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Three Players Sign To Play Football For CU

Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information
Release: December 20, 2006
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By Associated Press
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                BOULDER – Two junior college football players and a December high school graduate signed to play football at the University of Colorado Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period for both to official sign with the college of their choice.


                Drew Hudgins, a defensive end from Highland (Kan.) Community College and Nick Nelson, a quarterback from Saddleback (Calif.) College, signed letters-of-intent to play for CU.  Josh Hartigan, an inside linebacker from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Northeast High School), signed a financial aid agreement to attend Colorado, similar to an LOI but was early high school graduates and grayshirts are required to sign.


                The three will all enroll at CU next month, along with Jonathan Hawkins, a cornerback who signed with CU last February but has delayed his enrollment until January.


                Biographical information for the four appear below; CU Coach Dan Hawkins can comment publicly and to the media on the signees on just one occasion, which he will defer until February’s signing day press conference (Feb. 7) and the annual recruiting luncheon the following day in Denver.



6-5, 240, Spring Hills, Kan. (Spring Hills/Highland Comm. College)


  Note: He will enroll at Colorado in January (he will count toward last year’s class) and will have three years to play two in eligibility. 


   JUNIOR COLLEGE—Earned second-team JCAA All-American and first team All-Jayhawk Conference honors as a sophomore at Highland Community College, where he was the league leader in quarterback sacks with 19 (for a 176 yards in losses).  He had 93 tackles overall (52 solo), with 36 for losses of 299 yards including the sacks.  He also had eight passes broken up and two forced fumbles.  His best game in the junior college ranks was in his finale in a 42-29 upset of No. 1 and eventual region champion Butler in 2006, when he had 10 tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble.  HCC finished 3-6 his sophomore year, opening 2-0 before closing with the Butler win, and was 2-7 his freshman season under coach Keith Majors.

  HIGH SCHOOL—A four-year letterman in football, he was named first team All-Frontier League as a senior as he registered 72 total tackles, including 12 sacks.  His senior team went 3-6 under head coach Pat Williams.  He also lettered four times in wrestling, as he was named All-Frontier League his final two seasons and All-Johnson County his senior year.

  ACADEMICS—He is interested in business management as a major at Colorado.  He owned a 3.7 GPA in high school and was on the honor roll all four years.  He also maintained a 3.6 GPA at Highland Community College.

  PERSONAL—Born September 18, 1985 in Shawnee Mission, Kan.  His hobbies include lifting weights and playing PlayStation.  His uncle, Joe Boone, was a middle linebacker for Kansas State, graduating in 1991.  He has aspirations of getting into coaching after college.  Full first name is Andrew.



6-2, 225, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Tesoro/Saddleback College)


  Note: He will enroll at Colorado in January (he will count toward last year’s class) and will have three years to play two in eligibility. 


  JUNIOR COLLEGE—He was Saddleback’s Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Mission Conference selection as a sophomore, when he completed 157-of-251 passes for 2,241 yards.  He had 18 touchdowns against nine interceptions in completing 62.5 percent of his passes to go with a 154.1 passer rating.  His single game high was 274 yards (with 2 TDs) against Allan Hancock, as he had seven 200-plus passing games. He was “activated” from a possible redshirt three games into his freshman season, coming off the bench to throw for 1,232 yards and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions.  He also played baseball as a freshman, batting .290 as a starting outfielder.  Under coach Mark McElroy, Saddleback went 11-1, reaching the semifinals of the regional playoffs, and won the Mission Conference his sophomore year; the Gauchos were 7-4 his freshman season, winning the U.S. Bank Beach Bowl in Santa Monica over Mt. San Jacinto College.  

  HIGH SCHOOL—A three-year letterman in football, he was Tesoro’s Athlete of the Year his senior season.  He was also named his team’s Offensive Player of the Year and was a first team All-Pacific Coast League selection and a second team All-Orange County selection that same year, when he passed for 2,200 yards and had 24 touchdowns against just eight interceptions in completing 69 percent of his passes.  He was also first-team All-Pacific Coast league and second-team All-Orange County as a junior.  Under head coach Jim O’Connell, Tesoro went 20-5 with Nelson at the helm in his junior and senior seasons, winning the CIF Championship in the latter.  He also lettered three times in baseball, as he was the team’s Player of the Year as a senior as well as earning first-team all-county and all-league distinctions.

