National Signing Day for fall sports has come and gone. The football team has a good idea of who will be on the roster for the 2009-2010 Thunderwolves Football season.
One of the recruits is Chris Clady, brother of the Denver Broncos 2008 first draft pick Ryan Clady.
Thunderwolves Head football Coach John Wristen came to Colorado State University-Pueblo with a strong recruiting background. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Colorado before he relocated to California to serve as an assistant in the UCLA football program, building an extensive California network.
This network seems to have paid off.
“Clady’s coach sent me a DVD and a transcript, and from there we started talking,” Wristen said
“I have six assistants and they do a lot of the preliminary work. They go through the clips and the paperwork, then we decide who we recruit,” Wristen said.
After a player is contacted by a university, it is up to the recruiting team to sell them on their school. While Wristen says CSU-Pueblo has many selling points such as the low student to faculty ratio and the level of personal attention they will receive, he uses the community to sell the school.
“I sell them on our people and our community. Here it’s the people that make the difference,” Wristen said.
CSU-Pueblo is in a great location for attracting players. Besides Colorado Mines, no other team in the conference is located along Colorado’s Front Range or in a city as large as Pueblo.
“No question, being close to Colorado Springs and Denver helps,” Wristen said. “It makes it easy for players to have their families here for the games.”
Michael Salardino, a charter member of “Friends of Football,” is also watching other teams in the conference. Former Universtiy of Nebraska coach Bill Callahan stopped the practice of allowing walk-ons. As a result, many Nebraska high school players chose to attend Chadron State and Nebraska Kearney, who CSU-Pueblo compete’s against.
“The new Husker coach Bo Pellini has re-instated the walk-on rule, meaning its likely fewer Nebraska high school players will be attending Chadron and Kearney, thus making them less competitive,” Salardino said. “Hey, any advantage helps.”
CSU-Pueblo players don’t have to worry about the walk-on rule.
“As I see it, all of our players are walk-on players,” Wristen said. “We don’t offer any full-ride scholarships to our recruits.”
Wristen seems happy with his newest class, but has a wait and see attitude, even with recruits like Clady.
“We have to get him here and see how he does,” Wristen said.
Of course, only time and their performances on the field will tell. The team finished with a 4-6 last season.
With a year of experience and a solid new recruitment class, expectations will be high at CSU-Pueblo next year.