LAS VEGAS — Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. So while there has not been a lot for Colorado State fans to be excited about in recent years when it comes to the results on the field, there is reason to believe that things are trending in the right direction.
After signing one of the top classes in the Mountain West in the 2023 cycle, the staff have followed it up with an increasingly impressive group of 2024 prospects. Over the last six weeks or so, the Rams have added some of the highest ranked recruits in program history.
WR Jordan Ross (No. 2), QB Darrius Curry (No. 20), WR Donte Ferrell (No. 23), RB Jalen Dupree (No. 25) and WR Kory Hall (No. 31) would all rank amongst the top 50 players to ever sign with the Rams.
And that’s after the 2023 class featured RB Damian Henderson (No. 3), WR Mekhi Fox (No. 4), DE Kennedy McDowell (No. 13), RB Justin Marshall (No. 16), WR Lavon Brown (No. 21), DE DeAndre Gill (No. 22), QB Jackson Stratton (No. 24), OL Christian Martin (No. 42) and DL Whitfield Powell (No. 43).
While NCAA rules forbid coaches from commenting on specific individuals before they have signed a National Letter of Intent, at the annual Mountain West Media Days at the Circa Resort & Casino, Jay Norvell did say that it’s been a good summer for the staff on the recruiting trail.
After having recruiting weekends starting at the end of April and continuing through June, the Rams have been able to secure verbals from many of the the top guys that have come to visit Fort Collins. As Norvell explained, that’s really the busiest time of the recruiting season for the staff, and it’s when they try to get a jumpstart on the players they hope to sign. The coaches don’t try to play games or get too cute with the process. When they identify someone that fits the right profile, the hope is to get them on campus and offer them a scholarship as soon as possible.
“We tell them we want them, we get them on campus, and we try to close them,” Norvell said.
The second-year Rams coach continued by explaining that by attacking the recruiting trail with such directness, it’s been beneficial to their success. While other schools are still trying to figure out what they want, CSU gets right to business, which is something that the players appreciate.
“We’ve been able to get some really good players that the power five schools are kind of waiting on, or they’re down on the list,” Norvell said. “And it’s really helped us in recruiting.”
One of the regions where CSU has especially had success this cycle is Southern California — an area where wide receivers coach Chad Savage and tight ends coach James Finley have significant ties. Norvell credited both coaches for their efforts on the West Coast and the results that have stemmed from it.
“When Colorado State was having great years with Sonny Lubick, they were getting those kids out of those same areas. And so I think it’s important for our program,” Norvell said.
One of the reasons that Norvell left Nevada for CSU is because he believes that it can be one that contends for championships and plays in New Year’s Six Bowls. The type of football program that eventually moves up to a bigger conference. All of that starts, though, by bringing in the type of talent that can consistently compete at the highest level.
“That’s why we came to Colorado State. And I think we’re on that course.”
As far as what the recruiting pitch looks like, Norvell said it’s pretty simple. The campus, community and facilities are all tremendous. And they have an enthusiastic coaching staff that give players a chance to play a style that is appealing to them.
Going back to his time at Oklahoma where he worked with some of the most successful spread offenses in the country, the plan has largely been the same. They’re going to throw the football a lot and they’re going to find guys that will allow them to do it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.