Like many of his peers, Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell returned from the regular season finale in late November, packed his bags and hit the road to recruit.
For years, this has been a common schedule of a college coach.
Given the changes in the landscape, however, Dorrell admitted on Wednesday that it might have been in his best interests to delay his recruiting trips and focus on his current squad members.
CU had 22 scholarship players on the NCAA transfer portal. Some of them were expected and even encouraged. Some weren’t, however, as the Buffs lost multiple starters. Some of those decisions were made in early December when Dorrell and his team were on the road.
“All their explanations or reasons are different; they are never the same,” Dorrell said. “But I know it will be important that we have great communication and great feedback from coaches and players, to make sure that we understand a young player’s progress, that we give him great instructions about what what he needs to do in the near future to keep improving.
CU’s season finale at Utah took place Nov. 26. The first period for signing National Letters of Intent recruits was December 15-17. This quick turnaround creates a sense of urgency for all coaches to hit the road and ensure they are signing the best class possible.
In doing so, however, the 2021 squad players haven’t had a chance to sit down with Dorrell to review their season or determine their future.
“I started recruiting right after the season and I probably look back on it, looking back, maybe it wasn’t the most appropriate thing to do,” he said. “I probably should have had an interview process right after the season just to check in with all of our players and have discussions about their experience, where they need to go from here, things of that nature.”
It’s a process that usually happens at some point in the offseason, but the transfer portal has changed the urgency. The transfer portal is still fairly new and just 10 months ago the NCAA announced that players could transfer once without spending a season. This changed the dynamics of the transfer process.
“I think all the coaches, just talking with other head coaches across the country, we have to make sure that we’re pretty much in line with our current players, even though we’re in a recruiting process for add more along the way,” Dorrell said. “But I think communication needs to be improved and we’ll continue to work on those things so we’re all on the same page in case anyone one would be disappointed or someone would think about entering the portal Maybe we will get a chance to talk about this particular player and maybe get a fix before he actually enters the portal There’s definitely a lot to learn from that.”
During a roundtable with the media last month, Dorrell said there had been talks between the coaches about implementing a recruiting dead-end for the first week after the regular season to let time for player interviews. There is also a nationwide discussion about changing the date of the early signing period.
Work to do
So far this offseason, CU has added 30 players to the roster and plans 86 scholarship players for next season. The Buffs must be 85 NCAA maximum by the end of the summer.
However, the Buffs aren’t done shaping the 2022 roster. There’s usually some attrition after the spring and Dorrell said the Buffs have needs in certain areas.
“With a handful of numbers we still have left, picking up an extra offensive lineman or an extra defensive lineman (would be ideal),” he said. “We can try to get an extra running back at some point. … We might want to pick up another piece (in the secondary).
“We have to be fluid with how things are going in terms of the climate. … We’re going to have three or four that we think we can add before the summer jobs that can bolster some of the positions that might require another scholarship or two.
Brady Kopetz, a tight end from Lincoln (Oregon) High School, and Chernet Estes, a defensive back from Lake Travis (Texas) High School, both announced that they have committed to CU as favorite extras. … The last time CU added 30 new recruits was in 2002. … Nine of CU’s 22 high school recruits are from Texas. It has been the largest group in Texas since 10 in 2002.