Earlier in the week I wrote about Utah and the challenges they face in recruiting against schools like USC and UCLA with not a lot of elite talent in their own state. The other new(ish) program in the Pac-12, Colorado, faces the exact same challenges and must use some of the same strategies to overcome their disadvantages in order to compete.
The state of Colorado only has two 4 star players in the 2015 recruiting cycle according to Rivals.com and both of those players aren't committed to play for the Buffs. If they can't get the top players from within the state, they need to work even harder to compete in recruiting because they aren't going to win many big out of state battles with other teams in the conference.
They need to be resourceful and find those players who might not have the highest ranking, but have the upside to develop into the kind of players that can compete with those 4 and 5 star studs choosing other programs in the Pac-12. The addition of running back Donald Gordon yesterday to their 2015 recruiting class is a perfect example of the type of player they need to target in recruiting.
Although Gordon has a 4 star ranking from ESPN, he's not considered a blue chip player by most recruiting sites and doesn't have the offer list that would match up with other top backs on the west coast. That's a good thing for Colorado though because, as I mentioned above, they aren't going to win many of those battles with players that have bigger offers.
Regardless of the offer list, Gordon shows on film why ESPN considers him better than the rest of the experts. He has very good feet and is able to jump cut and explode up the field. Even though he does not have great size, he is a very good inside runner that gets skinny in traffic and reads his blocks well.
He plays much bigger than his size would indicate as a runner and breaks a surprising amount of tackles. He's a slippery player in the open field and flashes a big time spin move. Here's an example of his running ability in traffic:
That's the kind of run you see again and again from Gordon. He has good speed and can break the occasional long one if given a crease, but it's this kind of play where he should have been tackled for a much shorter gain and turns into a first down that impresses me the most.
Finding a player like Gordon is essential to the future success of Colorado in the Pac-12. He has the chance to develop into a quality running back for the Buffs and could easily surpass the expectations of of many of the recruiting sites when he gets to next level.