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Fairchild signs 25 in first recruiting class

Head Coach Steve Fairchild

Head Coach Steve Fairchild

Feb. 6, 2008

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First class is first class...Steve Fairchild this afternoon is announcing his initial recruiting class as Colorado State head coach...The class includes 21 current high-school seniors and four junior-college players...Three of the high-school players are expected to delay their enrollment until 2009 and another, S/WR Drew Reilly, is expected to miss at least two seasons on an LDS mission.


Super Wednesday...Defensive back Gerard Thomas from Kissimmee, Fla., was the first member of the new recruiting class to officially join the Rams, submitting his National Letter of Intent to the football office at 6:20 a.m. MST; Fairchild's administrative assistant Linda Krier said Thomas' materials were sitting on the fax when she arrived at 6:30 this morning. All 24 other letters were received by 12 noon.

  • The NCAA allows Division I-eligible players to formally declare their future plans beginning at 7 a.m. in the player's time zone, on the first Wednesday each February. Track and field, hockey, soccer and men's water polo also receive letters today.
  • The process actually gives value to technology that is quickly becoming obsolete -- the FAXmachine. The FAXis critical on signing day because  it allows a school's compliance department to proof the paperwork before giving the media relations permission to announce the signing. Without the FAX, the process would be delayed by at least 24 hours. Colorado State still asks its signees to send the letter via overnight mail, because the school needs to submit the materials to the Mountain West Conference.


Condensation...The football recruiting process begins in the fall of a player's junior year, giving schools nearly a year and-a-half to schedule on-campus and in-home visitations, complete scouting evaluations, strategize and prioritize future needs, and interview a prospect's coaches. Due to the recent coaching change at CSU, the Rams had to condense that process from 17 months to less than four weeks.

  • Fairchild, who didn't even set foot on campus until Jan. 4, still has boxes to unpack in his office. His first order of business was to recruit coaches, and the CSU coaching staff wasn't even finalized until only 14 days ago, when Fairchild hired former Rams quarterback Anthoney Hill.
  • Still, that staffwas able to somehow sign 25 players, one of CSU's largest classes in recent history. One year ago, the Rams announced 23 additions on signing day.

Colorado's team...The Dallas Cowboys might be America's team, but if recruiting is any indication, Colorado State is Colorado's team. While a new coaching staff has shifted the Rams' connections and changed the team's recruiting pipelines across the country, one aspect remains consistent: The team believes it cannot win without consistently securing talent from its own backyard.

  • The Rams 2008 signees by state:

Colorado              11

California             8

Texas    3

Florida  2

Montana             1


  • CSU's 11 players from Colorado are its most from the state in 11 years. On the heels of 10 home-state additions in 2007, the Rams have signed 21 such players in the last 366 days.
  • Since Sonny Lubick arrived in 1993, the Rams now have signed 108 players from Colorado:

2008       11

2007       10

2006       6

2005       7

2004       9

2003       3

2002       2

2001       6

2000       4

1999       8

1998       8

1997       11

1996       6

1995       6

1994       6

1993       5

Totals    108


Making CSU visible...In addition to Colorado, Fairchild is committed to building recruiting relationships in the nation's areas that have consistently proven to produce some of college football's best players. Those areas are Southern California and the Bay Area, Florida and Texas. All but one player in the Rams' 2008 class comes from those states.


In Texas...The Rams are committed to recruiting more players from Texas, for several reasons. First, a general rule in recruiting is to target the largest population base nearest your home -- and that's Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is only an hour and 40-minute flight from Denver, and teams practice year-round, thanks to the weather. The Mountain West also has some exposure in the state, with TCU.

  • This year the Rams signed three from Texas, their most in recent memory. From 2004-07, the Rams signed only five from the state, including a quarterback who wound up starting as a true freshman, Caleb Hanie from Forney, Texas.


Road warrior...Fairchild at one point over the last whirlwind month was in Florida, Texas and California -- all within a single 24-hour stretch. He also had a stop that day planned for Arizona, but cancelled. He visited an estimated 30 high schools within the last month.


Speaking of Warriors...Both DE Matt Weems (Arapahoe; Littleton, Colo.) and S Adam Wilson (Righetti; Santa Maria, Calif.) were Warriors in high school.


A pair of Vikings...Both DT Ja'Rodd Watson (La Jolla, Calif.) and Byron Steele (Lamar; Arlington, Texas) were Vikings in high school.


