Although the Colorado soccer team changed coaches in November and went through two weeks without a leader, Alec Pell knew he wanted to be a Buffalo.
"Honestly, I was not looking at anyone else," said Pell, who signed with CU last month after playing at Cherry Creek High School. "I was pretty fixated on CU for the ability to play for your home state."
When Pell, a 6 and a half and a half meter linebacker, met new coach Mel Tucker, he had no doubts about his choice.
"We spent a lot of time together on my official visit and he's an exceptional guy," Pell said. "You can really say that he cares about good people who are part of the program and that he will really have a good plan to win." Losing will not be an option under him. "That passion and determination are really what he did to me, and I'm everything for this, it's fantastic."
Pell is one of 12 potential candidates to sign with CU last month and one of the three who will register soon. He will be in Boulder later this week.
"I can not be more excited," he said. "I counted the days and I trained and I prepared for all of this for a lifetime, it's a dream come true."
Pell said that with his completed school credits, it was an easy choice to sign up early.
"I'm just trying to move on, anyway I can," he said. "It was a breeze to go out and work with the team, get them to work with me and get fat and try to take me to the field first."
Pell, who moved to Colorado from Frisco, Texas, before his sophomore year at Cherry Creek, could be one of the surprise stars of the Buffs' last recruitment lesson. He had 13 scholarships, but mainly from sub-division teams in the Mountain West or Football Championship. Pell originally engaged in Boise State in April.
All the time though, his eyes were on CU.
"It was always the only school I really wanted to offer," he said. "At the beginning I did not do it because I was not very big, but I got fat recently and they saw I had the potential to play the linebacker for them."
Just 200 pounds after his junior year, Pell is now 230 and has opened his eyes to the previous CU staff and, now, his current coaches.
"One of the most versatile defenders probably in the country," said Tucker. "He can do everything: offense, defense, special teams, as a linebacker, he can play all four points in our 3-4" base.
Pell played offense and defense during his first two years at Cherry Creek, running a total of 946 yards in 2016 and 2017, while he also scored 36 passes. He gives credit to Bruins head coach Dave Logan and assistant Det Betti for focusing on senior defense.
"This really opened up a lot of opportunities for me," said Pell, who had 88 tackles, 25 loss tackles and six senior bags. "He really helped me focus on my game to become a better linebacker, inside or out."
Although it was mostly a linebacker outside Creek, he could, as Tucker said, play in a variety of CU points. Tucker praised Pell's pass-rush abilities, high instincts and athleticism.
"There's nothing he can not do and his best football is ahead of him," Tucker said. "He's the kind of guy who will become a kind of guy for us: he will be a leader for us, a huge advantage for our program, and I expect him to be a creator of differences at the start of his career."
Pell certainly hopes it will be so and hopes to make a first impression in spring football – not just in the field, but with the study of films and playbooks.
"It would be great to be able to get out early with the team and have an idea of how the program will be," he said. "Honestly (playing in or out) does not matter to me, because I know that in both cases, I'm going to create an attitude without pain and hit as hard as I can, my strong clothes and I feel like I have the chance to help the team. "
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