February 7, 2008

Givens changed in red for black and gold

DENVER, Colo. - Denver Mullen's Bryce Givens' smile represented a huge weight being lifted off him as he dotted the I in his last name emphatically while signing his letter of intent with the University of Colorado Wednesday morning.

While the metaphoric weight of his four-year decision has been lifted, more weight is being piled on Givens' 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame.

Inexplicably, Givens lost 10-15 pounds during the season despite making himself eat more even when he was full.

He had blood work done to see if there was anything medically wrong, but his mother knew what was wrong.

"The bottom line is it was stress," Carol Givens said. "We could see it I figured that's what it was but he is fine now. The process really weighed on him heavily."

Givens recruiting journey was truly a roller coaster ride.

It started back in Nov. of 2006 with a scholarship offer from Kansas State and ended with a commitment to CU over a year later with a commitment and later a decommitment to Nebraska in between.

"I liked the process. It's probably been the best year of my life, but it definitely was stressful trying to make the biggest decision of my life," Givens said. "I never expected the attention I got."

Givens also never expected to be a Buff.

"Shoot, I was lost," Givens said. "It was hard to turn schools away, but I've got to do what is best for me and my family. I think that CU is the best situation for that."

Givens originally committed to Nebraska in April and even had the audacity to sport Husker red at the Boulder NIKE camp where Givens earned offensive MVP honors.

"It was all football there," Givens said. "I was 100 percent Nebraska. It was a great situation for me to get to the NFL eventually. I also made a lot of friends with the commitments at Nebraska."

Givens received a phone call from then Nebraska coach Bill Callahan during the fall telling him that he appreciated his loyalty staying committed as some of the Nebraska commitments Givens had befriended began to waiver. Callahan also told him to keep his options open as the level of uncertainty with the Nebraska program began to grow.

After the departure of Callahan, Givens took official visits to Texas and Colorado.

Givens raved about his visit to Texas and the opportunity to play with his high school teammate Nolan Brewster, but after speaking with senior offensive tackle and Colorado native Tyler Polumbus the following week he knew he wanted to be a Buff.

"(Polumbus) just told me how cool it is to be an in-state guy and have Colorado natives watch your entire career," Givens said. "That's when it set in for me and I knew where I wanted to go."

On the way back to Denver, Givens surprised his parents as he delivered the news that he wanted to commit to Coach Hawkins.

"I literally almost pulled the car over three lanes of traffic, because I never imagined he would go to CU," Carol Givens said. "I was shocked, but I am very happy he will be close."

Coach Jeff Grimes, whom Givens said was one of the determining factors he chose CU, and Hawkins ribbed Givens at their last in-home visit about finally coming to CU.

"It really shows what an up and down process it is," Givens said. "(Coach Hawkins and coach Grimes) were saying, 'Just six months ago you were wearing red. We are glad you finally saw the light.'"

Givens will bring a tenacity to the Buffs offensive line that recruiting coordinators salivate over, but it might be his intangibles that will be most valuable at CU.

"He's nasty from whistle to whistle," said Mullen head coach Dave Logan. "Off the field he gets along with everyone in school. He's one of the best off the field leaders we've ever had at Mullen. He fits along with the student body and is a great student. If he wasn't 6-feet-6 you would have no idea he was a football player."

Since committing to CU in mid December he has already began to gain some of his playing weight back and plans on "living in the gym" until he gets to CU.

"My doctor told me that if I couldn't gain weight after the recruiting process is over to come see him again," Givens said. "I'm definitely not going to have to see him again. I'm not stressed at all anymore and have already gained some weight back. This has been probably the best year and a half of my life, but I'm excited to move on."

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