The college football disrupter officially arrived this weekend.
It happened between telling his team at Jackson State – filmed and then released on social media, of course – that he was leaving for Colorado and telling his team in Colorado – filmed and then released on social networks social, of course – which they might want to transfer because every guy that leaves means “the more room you make”.
Deion Sanders has never been one to mince words or be shy about what he believes. The quiet parts aren’t just said out loud; they are said with the flair of a preacher and broadcast for all to hear.
As a sport tries to master unprecedented freedom for players to move through the open transfer portal, a man with zero FBS wins as head coach is already seen as its most honest ambassador.
Many coaches complain about the portal, which some 2,500 players are expected to enter to at least search for supposedly greener pastures. Other trainers try to make the most of it, willingly leaving room in recruiting classes to plug holes and turn rose bushes.
Then there’s Coach Prime, who makes no apologies for it. At Jackson State, he once said, “We live in the portal. We have an apartment in the portal. Now that he’s in the Pac-12, it’s not the same. Go with the program or get out, as he told his new team, which just finished a 1-11 season.
“I’m not going to lie: some of you sitting in those seats won’t have a seat,” Sanders said. “…So I want you all to get ready, go jump into that portal and do what you’re going to get.
“…Those of you we’re not running away from, we’ll try to get you to quit…I want those who don’t want to quit, who want to be here, who want to work, who want to earn, who enjoy everything they get here.
“…We’ve already taken over a few positions,” he told his new guys, “because I’m bringing my luggage with me, and it’s Louis [Vuitton].”
You won’t find any Vuittons on the CU roster next year when Sanders enters his first season as Pac-12 head coach, but you will find Prime’s own son, Shedeur, who will likely be the quarterback. therefore, and probably in both directions. sensation Travis Hunter Jr., the former No. 1 overall rookie, and a few other stars to follow from Jackson State.
You could also find 15-20 talented high school recruits who longtime recruiting expert Mike Farrell says will immediately propel the Buffs into a top-25 class. After that, it could be half a transfer squad, with literally 40-50 guys coming from all over.
Colorado’s roster is going to be flipped, and while what Sanders said isn’t necessarily groundbreaking — that’s how all new coaches change things — it’s never been said so boldly and publicly.
Coach Prime is 55 but no less confident than when he played in the NFL and MLB…at the same time. In 2020, he took over at Jackson State because it was the only place willing to hire him as a head coach without any experience — like former former NFLer Jim Harbaugh had to start in San Diego without a scholarship.
Sanders went 27-5, including 12-0 this season, and now he’s at Colorado, the worst Power 5 team in America this year, but one that Sanders considers heaven. He pointed out the great academics, the beautiful city and the great stadium.
Where others might say CU has outdated facilities compared to palaces nationwide, Prime scoffed and accused his current team of not liking it.
“We never had anything [the] kind of practice, practice,” he said of his situation at Jackson State. “Our children [at JSU] would be crazy to be in the situation you find yourself in, but you don’t respect it.
Some bristled at Sanders’ speech. Others were surprised that he was broadcasting videos around the world for all to see or cutting others pleading for potential transfers and rookies to reach out.
The thing is, he found his audience. Sources say more than 200 potential transfers have already made contact, with the number increasing by the hour. A top 20 prospect for the Class of 2025 has already verbally committed, despite offers from Alabama, Georgia and others.
A Pac-12 aide, watching the excitement of a long, moribund program from afar, surmised that “half our roster would probably leave if Deion contacted them.”
It’s clear that players love him, are attracted to him and want to be around him.
It’s not just these videos and messages they’ve seen. It’s the others, including Hunter hugging and crying in his coach’s arms before his first game. Or the time Hunter, a teammate, and Sanders discussed Hunter’s apparent strong loyalty to his girlfriend, with Prime jokingly accusing his freshman of secretly getting married and offering to write the prenup.
“He just connects with the kids in a way that other coaches just can’t,” said Adam Gorney, national scouting analyst for Rivals.
He is a coach like no other, who communicates in a way like no other. Its immediate challenge will not be to attract talent, but to sort through the growing mountain of it and choose the right ones.
The way sport is practiced is changing rapidly. How many games Sanders wins in Colorado remains to be seen, especially in 2023. The Buffaloes have posted a winning season (outside of the shortened 2020 COVID-19 schedule) since 2005. No one should expect a miracle.
Yet Sanders has already scored a major recruiting victory when he convinced 36-year-old Sean Lewis to quit as the head coach of Kent State to become the offensive coordinator at the UC. That means a fast, high-octane attack is coming.
It’s been two days, but something new is happening here. A change agent, a disruptor, a coach positioned to take advantage of a new era is in place.
Deion Sanders will tell you that he didn’t come to Colorado to just “show up but to show off.” It starts in the fall, but for now the rest of the sport is watching in awe.
It’s Prime Time in Colorado, where suddenly everything is different, and everything seems possible.
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