February 9, 2011

NSD 2011: The one(s) who got away

With National Signing Day 2011 wrapping up a week ago, I've decided to take a look at the top names Colorado State didn't sign in the Rams' most recent recruiting class.

Below are the top five players I felt CSU let slip away in 2011.

1. Adonis Ameen-Moore - running back - *** - Denver (Colo.) Mullen

It's not that Colorado State needed another running back in its 2011 recruiting class, but landing this local star would have been a huge edition with Dorian Brown and Kapri Bibbs. While Colorado looked to be in the discussion early, down the stretch it was clear CSU, Northwestern and Syracuse were the front runners.

"The losing streak doesn't turn me off, because I really like that coaching staff at Colorado State," Ameen-Moore told GoldandGreenNews.com in Septmeber. "I mean I really, really like this coaching staff and they know what they're doing. Plus, I love Fort Collins."

The 5-foot-10, 215 pound bruiser from the Denver area said he enjoyed his official visit to CSU, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

Destination: Syracuse

2. Adarius Rayner - defensive tackle - ** - Largo (Fla.)

Everyone knows how thin Colorado State was at the interior defensive line in the class of 2011, but the edition of Rayner was a big boost to that gap. However, Rayner became one of two commitments the Rams lost during the final two weeks before National Signing Day.

Following an official visit to Bloomington, Ind. on Jan. 28, it was clear that CSU wasn't the fit Rayner was wanting and Indiana Hoosiers' offensive line coach Greg Frey had the Florida prospect swing at his final pitch.

Destination: Indiana

3. Pat Meehan - inside linebacker - ** - Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln Way East

Colorado State broke new ground in its recruiting territory in the class of 2011 when it signed three-star Chicagoland running back Kapri Bibbs. And with the July commitment of Meehan, it looked as if a new pipeline area may be forming.

"I am looking for the game atmosphere," Meehan said before his official visit in October. "I want to see how the college is on game day and how hyped it is for the game. I think now that I am committed, it is more (the coaches) are going to take their time more and be more in-depth about the program and the school."

However, Meehan's official visit didn't go quite as he had hoped, as CSU revoked his scholarship soon after, telling the south Chicago prospect that he was now too small to hold an offer to play for the Rams and will have to look elsewhere.

Despite having the best season of his high school career as a senior, Meehan had remained true to CSU and had told other schools to back off on his recruitment since he was already committed. Meehan had to play catch up in the recruiting process, but eventually signed an LOI in-state.

Destination: Illinois State

4. Darius Johnson - offensive tackle - *** - Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips

It's easy to argue that you can never sign too many offensive linemen in a single recruiting class due to the time it takes them to adapt to the college game. Colorado State appeared to have another good offensive tackle in Johnson, who became the fifth player in three seasons to commit to the Rams from Dr. Phillips High School.

"The main reason I committed it because I know if I go to Colorado State (offensive line coach) Pat Meyer is going to take care of me," Johnson said after committing in July. "I know my other players like Nico (Ranieri) and Marquis (Hood) will take care of me too, but I know as a coach he is going to take care of me."

However Ranieri and Hood, both of whom were former teammates of Johnson at Dr. Phillips, are no longer with the CSU program - Ranieri transferred and Hood never made it to campus. Though Johnson never said, the lack of familiar faces looks to have been the straw that broke the camel's back as the three-star offensive tackle switched his commitment on Jan. 28.

Destination: Middle Tennessee State

5. Stefan McClure - cornerback - **** - Vista (Calif.)

Everyone knew it would be hard to keep McClure's interest, but early on in the recruiting process, the SoCal defensive back seemed to really like Colorado State and hopes were building that he would be the Pete Thomas-like headliner to the 2011 class. However, that strong interest McClure seemed to show would quickly disappear.

"I'm going to try to make it to (CSU)," McClure said back in April. "The only reason they aren't in the top five is because they I haven't really talked to the head coach and got to pick the DB's coaches mind and see how their defensive backfield works. I gotta make sure I can get their DB coaches' number the next time I talk to Coach Wilkinson. We talked last weekend and it was good talking to him (Daren Wilkinson). We talked about how their spring ball is going."

McClure would visit the Centennial State on an official, but it was Boulder rather than Fort Collins.

Destination: California

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