Buffs Ink Three Football Players

Three players signed letters of intent to play at Colorado Wednesday, the first day junior college or early high school graduates can sign letters of intent.

Two juco players and a high school football player signed with the Buffs Wednesday. As expected, juco quarterback Nick Nelson (Saddleback CC), defensive end Drew Hudgins (Highland CC), signed LOIs, as did inside linebacker Josh Hartigan, who graduated early from Northeast High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

All three will enroll at Colorado in January and participate in spring football practices. In addition, cornerback Jonathan Hawkins (originally committed to last year's class) will enroll in school in January as a true freshman and be in spring football.

Hudgins and Nelson will have three plays to play two. All four players named above will count toward the 2006 recruiting class.

Here's a look at the three newest Buffaloes.

Nick Nelson
6-2, 225, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Tesoro/Saddleback College)
Nelson was Saddleback's Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Mission Conference selection as a sophomore, when he completed 157-of-251 passes for 2,241 yards. He had 18 touchdowns against nine interceptions in completing 62.5 percent of his passes to go with a 154.1 passer rating. His single game high was 274 yards (with 2 TDs) against Allan Hancock, as he had seven 200-plus passing games. He was "activated" from a possible redshirt three games into his freshman season, coming off the bench to throw for 1,232 yards and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Saddleback went 11-1, reaching the semifinals of the regional playoffs, and won the Mission Conference in 2006.

A three-year letterman in football, he was Tesoro's Athlete of the Year his senior season. He was also named his team's Offensive Player of the Year and was a first team All-Pacific Coast League selection and a second team All-Orange County selection that same year, when he passed for 2,200 yards and had 24 touchdowns against just eight interceptions in completing 69 percent of his passes.

Drew Hudgins
6-5, 240, Spring Hills, Kan. (Spring Hills/Highland Community College)
Hudgins earned second-team JCAA All-American and first team All-Jayhawk Conference honors as a sophomore at Highland Community College, where he was the league leader in quarterback sacks with 19 (for a 176 yards in losses). He had 93 tackles overall (52 solo), with 36 for losses of 299 yards including the sacks. He also had eight passes broken up and two forced fumbles. His best game in the junior college ranks was in his finale in a 42-29 upset of No. 1 and eventual region champion Butler in 2006, when he had 10 tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble. HCC finished 3-6 his sophomore year, opening 2-0 before closing with the Butler win, and was 2-7 his freshman season under coach Keith Majors.

A four-year letterman in football, he was named first team All-Frontier League as a senior as he registered 72 total tackles, including 12 sacks.

Josh Hartigan
6-2, 215, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Northeast)
Hartigan was a three-year letterman and was named second team All-Broward County and was a team captain his senior year. Playing linebacker on defense in a 4-4 scheme, he had 100 tackles, including 10 tackles for losses and one quarterback sack, two fumble recoveries and seven passes broken up. He played a limited role on offense, catching five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown at wide receiver.

Playing defensive end as a junior he was an honorable mention All-Broward County selection, when he made 40 tackles (six sacks) and four passes broken up; he also played a blocking fullback on offense.

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