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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Hawkins impressed with Buffs' underrated group

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado's recruiting haul might not wow many national analysts, but Dan Hawkins is attracting exactly the players he is aiming for.

Hawkins said the class he announced Wednesday is coming close to matching his recruiting model.

"Since I first arrived here, I've been trying to build a culture," Hawkins said. "We're trying to get guys who fit our profile. You're never going to be 100 percent at that. But in this class, it represents our philosophy of a quality balance of life. We've been in homes with strong values in how they view their kids. And I've been fired up about that."

That goal could be stated in a prospect like wide receiver Terdema Ussery of St. Mark's High School in Dallas. Ussery's father, Terdema L. Ussery II, is president and CEO of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

The Buffaloes added the top player from Colorado for the third straight year by attracting Nick Kasa of Legacy High School in Broomfield. Kasa decided on Colorado's offer after earlier considering Florida. 

Also added in the recruiting class was 290-pound defensive tackle Edward Nuckols of San Marcos, Calif., who was ranked by Scouts Inc. as the nation's No. 14 defensive tackle.

Hawkins had a couple of late misses as wide receiver Diante Johnson of Walnut Hills, Calif., picked Oregon over the Buffs. Defensive back Byron Moore, a high school teammate of Johnson's, decided on USC. And wide receiver Emory Blake of Austin, Texas, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, picked Auburn over Colorado and Texas Tech.

But Hawkins still was pleased with what he saw in his incoming class.

"I think it's a very athletic class," Hawkins said. "Three quarters of them were on playoff teams. There are a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions. I like these guys and their pedigrees."