Head Coach Jim McElwain introduces first class
Feb. 1, 2012
Head Coach Jim McElwain
"Well welcome guys. Really appreciate everybody coming and taking the time out of your busy day. Must be a slow news day out there, obviously. Well I appreciate everybody being here and we're really excited to announce this class. We're really excited to announce not only this class' signees, but this new group of guys who are driven to be successful and these new group of guys that are going to blend in with the old group that we have here. They can become great members of our team, of our family and of the CSU community. This is what we are really excited about."
"You know, before we go to the video on some of these guys, I wanted to kind of set a couple things in kind of the direction that we wanted to head with this class. First of all, one of the most important things that we felt we wanted to do was to get a solid group of pacesetters in this class. What I mean by pacesetters are guys that are not only successful on the field, but guys that were conference champions, state champions, and come from winning programs, guys that understand what it is and what it takes to be successful both on the field and off the field. Character was a major tag as we looked at our major pacesetters in this group because we want guys that are not only good all around, but guys that push the rest of your team and I think that is really important. When you look at it this is about guys who were team captains, I think there were 13 or 14 guys that were team captains, and guys that means they are leaders both off the field and on the field and I think that is very important. Especially, when you are developing an attitude and a direction for your program and your organization."
"The next thing I want to do is say this, this recruiting class was nothing about me; this recruiting class was about Colorado State and the great people who helped along the way. I tell ya, I was just taken aback about all the support that we have received on our visits; not only from the athletic department, but from the whole community, meaning the whole university. From the top, in the president's office, all the way through everybody associated with the organization and the key to success is everybody in the organization, no matter what that role is; all pulling and going in the right direction. That is something that I couldn't get over about the people getting out there to support and help us make sure on our visits, and throughout everything we did, to make this class be what it is that gave us all the help along the way. Again, I can't thank those people enough, and there isn't a long enough press conference where I can sit there and name every person that was involved in this process. When I talk about the process to be successful in any organization, it has to be everybody involved, everybody together, and everybody putting their best foot forward in making sure that these guys understand how important they are, in what they are coming into and that this place that is outstanding, both in education and in athletics. Those are the things that I think separate this class and really makes them special. Obviously they will hold a big piece of my heart, being the first to take that leap of faith into our program and into our university and I know that many of them in the future will be those that all of us are proud of and be proud members of this class, of this university, and for the future of this university. They will be great spokesmen, be great role models along the way and that is what I'm really proud of."
"With that guys, as we move forward on this process; there are a lot of ball coaches right now sitting up there telling you how great their recruiting classes are; I'm going to tell you this, I am really excited about the guys that are a part of this class and I'll tell you how good they are in about three years. There isn't one guy that I'm going to circle out and put the undo pressure on him being the marque on your class. We'll find out in about three years, and that is how it is, and that is how it should be. They need to develop in everything that we asked them to do and yet they have the character, they have the championship drive and they are prepared to be something special and they are prepared to be great. Once we get them here, we will work that, we will get them through all our process for them to be successful, not only as students, not only as players, but successful in the rest of their life. That is what it is all about."
"So with that, what we're going to do is we're going to go to the video here. You guys can take a look and see who they are and what they are all about and then when we get done with that we'll go ahead and take some questions about the class. And one thing I want you guys to kind of know and I hope you will appreciate this, this is not about an individual who we sign, this is about a group of Rams. This is about a group that is going to come in together, bond with the rest of our team, to help our program and university be successful. That is what I'm really excited about."
Additional comments after watching highlight video:
"We're really excited to have them as a part of this class. I think one of the things when you look at what we wanted to accomplish is to answer some needs and we did feel that we needed to get a little bigger. I think you can see by some of the size in the guys we brought in with this class, we probably answered those needs. It goes with an old adage that a guy I used to work with would consistently remind me of, that guys in boxing, lightweights don't fight heavyweights. And one of the things we needed to do was make sure we are strong up the middle and strong on the line of scrimmage because when you are winning the battle in the trenches, you got a great chance of being successful. I felt we answered those needs."
