Karl Dorrell: CU Buffs aren’t done shopping after initial 2020 National Signing Day haul

Before you ask — and you have — know this: Karl Dorrell isn’t done quarterback shopping. Or shopping, period.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate everything,” Dorrell, the Buffs’ first-year football coach, said of the 17 kids who signed letters of intent with CU on Wednesday, the first day of the early national signing period.

“I mean there’s (players) that are in the (transfer) portal. And guys that didn’t sign today. There are a lot of situations out there with guys that haven’t made decisions yet … we’re going to continue to scour anything and everything that can help us, at any position. So we’re going to keep our antennae up for anything that might happen between now and February, too.”

The headliner for the Buffs’ early signing period was tight end Erik Olsen, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder out of Heritage High who was the No. 4 in-state Colorado prep prospect among the Class of 2021 in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. Olsen became the first player ranked among 247Sports’ top four from an in-state class to sign with the Buffs since former Cherry Creek wideout Dimitri Stanley (No. 3) in 2018.

Among local standouts, the Buffs also signed another Bruin, Cherry Creek receiver Chase Penry, who was rated No. 7 among the state’s top recruits.

If the last CU class for Mel Tucker — remember him? — was about sizzle, then Dorrell’s initial haul with the Buffs was all about steak.

The pundits haven’t been blown away: 247 slotted Dorrell’s inaugural class ninth in the Pac-12, CU’s lowest league finish in two cycles, and No. 59 nationally.

“I think the guys we earmarked in this class have the ability to help us right away,” Dorell noted. “We specifically recruited them for a particular purpose to be here. So it wasn’t just to take numbers, which I think programs do.

“Every one of these guys has a chance to impact us. It’s probably a little different philosophy. It’s my philosophy. And I want guys that we think can play and help us right away. And we feel this class gives us that chance at every position.”

What Dorrell’s first gaggle of signees lacked in star power, it made up for in diversity and depth, with 16 out of the 17 being rated by 247 as a 3-star prospect and every position — including kicker and punter — on the field accounted for with at least one targeted signing.

CU signed only one quarterback, too: Drew Carter, a dual-threat quarterback out of Tigard, Ore., High School and Oregon’s No. 5 senior prospect, according to 247Sports.

The Buffs lost backup quarterback Tyler Lytle last weekend when the junior announced that he was entering the transfer portal. Whenever CU plays next, whether that’s in Los Angeles this weekend — the equipment trucks left Wednesday morning for the Pac-12 championship — or in a bowl game, senior Sam Noyer’s top backup is expected to be true freshman Brendon Lewis.

Given the combination of a new coaching staff, the COVID-19 pandemic and liberated transfer rules, Lytle might only be the first salvo among portal candidates on the Buffs roster, especially as Noyer can — and very well could — return given that he’s got another season of eligibility in 2021.

As Dorrell noted Wednesday, that sword cuts both ways, which is why he and his staff are scouring the country. FBS football rosters are going to look more like men’s basketball rosters going forward, with increased fluidity and, potentially, a heck of a lot more transfers.

“There might be guys that are in our program that I’m sure might surprise us, that say, “You know what? I want to go somewhere else to play,’” Dorrell said. “This is the college version of free agency, so to speak.”

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