Step right up! It’s time to spin the college football recruiting geography wheel to discover the nation’s elite talent from each state.
Need a gun-slinging quarterback? Saddle up in Texas.
A corn-fed tight end? The Midwest makes sense.
Defensive speed? Search the Southeast.
Here in Colorado, a so-called recruiting flyover state, the reputation is less defined with fewer blue-chip prospects in comparison to those regions. But recent history tells another narrative…
Welcome to Colorado: Home of the elite prep offensive lineman.
“We have a load of talent,” said Valor Christian’s Jake Maikkula, an offensive tackle with scholarship offers from schools representing all five power conferences. “They push me — even though I don’t personally know them — to do my best.”
The numbers back it up, according to 247Sports.com.
• In Colorado, for the Class of 2022, there are currently seven offensive linemen ranked inside the state’s top-15 overall recruits.
• Colorado has produced five OL prospects since 2019 that were four-star recruits — George Fitzpatrick (Cherry Creek ’22), Andrew Gentry (Columbine ’20), Roger Rosengarten (Valor ‘20) and Barrett Miller (Eaglecrest ‘19) — for the most of any position group in the state.
• A total of 27 prep offensive linemen from Colorado have signed or committed to play Division-I football over the past four recruiting cycles.
Fitzpatrick is the latest elite big fella (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) to hail from Colorado. His emergence surprises, though, when you consider that he entered the program as a tight end. It was head coach Dave Logan who asked for the switch to offensive tackle. A smart move.
Last week, Fitzpatrick committed to Ohio State after considering scholarship offers from Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon.
“He may be the most highly recruited offensive lineman I’ve ever had,” Logan said. “And this is my 29th year.”
It’s not unusual for Colorado high school offensive linemen to reach the pinnacle of football success. Just ask Broncos left guard Dalton Risner (Wiggins), Giants left tackle Nate Solder (Buena Vista), or retired five-time Pro Bowler Tony Boselli (Fairview). But this new class is built a little differently.
At Six Zero Strength in Centennial, aspiring college offensive linemen are given specialized training from Matt McChesney — a six-year NFL OL veteran — often from the time they enter high school. Like Connor Jones, the Michigan-bound offensive tackle at Palmer Ridge, whose Six Zero workouts were recorded and pushed on social media to college recruiters.
“In Colorado, in general, we definitely have to work harder to get our name out there,” Jones said. “That’s why working up at Six Zero and Coach Matt is so great. He has so many connections to the college world. It’s to the point where colleges will come and see him when they come on their trips to see schools.”
Maikkula, the Valor offensive tackle, narrowed his list to eight schools — California, CU, Duke, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Virginia — as the top-ranked uncommitted ’22 prospect left in the state. Then Stanford offered late. He is planning an official visit before settling on a verbal commitment.
Maikkula won’t be surprised if Colorado high schools continue producing premier offensive line talent.
“It’s just the development and culture,” Maikkula said. “In my sophomore year, Roger Rosengarten, who is playing at UW now, that guy was incredible in helping me develop along with our coaches. Same with Nick Lyon who is playing up at Northern Colorado. Always encouraging me and pushing me to do my best.
“I’m going to continue to do that for the guys younger than me rising up at Valor.”
CLASS OF 2022: OFFENSIVE LINEMEN FROM COLORADO
Tracking the top in-state offensive linemen for the Class of 2022 and their college commitments (as of late Friday). Information provided by 247Sports.com.
|Player (School)||Height, weight||Rating||Commitment/offers|
|Travis Gray (Cherokee Trail)||6-6, 300||3 stars||Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and others|
|George Fitzpatrick (Cherry Creek)||6-6, 285||4 Stars||Committed: Ohio State|
|Connor Jones (Palmer Ridge)||6-7, 285||3 stars||Committed: Michigan|
|Jake Maikkula (Valor Christian)||6-5, 265||3 stars||Cal, CU, Duke, Kansas St., Minn., Stanford, Nebraska, Virginia|
|Braden Miller (Eaglecrest)||6-7, 290||3 stars||Committed: Michigan State|
|Kaden Weatherby (Eaglecrest)||6-6, 270||3 stars||Committed: Texas Tech|
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