University of Colorado Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre addressed the media Wednesday afternoon at CU’s Dal Ward Athletic Center in a thorough examination of the Buffs’ incoming recruits. A total of 27 young men — 22 high schoolers and five junior college transfer student-athletes — have signed letters of intent to play football at the university in 2017. Out of those 27, 11 are already enrolled at CU.
The Buffaloes’ 27 signees in 2017 is the most that MacIntyre has had during his tenure at CU; his previous high mark was the 25 players recruited in 2014. In total, the Buffs have lost 32 lettermen from 2016. Colorado’s defense takes a particular hit heading into the team’s 2017 opener against the Colorado State Rams on Sept. 1 — only three of the team’s starting defensive 11 will return for this upcoming season.
MacIntyre seemed pleased with the state of his recruiting class during this year’s national signing day.
“Our coaching staff [and] everybody that touches our program did a phenomenal job,” MacIntyre said. “We hit what we wanted to hit [and I] feel very good about where we are.”
Coming off a 10-4 season in which Colorado took the Pac-12 South title and played in its first bowl game since 2007 had its advantages.
“[The success of last season] did open a few other doors,” MacIntyre said. “We had to turn away some really good football players, which we really haven’t had to do in the past. We’ve already got commitments for next year and kids that already want to commit.”
One commit of particular interest is Tyler Lytle. A resident of Redondo Beach, California, the 6-foot-5-inch quarterback committed in June.
“I saw a really great opportunity,” Lytle said. “I committed [before] Colorado had all that success and I really believed in [the program] then. When they got off to a great start, things really came to a fruition. When Colorado started having success, people really bought in, and I think that’s why we carried so much momentum.”
MacIntyre said Lytle could very well find himself as a horse in the race to snag the Buffs’ starting quarterback position.
“We were looking for a great quarterback — we feel like we found a great quarterback, and we were also looking for a quarterback that could come in in January,” MacIntyre said. “We have three quarterbacks on scholarship now [for] spring practice, so we’ll be getting all three of those guys ready to compete for the job. We’re excited about Tyler.”
Another recruit for the Buffaloes is the well-known offensive tackle Jake Moretti, who is Lytle’s roommate. Moretti, who is already enrolled at Colorado, is an Arvada native who decommitted from Ohio State in order to pledge his services to the Buffaloes. The 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound force could see action on Colorado’s offensive line as early as this upcoming season.
“It [was] a difficult decision, but it’s hard to pinpoint one thing about CU,” Moretti said. “In the end, it’s a really great overall school, and it was hard to pass up an opportunity like this.”
One of the Buffaloes most dynamic incoming recruits is wide receiver KD Nixon. The 5-foot-8-inch, 170-pound wideout from DeSoto, Texas, has the potential to shuffle things up for the Buffs’ already explosive receiving core. His style of play and stature fits Colorado’s M.O. of starting smaller but speedier wideouts that win a lot of their routes and are good blockers.
Nixon was listed as a four-star recruit by 247sports.com and had offers from over 20 universities, including Arizona State, Texas, Cal and Oklahoma State.
“[He’s] a really fast and athletic guy,” MacIntyre said. “[He] can make play after play. He has that charisma and has that ‘it’ factor [and] is just a great leader in this recruiting class. To me, KD was one of those guys who was a leader … a guy that really wanted to be at CU.”
In addition to the signing day festivities, on Wednesday it was announced that offensive tackle Sam Kronshage and center Colin Sutton had opted to end their collegiate football careers and graduate this May. Additionally, tailback Dino Gordon, wide receiver Justin Jan and linebacker Christian Shaver will not be returning to the program this fall.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.