Deion Sanders says ‘hope is in the house’ at Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. — Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders proudly recited the numbers from his first Colorado recruiting class.
Two five-star recruits. An overall class ranking of No. 23, which was the highest in 15 years, he pointed out, while starting to reshape his squad in the transfer portal.
Then a little reminder: he has not finished gathering talent. Not by far. It’s only a brief hiatus, he teased, with the possibility of more skilled players arriving sometime after the spring.
It took less than two months for Sanders in Boulder to not only revamp a downtrodden program, but also give a starving fan base something else: hope.
“We’re not recruiting ordinary Toms, Dicks and Harrys,” Sanders said on signing day Wednesday. “We’ve brought in guys who can light up the scoreboard and stop touchdowns from happening. We’re coming. We’re serious about it.
“Hope is in the home. Hope is in the air. Hope is in the city. Hope is in the community.”
Sanders and his team of veterans have been busy scouring the country for talent. The NFL Hall of Fame player known at the time as ‘Prime Time’ also posted on social media for rookies to contact him: “I’m not hard to find.”
The Buffaloes signed players from 16 states and two from England. Not only that, they brought in a pair of five-star rookies in high school cornerback Cormani McClain and traded cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter, who followed Sanders from Jackson State.
In all, there are around 35 newcomers to the spring roster. Perhaps that’s why Sanders didn’t really want to talk about each of them by name.
“We have names on the back of their shirts right now,” said Sanders, who begins spring training March 19, with the intrasquad game scheduled for April 22. “I don’t know all the kids. I’m not being disrespectful. I’m just being honest.
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That’s only natural, given that he completely overhauled the roster of a team that went 1-11 last season. The class has four players from Georgia and seven from Sanders’ home state of Florida. There are eight defensive backs, which will be useful given the quarterback’s level of play in the Pac-12.
Additionally, Sanders brought in eight wide receivers, including four-star Georgia rookie Adam Hopkins. There’s also running back Dylan Edwards, who changed after making a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.
Of course, don’t forget about that transfer quarterback named Shedeur Sanders, who just happens to be the son of “Coach Prime” and threw 70 TD passes in two seasons at Jackson State.
Deion Sanders said he was just warming up too.
“It’s just a comma, because there are a lot of people who are going to bungee jump into the portal after spring because they’re going to be disappointed with the playing time, the commitment or the level of participation they get,” Sanders said. “We’re going to take full advantage of it. So we’re not done. It’s just the comma for spring. But I like where we are and what we have.”
It didn’t take long for Sanders to settle in the city of Boulder, calling it a “hidden gem.” He can’t wait to move into a house and “run a dog around the yard.” He doesn’t even care about the snow that covered Folsom Field on Wednesday. Honestly, he says, he doesn’t know why a player would want to go anywhere else.
“We’re hoping to go get this kid,” Sanders said. “The only thing that can stop that kid from coming to sign with us is a sack – somebody paying him, the collectives or whatever. That’s it. Just getting past the cover. That’s it.
“Because the coaching staff, the atmosphere, the city, the publicity, the structure, the discipline, the academics, the graduation rate, the cafeteria food — I can go on, because it’s getting good. Just everything. It’s hard to say no. It really is.
Athletic director Rick George was listening and enjoying the tone of what he was hearing. Sanders quickly built the framework for a quick turnaround.
“He again brought a lot of energy and passion to this program,” said George. “This is what we desperately needed.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.