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Sports / Recreation

'Coach Mac' announces first group of recruits

February 1, 2012

New CSU football coach Jim McElwain's first recruiting class includes 24 players who will be the foundation of his program moving forward.

New Rams coach Jim McElwain took the first step in building his program Wednesday when he announced that 24 players had signed on to be Rams. The Class of 2012 includes eight players from Colorado, seven Californians, five Texans and three from a new talent source: Georgia. Among those announced are four players already on campus and enrolled in classes, and two junior college transfers.

McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at national-champion Alabama, introduced the class to the media on Wednesday, the first day players can sign letters of intent. Even though McElwain and his staff had just a few weeks to assemble a recruiting class, he was pleased with this group of future Rams.

''This is not about an individual who we sign; this is about a group of Rams,'' McElwain said. ''This is about a group that is going to come in together and bond with the rest of our team to help our program and our university be successful, and that's what I'm really excited about.''

Big travel, big players

McElwain said he has logged more than 9,600 miles in air travel since the Dec. 13 press conference announcing his hiring. He traversed the country in search of talent, visiting players in California, Texas, Colorado and Georgia.

The most striking aspect of this class is the size of some of the players. CSU signed three players (Calvin Tonga, 320; Shaq Walker, 320; Tomas Rivera, 315) who weigh at least 300 pounds, and eight players stand 6-foot-4 or taller.

The class also has done its homework – literally. Eleven of the players have high school grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher, led by Nolan Peralta’s 4.30.

Coming home to CSU

Also included are a couple of Colorado players who started their careers at another school before returning home to play for the Rams. Mister Jones, considered one of the top running backs in the country in 2010 before signing with Texas A&M, and Chuck Ragland, an offensive lineman who originally signed with Cal-Berkeley before spending the last two years at College of San Mateo (Calif.), will play for the Rams in the fall.

CSU-CU game game Sunday, Sept. 2

Also Wednesday, officials announced that the annual CSU-Colorado football game will be played Sunday, Sept. 2 at Denver’s Sports Authority Field.