Highly Recruited Ratcliff No.1 At Tight End

Highly Recruited Ratcliff No.1 At Tight End

Although Gabe had also visited TCU and Missouri and had offers from Texas A&M, Arizona, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Kansas he took an official visit to Tulane, decommitted from the Buffs, and opted for the Green Wave

Back in 2002, high school senior Gabriel Ratcliff, one of the top tight end prospects in Texas and pretty much a consensus a Top 100 prospect in the Lone Star State, committed to the Colorado Buffalos just before he learned from TCU and Missouri coaches that the Buffalo coaching staff hadn't been completely honest about the tight ends returning from the previous season and how that would impact his prospects for early playing time, a key selling point for Colorado coach Gary Barnett.

Although Gabe had also visited TCU and Missouri and had offers from Texas A&M, Arizona, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Kansas he took an official visit to Tulane, decommitted from the Buffs, and opted for the Green Wave.

Altogether, Ratcliff reported he had received between 20 and 30 scholarship offers.

He enjoyed everything about his visit to Tulane and despite a persistent CU effort to change him back he remained firm to his committment to the Wave.

Tulane's advantage in this recruiting battle came down to playing time, the Green Wave travelled three tight ends and he would be No. 3 as soon as he reported. Because of a series of injuries the Green Wave was struggling for depth at tight end, and Gabe knew he would probably play as a true freshman.

Another plus for the Green Team was the graduation rate and the proximity of New Orleans to Houston, which is quite a contrast to the distance from Houston, Tx. to Boulder, Colo.

Just before his visit to Boulder and his committment to the Buffs Ratcliff had told recruiting analysts that his choice was betwen Tulane and Colorado, and at that point he had not even visited the Tulane campus.

Gabe made it plain that the hurdle the Green Wave had to overcome was their conference affiliation - they didn't play in a conference like the Big 12. He said back then that he wanted to play for and win a national championship and had a chance to do that at Colorado and not at Tulane.

Ratcliff's early leaders were Texas and Texas A&M, but the Longhorns had scholarship number problems and an unexpected returnee at tight end in Bo Scaife.

Gabe is a versatile athlete who as a senior averaged a double-double on the hardwood, making first team all-district as a senior, and took most of his high school snaps at wide receiver. Ratcliff also competed in track and field, winning the district championship in the triple jump and placing second in the long jump.

Early in his high school career Ratcliff ran a 11.6 100 meters and a 23.6 200 meters.

A good student majoring in Finance, Ratcliff carried a 3.6 GPA in high school and scored an 890 on his SAT.

As a senior, he caught 35 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns. He was named first team all-district and second team all-Greater Houston.

At Tulane, Gabe played in 7 games in 2004 as the second tight end and made 2 starts before breaking a bone in his leg in the Houston game. He had 6 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown before the injury ended his season.

In 2005 Ratcliff played in all 11 games, making one start and grabbed 4 passes for 27 yards. He got the start in the opener against Mississippi State game when the Wave opened in a two-tight end set.

Last seson Gabe more than matched the totals of his first two seasons with 10 catches for 108 yards and another touchdown.

Ratcliff's rep is that he rises to the occasion when it's crunch time.

Gabe enters the 2007 pre-season camp as the top guy at tight end. Although the 6-foot-3 Ratcliff sports a reported weight of 245-pounds, he lacks the size of the tackle-sized tight end who is used mainly as a blocker. The compensatory factor for Gabriel is that his sub-4.8 40 time compares favorably with larger wide receivers.

In 2007 Ratcliff may get many more opportunities to display that speed as offensive coordinator Dan Dodd seeks to identify potential mismatches that give the Green Wave the advantage.

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