Courtesy of CU Athletic Department
Colorado football coach Mel Tucker is a firm believer in winning the fourth quarter. It is how you build elite programs.
That philosophy applies to recruiting as well, and Tucker delivered a big fourth quarter win Wednesday, closing out his second recruiting class at Colorado with three more standout players.
The newest Buffs are defensive back Will Anglen, running back Ashaad Clayton and running back Jayle Stacks — three players who also represent Tucker’s philosophy of nationwide recruiting as well as protecting his home turf. Anglen comes from Cleveland, Ohio; Clayton hails from New Orleans; and Stacks from Colorado.
Tucker’s 2020 recruiting class now includes players from 11 states — literally stretching from coast to coast — and one foreign country. In the process, Colorado’s coaching staff also proved it can recruit against anyone and deliver.
“We identify guys early, guys we know can help our program and build this thing the right way, building towards a championship football team,” Tucker said. “It doesn’t really matter to me where he is or who else is recruiting him. You’re not going to get those caliber players if you don’t go after them. They’re not just going to drop in your lap. You have to go out there and you have to recruit them. We have confidence in our program that we can.”
Anglen and Clayton also represent Colorado’s re-entry into some of the nation’s most fertile recruiting grounds. Louisiana has been a top producer of college talent for years — including former CU quarterback great Kordell Stewart — while the Cleveland area is a place where Tucker struck gold more than once when he was an assistant coach at Ohio State.
Anglen’s Glenville High School, led by legendary prep coach Ted Ginn Sr., has been a particularly rich producer of talent. That’s where Tucker found future Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and first-round NFL draft pick Donte Whitner, and where Ted Ginn Jr. and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones also prepped.
“When you get a kid out of Glenville, you know exactly what you’re getting,” Tucker said. “You’re gonna get guys that love football — tough, hard-nosed kids that are going to compete that have high ceilings. I’ve had a lot of success with Ted Ginn Sr. with his guys.”
As for Clayton, the Buffs had to fend off multiple offers from other major programs down the stretch, and the four-star running back stuck with his original commitment.
Stacks, meanwhile, comes from Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, where he was teammates with another member of the 2020 class, offensive lineman Carson Lee.
Tucker and his staff proved last year that players who deserve to see the field will get their chance right away. Last season, 14 first-year freshmen saw action for Colorado, with five freshmen starting a total of 33 games.
“A big selling point to all these guys was the opportunity to play early, play as freshmen,” Tucker said. “A lot of the kids that you recruit now, that’s what they want to do — redshirting is not really part of the discussion. We need to have more competition on our roster and you do that through recruiting. Competition makes everyone better. Everyone has to step their game up, and we’ve demonstrated that we will play freshmen.”
Tucker expects several players from this year’s class to vie for playing time right away. “We’re expecting these guys to come in ready to compete on offense, defense and special teams,” Tucker said. “We’ll figure out and re-evaluate the situation as we go, but if they earn the time, they’ll get it.”
This year’s class also includes outside linebacker Jason Harris from Gilbert, Ariz. Harris announced his decision in early January at a high school all-star game.
Here’s what Tucker had to say about the latest members of the Buffs’ recruiting class:
DB WILL ANGLEN, 6-3, 195, Cleveland, Ohio (Ginn Academy/Glenville) — “He’s already 6-2 and some change and 195 pounds,” Tucker said. “A very athletic kid who’s got position versatility — he can play corner or safety. Great kid, really good toughness and loves football. We’re really excited about him.”
RB ASHAAD CLAYTON, 6-0, 200, New Orleans, La. — “We feel like he’s a difference-maker type back,” Tucker said. “It was a really good fit for us and a really good fit for him. Academics are important to him. He knows getting a degree from here is going to carry some weight. From a football football standpoint, he knows he has an opportunity to play right away. We’re going to play the best players and we want to play multiple backs. That’s something that appealed to him. He really bought into the culture that we’re building here and and the type of team that we want to have.”
OLB JASON HARRIS, 6-7, 230, Gilbert, Ariz. — “We didn’t have anyone like him on our roster with that type of length, that athleticism. Recruiting pass rush is so important and he’s a guy that checked all those boxes. His length and fast twitch are what we need, he has a great pedigree (his father played in the NFL) and he’s really passionate about the game.”
RB JAYLE STACKS, 5-11, 225, Aurora — “We targeted him because we wanted a big back. We wanted a guy that can move the pile and get those tough yards. We want to be able to hammer people with the right game. At 225 pounds, he’s going to be one of the bigger backs in this conference. He’s a really good athlete. I saw him catch a touchdown pass lined up in the slot, so he’s versatile. He’s got really good hands.”