"I also feel our guys did an outstanding job in the areas we needed to have as core recruiting areas for us. I think our balance in those areas was good. I feel very strongly we've got our guys from Colorado. I think we did a really good job getting out and handling those needs in this state as well as California and Texas. Looking into some of our past, we will continue to keep those connections in the south and through connections with some of the other people that we've been associated with throughout coaching that do a great job developing talent throughout the country and I'm really excited about balance in those areas. One thing you also have to understand, the key component for this is roster management. Making sure in roster management that you don't have too many in one spot and have too many ups-and-downs classes where, the first rule of that is you want to have 15 to 17 (recruits) every year. That means you have good balance in every class. You don't want to be like, `Hey this year we've got to go get a ton of wideouts and get a ton of d-linemen.' You want to have balance throughout your class and that's where a program becomes a program that goes ahead and stays solid and doesn't have those ebbs and flows and that's where I feel really comfortable with what we did from the last roster-management standpoint. Again, I can't tell you how excited I am about these guys and what they bring as pacesetters and what they bring as winners and how they understand this is what we're supposed to do and this is how we are supposed to think.
"It's about a team of Rams to move forward and be successful; not only in the classroom or on the field but in life and that is the thing that we sell here. That is what we sell as the blueprint to success. Being accountable to each other, and understanding the importance of taking the I, me and my out of your vocabulary and sticking in us, we and our. That is the key to having a successful football team and a successful organization overall. Understand, selfishness gone. In with the team, in. So once we understand that, this is a part of the development of character and the development of a successful program."
On whether this class was put together with a list from the previous staff: "I think the thing is we did a great job on making sure we evaluate what is there. We did go out and pick up quite a few based on our connections, based on our evaluations, and worked feverishly through the night and on the road to make sure that we answered those character issues and pacesetter issues with each and every one of them. So as you can see there is a mix of both. Now one thing that we did do and I believe this as well, there were some of our players in this class that were committed and had commitments to the previous staff. You don't commit to a coach, you commit to a university. I felt it was important we stood behind some of those as well; the ones that waned to still be a part of a great university that is on the move."
On in-state recruiting: "It's not only about where, but it's about the quality, who those guys are and what they can bring to the program. I think we made great inroads getting into as many schools as we can. I think a big thing for us will be spring, to be able to get out and touch the whole state because I wasn't able to get to every school. We are going to do everything we can to get to every part of the state and make sure they understand that we are here for that."
On differences between recruiting as a head coach and assistant coach: "As an assistant you are able to get out and see a kid every week. As a head coach you are limited to a 24-hour period and part of it is not only meeting the kid, the parents, the grandma, the aunt, the whoever, but it's the people in the school. Being able to spend time in the school and getting to know the counselors and the different coaches and the teachers. I've been saying, the one thing that kind of drove me nuts is not being able to be there more than just in a one-day period."
On if his past coaching jobs helped with recruiting: "It doesn't hurt where I came from, let's be honest. Obviously, we had a pretty good run at that place (Alabama). We were getting Colorado State some pretty good coverage at that time on a national scale, not just a regional scale. That is something that is very important to our staff."
On junior-college recruits: "This goes back to roster management. With each class you want to have balance that builds consistency throughout the organization. So what you don't want to do is get in the (habit) `ok we have seven JC guys; now let's turn them over in the second year.' Do you understand what I'm getting at? Sometimes through attrition you need to build some depth at a certain area and that's where you use your junior-college connections."
On recruiting three tight ends: "I need a lot of tight ends. Let's go to football 101. Body types. Who helps your whole team? Tight ends. They could be a defensive end, could be a tight end, could be a fullback, needs to be on all special teams. Again, roster management and body types help you have a successful team in all aspects and those are what you are looking for. I would hope someday in the future we will sign nine tight ends. Two of them tight ends and the other seven go somewhere else because that is what you are looking for: Length, size, speed, growth potential and that is usually that guy."
On areas targeted during recruiting: "I think size and getting control of the line of scrimmage. You have to be strong up the middle. If you can't stop the run and you can't run, you are in for a long day. Being physical at the point of attack and everything you do gives you an opportunity to be successful. So I think we answered those needs. I say we think we answered those and we'll find out. Recruiting is an imperfect science. It isn't necessarily all about size. It isn't necessarily just about speed. It is about being a pacesetter. This program was built on pacesetters a while back and that is the direction we are going."