firestorm of controversy surrounding the football program and its recruiting practices. Nine allegations of sexual misconduct involving football players and recruits dating back to 1997 have led to no charges. No NCAA violations have been uncovered.

Through the months-long controversy, Williams, who is expected to compete at wide receiver for the Buffs, admits he had some second thoughts about coming to CU, after signing a binding letter of intent to attend the university on Feb. 4.

"I had a few doubts, but I stayed positive," Williams said, adding that assistant coaches Chris Wilson and Ted Gilmore were helpful with answering questions throughout the ordeal when he or his parents had any.

Reggie Joseph, a wide receiver from LaPlace, La., said he was glad that Barnett would be his head coach, but that his decision to attend CU wouldn't have changed if Barnett had not been reinstated.

"With him there, it would be a new situation (for me)," Joseph said. "And even with him not there, it would have been something new to me. Colorado University is going to be Colorado University with or without Gary Barnett. But for me it's a new start on life, and I'm just going to roll with it."

Both Joseph and Williams have a chance to play as true freshman among a largely unproven receiving corps. Both players have been keeping in shape over the spring since football ended.

Williams recently anchored his DeSoto High School 4 x 200 relay team to a school record (1.25.61) in the Texas state championships. He says he's now hitting the weights in order to add some pounds to his 195-pound frame.

Joseph has been working out five times a week with strength and conditioning guru Tom Shaw outside New Orleans. Shaw's facility is frequented by pros, and aspiring pro football players.

"You get a lot of talent there, especially with the NFL Draft, you get a lot of experienced guys working out there," Joseph said. "I'm like a sponge out there."

Both Joseph and Williams said they plan to move to Boulder in July.

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