  ACADEMICS—He is interested in business management as a major at Colorado.  He owned a 2.9 grade point average in high school and had a 3.49 GPA at Saddleback.

  PERSONAL—Born January 25, 1987 in Long Beach, Calif.  Hobbies include fishing, poker and body boarding.  Full first name is Nikolas, but he prefers to go by Nick.



6-2, 215, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Northeast)


  Note: He will enroll at Colorado in January (he will count toward last year’s class). 


  HIGH SCHOOL—A three-year letterman, he was named second team All-Broward County and was a team captain his senior year.  Playing linebacker on defense in a 4-4 scheme, he had 100 tackles, including 10 tackles for losses and one quarterback sack, two fumble recoveries and seven passes broken up.  He played a limited role on offense, catching five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown at wide receiver.  Playing defensive end as a junior he was an honorable mention All-Broward County selection, when he made 40 tackles (six sacks) and four passes broken up; he also played a blocking fullback on offense.  As a sophomore he was mostly a back up at defensive end making 10 tackles and grabbing an interception.  His top games came in his senior season: against Ft. Lauderdale, he made 15 tackles in a 28-6 win.  In a loss against Cyprus Bay, he made 10 tackles and had four catches for 40 yards.  Under head coach Adam Ratkevich, Northeast was 11-16 during Hartigan’s three years, including 5-5 his senior season.  

  ACADEMICS—He is interested in sports medicine at Colorado.  He owned a 3.0 grade point average in high school.

  PERSONAL—Born August 25, 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His father, Sterling Palmer, was a linebacker/defensive end for Florida State (1989-92), and was a fourth round draft choice (101st player overall) by the Washington Redskins; he spent three seasons with the Redskins (1993-96).  Hobbies include pick-up basketball games and listening to music.  He also enjoys fixing up cars and taking his ’95 Mercury Grand Marquis to car shows like the East Coast Ryders.  He aspires to play in the NFL, but when his football career is finished he would like to be a trainer in the NFL or at a high school in Florida.



5-10, 190, Perris, Calif. (Rancho Verde)


  Note: He will enroll at Colorado in January as he was a gray-shirt from the 2006 recruiting class; he has gained 10 pounds of muscle since originally signing with CU last February. 


  HIGH SCHOOL—A PrepStar All-West team member, as he was one of 35 defensive backs named to the squad.  As a senior, he earned first-team all-Southwest Conference honors, in addition to being designated as one of the top 25 cornerbacks in Southern California (as selected by the Los Angeles Times).  He played safety most of the time, although he played some games at cornerback, depending on the opposition’s personnel.  He totaled 90 tackles, six for losses including one quarterback sack, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and five passes broken up.  He also started one game at running back, gaining 80 yards on the ground.  As a junior—in his first year playing football—he was named second-team all-league, as he recorded 60 tackles, six for losses with three sacks, five forced fumbles, one interception and eight passes broken up.  Top career games included 12 total tackles and two passes broken up in a 24-12 loss to Temecula Valley as a senior; in a 24-21 win over Murrieta, he had an interception, six tackles and two pass deflections, also as a senior; and as a junior, his best game came in a loss against Arroyo Valley, when he recorded 12 tackles and an interception.  Under coach Pete Duffy, Rancho Verde was 4-6 his senior tear and 5-5 his junior season.  He also lettered four times in basketball (guard) and in track; he advanced to the CIF Finals in the triple jump and long jump, earning third-team all-state honors as a junior. 

  ACADEMICS—He is interested in kinesiology as his major at Colorado.  He owned a 3.8 grade point average in high school, was named his school’s Academic Player of the Year as a senior and was on the honor roll his freshman through senior years.

  PERSONAL—Born March 9, 1988 in Harbor City, Calif.  An uncle, Joe Caldwell, played for the ABA Carolina Cougars/Spirits of St. Louis in the early 1970s.  As a senior, he won first place in an AVID writing competition.  Every student in Riverside County had to write a paper on segregation in the school system and Hawkins’ paper was chosen over all of them. After college, he hopes to be a physical therapist at a college.


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