Five-star defensive end Nick Kasa is likely to contribute immediately next season as he joins a team short on defensive linemen, especially those with his kind of ability.
But the 6-foot-7, 245-pound product of Legacy High School in Broomfield said he doesn't feel pressure to live up to the hype that always follows the highest rated recruits into their first year.
"Not really just because with football in general, I'm pretty laid back," Kasa said. "I want to get the job done as good as I can and that's what I'm going to do every time I play. So I'm not too worried about it. I think I want to get a lot of playing time in, but if they don't need me the first year, I wouldn't be insulted or anything. I will work for my position just like anybody else would."
Kasa is ranked the No. 4 overall defensive end in the 2009 recruiting cycle. He de-committed from Florida early in Jaunary, just after the Gators won the national championship, to pledge to CU. One of the reasons he chose to do so was the chance to play early and often in Boulder.
Colorado lost three senior defensive line following the 2008 season and junior defensive end Jason Brace saw his career come to an end because of chronic concussion problems. That leaves junior-to-be Marquez Herrod as the Buffs' most experienced returning defensive lineman.
"I talked to coach (Romeo) Bandison awhile back and I think they kind of said that I might have the potential to start," Kasa said. "I've heard a lot of people talk now about me starting in the first year and stuff. I'd love to do that, but I don't think I expect to do that. I think that would be stupid of me. I've just got to work hard and give whatever I can just like anybody else."
Kasa readily admits he has plenty of room for improvement and must make some strides in order to get on the field. He admitted at the high school level his superior size and athletic ability often has been enough to get the job done. He understands players will be bigger, faster and stronger than him in some cases at the college level and he will have to embrace a more cerebral approach to the game.
"I definitely got to get a lot more physical and that will come with just getting bigger and stronger," Kasa said. "I want to get maybe a little bit faster, but I really got to work on my technique. I don't have a lot of technique. I just try to outwork guys and use my speed to try and just run around guys I guess.
"I don't really use my hands a lot and I know coach Bandison is going to help me out with that."
Kasa said he enjoyed parts of the recruiting process and grew tired of some of it. He said he thought he had a good grasp on handling the attention until the week after he de-committed from Florida. He said he received interview requests from people he had never heard from before in regard to recruiting, including Denver newspapers and television stations. The biggest surprise was a phone call from USAToday.
"It gets overwhelming," he said. "Of course at first it's really humbling and honoring to have all these people who want to talk to you and everything. I personally don't like to disrespect anybody. But after awhile it just starts like showering you I guess.
"I have a big sense of relief because I feel like it's so right for me. I feel really good that I did make a the right decision."