Clearing the Way

Mike MacIntyre's hire at Colorado has had a big effect on the commitment of Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic offensive tackle Gunnar Graham, in Visalia, Calif., this week for the Cal State Game.

VISALIA, Calif. -- If there was any doubt how committed Gunnar Graham is to Colorado, the hiring of Mike MacIntyre utterly erased it.

"I was a little bit wishy-washy; I was getting some contact from other schools, other coaches, but I stuck through it," Graham said of his commitment during the time between when Jon Embree was fired and when MacIntyre was announced as the Buffaloes' new head coach. "We've got a great coach coming in, and I'm solidly with CU."

Graham -- who will be playing left guard on Saturday in the Cal State Game for the North squad -- was instantly sold on MacIntyre's hire, mainly because of his experience being recruited by MacIntyre, who pursued the Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic road-grader while still at San Jose State.

"I love it. That's why I think I'm going to stay with CU, just because MacIntyre's coming in," Graham said. "I talked to him early in the season, because he was recruiting me to San Jose State a little bit, but that didn't really work through. Now that he's coming in to CU, it's going to be really nice, especially after what he's done at San Jose State. He's changed it from a 1-9 team to a 10-2 team."

Even without knowing who his offensive line coach will be in Boulder, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder is still plenty excited to get his college career started.

"For me, myself, I'm not sure yet about any other coaches, but all I know is that he's coming in, so that's good news for me," Graham said. "MacIntyre's really strong, really nose-to-the-grindstone kind of coach, who will run you into the ground and make you work and make you accomplish things."

First things first, though. After losing the Division III state title game last weekend, Graham and his Wildcats quarterback -- California-bound Jared Goff -- will hit the field one more time as teammates on Saturday at the Mineral King Bowl in Visalia, Calif.

"It's going to be really nice, especially after losing state last week," Graham said. "It's going to be really nice to just stay together, old guys playing together like we did. It's like a reunion, even though it's only been a week."
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