A pair of Falcons...Both OL Joe Capriolglio (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Sevaro Johnson (Freedom; Oakley, Calif.) were Falcons in high school.


A pair of Mustangs...Both RB Jonathan Gaye (Mullen, Denver) WR Ryan Gardner (Rodriguez; Fairfield, Calif.) were Mustangs in high school.

Choice City Quarterbacks...In consecutive years now, the Rams have signed Fort Collins' top quarterback. This year, they added Alex Kelly from Rocky Mountain, the QB on the all-Colorado teams of both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Last year, the Rams signed Matt Yemm from, who led Fort Collins High School to the state semifinals in 2006.


Plenty of JC kids...The Rams signed four junior-college players, one of their larger such figures this decade. It's probably not a coincidence, though. Two of the Rams' coaches, Steve Fairchild and Daren Wilkinson, were themselves junior-college players who signed at CSU and wound up starting at quarterback.


The CSU family...Several of the recent signings have bloodline connections with current or former CSUpersonnel, or the Mountain West.

  • S Davis Burl's grandfather, Alex, is in CSU's athletic hall of fame as a track and football student-athlete, as well as for his contributions to youth and high school sports over a distinguished career in the Denver public school system.
  • K Ben DeLine's father, Steve, is a former record-setting kicker at CSU who later kicked in the NFL. DeLine owns the school's second-longest field goal, a 60-yarder. The family has a history of successful kickers. Steve's brother Dave was a kicker at Colorado.
  • DeLine's high school coach, Aaron Finch of Steamboat Springs, formerly was an offensive lineman for CSU during Steve Fairchild's playing career.
  • Signee Drew Reilly's brother is a reserve on the University of Utah's basketball team. Reilly made his official visit to CSU last weekend, in time for to join his father in watching the older Reilly's Utes team in Moby Arena.
  • Defensive tackle Ja'Rodd Watson's brother E.J., was an all-star running back at CSU who helped the Rams to back-to-back conference titles and Holliday Bowl appearances in 1994 and '95.
  • Jake Landers' older brother, Wade, is a three-year lettermen for the Rams as a defensive lineman.


The need for speed...In one day, the Rams have improved their team speed dramatically. Six signees have clocked times at 4.5 or below in the 40-yard dash: Jonathan Gaye (4.35), Ryan Gardner (4.3), Davis Burl (4.38), Gerard Thomas (4.5), Micheal Connor (4.5) and Chris Gipson (4.5).

High School (18)
NamePosHtWtHometown/Last School
Burl, DavisS6-2205Aurora, Colo./Grandview
Caprioglio, JoeOL6-5247Highlands Ranch, Colo./Highlands Ranch
Clements, AndyS6-0185Littleton, Colo./Chatfield
Connor, MichealRB5-10195Lubbock, Texas/Frenship
DeLine, BenK5-11150Steamboat Springs, Colo./Steamboat Springs
Gaye, JonathanRB6-0178Highlands Ranch, Colo./Mullen
Gipson, ChrisLB6-0232Dallas, Texas/Kimball
Kelly, AlexQB6-2205Fort Collins, Colo./Rocky Mountain
Klingerman, JasonFB/TE 6-1260Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center
Landers, JakeOL6-3 300Durango, Colo./Durango
Law, MarquiseWR6-4195Miami, Fla./American
* Reilly, DrewS/WR6-3175Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center
Steele, ByronWR/DB6-3190Arlington, Texas/Lamar
Tedford, BenDE6-6222Littleton, Colo./Columbine
Thomas, GerardDB5-9165Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola
Tiedgen, ZachDE6-5215Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge
Watson, Ja'RoddDT6-2260La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla
+ Wilson, Adam DB6-1200Orcutt, Calif./Righetti

Junior College (4)

NamePosHtWtHometown/Last School
+ Albritton, ScottLS6-4230San Diego, Calif./Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College
Gardner, Ryan WR6-1180Fairfield, Calif./Diablo Valley College (Calif.)
Johnson, SevaroDT6-3300Oakland, Calif./Laney College (Calif.)
Stewart, SamDE6-3 260 Garden Grove, Calif./Santa Ana (Calif.) College

2009 Enrollment (3)

NamePosHtWtHometown/Last School
Becker, Justin OL6-7230Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge
Gragert, JordanOL6-3240Libby, Mont./Libby
Weems, MattDE6-4227Centennial, Colo./Arapahoe

* - will serve mission; could be available as early as Fall 2010
+ - enrolled at Colorado State for Spring 2008 semester




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