Coach Deion Sanders has recruited so many new players to his new job at Colorado that he can’t be expected to know them all by name.
So he made a special request to the media on Wednesday at his first press conference in Boulder since being introduced as the Buffaloes’ new head football coach on Dec. 4.
“Okay, kind of stay away from names,” Sanders told reporters before they started asking him questions. “I’m not familiar with everyone’s name. All the players’ names, I’m not. I’m not going to pretend I am. I’ll give them nicknames when it’s appropriate, and I’ll call them by their name. I have names on the back of their jerseys right now, but I’m not familiar with every kid…and I don’t I’m being disrespectful. I’m just being honest.”
This is understandable given the fact that it has attracted a Class of 42 newcomers in just eight weeks on the job, including 23 transfers from other four-year colleges. Twenty-nine of them are already registered. And more may roll out shortly after the NCAA transfer portal opens back in May.
Together they make up the largest class of newcomers in the school’s recorded history and have been ranked #21 nationally, According to 247 Sports A remarkable turn of events for a program that has lost seasons in 15 of the past 17 years, including the 1-11 season in 2022.
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Sanders, a college and pro football Hall of Famer, talked about his plans for more recruiting this spring, how he managed to make it all happen, as well as his views on money as part of the recruiting game now that players are allowed to earn. Income from their names, images, and likeness (none).
What about nothing money?
When asked about his recruiting ground, Sanders gave a response that addresses a suspicion some might have about a lack of money suddenly driving recruits to Boulder. Sanders has greatly helped raise Colorado’s national profile. So it makes sense that recruiters would have better chances of making money than having none.
“I’m not selling anything,” Sanders said in the press conference, which was also broadcast online. That’s the thing. That’s the way it is. One of the first things I say if you’re here for nothing, or to be rich is: ‘We’re not the right school for you.’ But if you’re here to become a man, get a degree, and a tremendous education And you grow, you win, you get professional, maybe if you do all the right things, so do we. So we’re not here for zero. We’re here for the NFL, and we’re here to make you a man. But we don’t have anything to sell.”
His press conference came on the day of the national draft signing, even though most CU newcomers do already signed or registered.
Perhaps the boldest statement Sanders made on Wednesday was when asked about his recruiting success in such a short time. He said that this success expected him and his crew. Then he dropped this line about his mentality when recruiting a player:
“The only thing that could stop that kid from coming and signing with us is a bag (money), someone to pay him, combinations (nothing) or whatever,” said Sanders, aka Coach Prime. And that’s it. And just beat the coverage. That’s it, because the coaching staff, the atmosphere, the city, the publicity, the structure, the discipline, the academics, the graduation rate, the food in the cafeteria. I can go on because this thing is getting better. Just everything. It’s hard. Say no.”
Sanders, 55, said Boulder “sells itself” with its mountains, beauty and lack of crime. He said he also tells parents of recruits that he sat in the “three benches.”
“I was the player and the kid who got recruited,” Sanders said. who wore a Colorado Nike jacket as required by his contract with CU. “I was the parent sitting next to the kid being recruited. Now I’m the coach recruiting the darn kid. So mom, I know what it feels like.”
He noted that today’s players are too young to remember him from his stardom as an NFL and Major League Baseball player. “But their parents do,” he said. “So parents find consistency in the way I maintain my life and the way I sustain myself.”
It has attracted players from all over. They have come from 16 different countries and two foreign countries, which is the most in CU history.
Sanders has not finished recruiting for 2023
The transfer gate opens again in May. CU’s spring training began in March, and concluded with the spring game on April 22. He was restricted by NCAA rule to 85 scholarship players. So more players are possible He could leave Colorado, or be forced outwith additional players entering.
He said Wednesday’s signing was “just a pause”. “That’s just a clincher. Because there are a lot of people who are going to bungee jump in that gate after the spring because they’re going to be disappointed in the playtime and the commitment or the level of involvement they’re getting. And we’re going to take full advantage of that. So we’re not done.”
Hope has returned to Boulder
Sanders has praised Boulder and the reception it has received from the community, whose football program had not seen this much national attention since the 1990s and late 1980s, when the Buffs were a top 25 regular. Colorado regularly went to bowl games then Under the leadership of head coach Bill McCartney, who recently visited Sanders at the CU Athletics facility. McCartney led the Buffs to a share of the national title in 1990.
“Hope has been re-established, I really believe,” Sanders said. “I think there was, but sometimes you need to light that switch of hope. And hope is in the house. Hope is in the air. Hope is in the city. Hope is in the community. Hope is inside all of you (news media). And you want to write good things. You don’t want Writing bad things.
Cormani McClain, the #1 cornerback recruit in the nation, Officially signed with Colorado On Wednesday after a previous commitment to Miami (FL).
Alabama linebacker Demoy Kennedy also announced on Instagram that he’s transferring to Colorado. He was Alabama’s top recruit in 2020, according to 247 Sports, but he’s played as a backup or on special teams since then, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in October. He is not among the 23 transfers counted in the newcomer class announced Wednesday but is being recruited by the Buffs.
After signing on Wednesday, McClain will join Travis Hunter, a transfer from Jackson State who is the number one ranked recruit in 2022. Both wanted to play with Sanders, the legendary former defensive back.
“I like where we are and what we have,” Sanders said. “I like secondary from what I see on paper.”
It’s because of him.
“He did a great job in the gate but also in high school,” said Adam Gurney, national recruiting director for Rivals.com. “He’s done with some famous people who a million percent wouldn’t have gone to Colorado if he wasn’t there.”
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