We spend a lot of time at this time of year talking about recruiting rankings for players and programs. Some folks live and die with the rankings from the major recruiting services. Others simply use them as a guide but not the end-all-be-all in judging a recruit or a class.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I think the rankings definitely have some merit. All you need to do is look at the teams with the highest ranked classes each year and you typically see a correlation to the top-25 polls. There are always some exceptions. For instance, Colorado recruited a top-15 class in 2008 and didn’t sniff the polls. Boise State has never recruited a top-10 class but it has regularly been ranked in the top-10 in recent years.
There are always guys who don’t get a lot of respect on the recruiting trail but end up being good or even great college players. Here are 10 guys for my All-Under-Recruited team at CU over the past decade. They are all guys who were ranked with two or fewer stars by one or more recruiting services and I didn’t consider junior college transfers.
1. Joel Klatt — The guy became the program’s career leader in most major passing categories after hardly being recruited and a minor league baseball career and first joining the program as a walk-on.
2. Jordon Dizon — He was just a two-star player no one knew much about when he arrived. He didn’t even know what position he would be playing until three days into his first fall camp when he settled in at linebacker. Left as one of the most accomplished linebackers in school history and a runner-up for the Butkus Award.
3. Scotty McKnight — Will leave the program after next season likely holding most of the school’s major receiving records. He joined the program as a walk-on in 2006 when he could have gone to Boise State on scholarship.
4. Daniel Sanders — A one-star recruit back in 2004 who came to Boulder and found a way to contribute on the offensive line in four seasons, including being the starting center for two full years.
5. Brad Jones — A two- or three-star player, depending on the service, who was a major contributor in four seasons. Ended up starting for the Green Bay Packers at the tail end of this past season.
7. Rodney Stewart — A last minute addition to the heralded 2008 class who was an after-thought on signing day. He’s been the team’s most accomplished rusher for two consecutive seasons now.
8. Nate Solder — Originally came to CU as a tight end. Made the switch to left tackle and has started every game there for two seasons, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches last fall.
9. Cha’pelle Brown — A small guy who always played big as a four-year contributor. Played in every game during his career and finished among the top 30 tacklers in the program’s history.
10. Brian Iwuh — One of the hardest-hitting Buffs ever. Finished his career among the top-50 tacklers in the program’s history and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches as a senior.
Others: Byron Ellis, Jake Behrens, Sam Wilder, Marwan Hage, Evan Judge, John Torp