Mack Brown has established himself as the king of early recruiting in the Big 12. But if Brown is the king, then Colorado coach Gary Barnett is certainly a prince and definitely in line to become the next coach sitting on the throne.
Why you ask?
Because Colorado has assembled one of the best early recruiting hauls in the Big 12 and in the entire nation. The Buffs Class of 2002 is already littered with solid commitments that any team would love to have on their list and the class has already done a solid job of addressing needs.
How you ask?
Start at the top with Marrero (La.) Shaw cornerback Sammy Joseph. Joseph, who is 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, is one of the better cornerbacks in the nation. He had been an early selection to the Rivals100 team and is likely to return to the team shortly because of his solid coverage skills and amazing athletic ability. He ran a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash at the Colorado elite camp, to go along with a 4.12 shuttle time and a 39-inch vertical.
"Boulder is where I wanted to be for quite some time," Joseph said. "Where else can you play in the best conference in the country (Big 12), and play for one of the best teams in college football."
Joseph also had high praise for some other future teammates of his.
"Vance Washington is a great player," Joseph said about the Houston cornerback. "Akarika Dawn is also a very good player. Man is he fast for his size. None of us watching him could believe how good he could move for his size."
But the hits - or the blue-chippers don't stop there - for the Buffs.
College coaches were drooling over Boulder, Colo., standout receiver Tyler Littlehales before he committed to the Buffs early on.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Littlehales is amazing athlete that combines what it takes to be a solid receiver in the Big 12. To go along with his size, he has great athletic ability - which is proven by his 4.4-second time in the 40, a 32-inch vertical leap and a squat of 420 pounds. He uses all of those tools to go up and get the ball over defenders, which also makes him a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to Colorado's early success.
"This is the best situation for anybody," Littlehales said. "Where else can you play in this backdrop and in front of some of the best fans in college football."
The Buffs have also done a solid job of addressing needs. There is no question that Barnett needs to stock up on solid offensive linemen and this class is already building the building blocks of the future with Flower Mound, Texas, standouts Del Scales and Fred Staugh and Arvada (Colo.) Pomona guard Jack Tipton.
CU also wanted to grab a solid quarterback prospect for the future, and James Cox Simi Valley (Calif.) Royal is a solid dual-threat quarterback that is in the mold of Craig Ochs. With a solid senior season, look for Cox to move up the recruiting rankings.
So by mid-August, Colorado has already built itself a solid foundation for the future and a recruiting class that has top 25 written all over it. With a few more major pieces - and blue-chippers like Kasey Studdard, Chris Hollis, Zach Lattimer, Donald Burgs and several others - this could be the best CU class in recent memory.
And we're talking about an even better class than the one that included both Ochs and Marcus Houston.