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Deion Sanders and Colorado: Should You Believe The Hype?

It has been a little over five months since Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders was hired as the 28th full-time head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes football team. In those five months, Sanders has not shied away from the spotlight. He raised heads when in one of the first addresses to his new team, encouraged players to hit the transfer portal as he was bringing some players of his own. 

Sanders has also proved how capable he is of turning Colorado into a premier destination for top recruits. Sanders made a huge splash in his second month on the job, flipping the No. 1 ranked cornerback and No. 12 overall player in the 2023 class, Cormani McClain. With Colorado’s spring game, called the Black & Gold Game, coming up this Saturday, it’s time we really figure out if the Coach Prime hype is real.

Is it fake?

It should be noted that Deion’s hiring is very different from Lincoln Riley’s hiring in 2022. USC went 4-8 in 2021 and the roster was filled with talent. Riley went 11-3 this past season and had the benefit of having the Heisman-winning quarterback, Caleb Williams. 

(Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

2022 was a historically bad season for the Colorado Buffaloes after a mediocre 2021 season. Colorado finished the 2022 season at a dismal 1-11 with their sole win being an overtime win over Cal. Former head coach Karl Dorrell was fired after starting 0-5 and the Buffs could only muster one win after that. Issues ranged from poor play calling, being overmatched on the field, and a general lack of a drive to win.

Coach Prime inherits a team and a roster that consistently looked overmatched and outplayed nearly every week. While Sanders has brought in some talent of his own, both from Jackson State and the transfer portal, it will be a monumental task to turn this team around in just one offseason. With a completely new staff, an almost new roster, and new schemes to be learned and mastered; don’t be surprised to see Colorado struggle out of the gate.

Colorado’s 2023 schedule gives Sanders no time for a honeymoon with its schedule being one of the more brutal amongst the college ranks. The Buffs open their season at TCU, then come home to play Nebraska and Colorado State to finish their non-conference schedule. An early-season trip to Eugene, Oregon to play the Ducks is followed by a late September home game against Caleb Williams and USC, rounding out a brutal first five weeks of the season. 

(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

With all eyes on Coach Prime and Colorado to have immediate success, it will be interesting to see if the Hall of Famer can get his team ready for the dogfight that is college football.

Is it real?

If there is anyone who could bring the hype, attention, and talent to a team that just went 1-11, it is Deion Sanders. The eccentric, deeply spiritual man brings a level of swagger and confidence to a Colorado team that has lacked. What is even more clear is this: Sanders is here to win and win now.

In his three years at FCS Jackson State, Sanders went a combined 27-6; including an undefeated regular season in 2022. Sanders brings a level of experience and pedigree that very few head coaches can say they bring. A Hall of fame in both college and the pros, Coach Prime is exactly the type of coach a recruit should want to play for. Furthermore, there may not be a more public college football head coach than Sanders with his Amazon Prime docu-series already filming its new season.

(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Sanders is also bringing talent the likes Colorado hasn’t seen in a long time and that starts with his son, Sheduer Sanders. A four-star quarterback prospect out of high school, Sanders decided to join his father at Jackson State. Sanders flourished in his two years at Jackson State, throwing for a combined 6,983 yards, 70 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in his two years. 

(Derek Marckel, University of Colorado)

The other big name is Travis Hunter, a sophomore cornerback. Hunter was nearly the consensus No. 1 recruit in 2022 and made headlines when he flipped his commitment from Florida State to Jackson State, marking Deion’s first major recruiting steal. Hunter is a tremendous athlete who has all the skills and ability to be dominant at both the wide receiver and cornerback positions. 

The Verdict

If all else, Sanders brings major national attention to a Colorado program that had fallen into college football purgatory. A program that was at the very bottom of the college football world just a season ago finds itself in the spotlight. A lot will be said about Sanders’ lack of Power 5 coaching and the massive roster turnover but the hype is very much real.

A 1-11 season in 2022 means any type of success in 2023 will be a massive win for Coach Prime and Colorado. This much can be said: Sanders is going to have his Colorado Buffaloes ready to compete on September 2nd when the Buffs travel to Texas to take on the Horned Frogs. They will be must-watch TV this upcoming season and I’m all aboard the Sanders hype train!

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