Colorado’s Deion Sanders gives the Buffs the type of national recognition that Texas Tech hasn’t had since the Mike Leach era
The most fascinating team in the new Big 12 will be Colorado, which will begin the Deion Sanders era in 2023. So by the time the Buffs join the league next fall, we will have a much better idea of where that program will be headed.
This is the biggest boom-or-bust hire that we’ve seen in college football’s modern era. The Pro Football Hall of Fame member has only been in the college coaching game since 2020 and has never coached at the FBS level.
What’s more, he is not known as a master tactician on either side of the football. He’s got no experience as a position coach or coordinator so it is going to be incumbent upon his assistants to bridge the strategic gap.
On the other hand, no coach in the country has a name that carries more weight with recruits. Though Sanders’ legendary playing career ended in 2005 when most of today’s college players were not even in Kindergarten, his legendary status in the game’s history and his brash persona have kept him relevant.
Sanders has the type of swagger and bravado that many believe will draw high-profile players to Boulder. However, the current Colorado recruiting class ranks just 78th in the nation with only eight players committed.
Of course, Sanders is comfortable swimming in the waters of the transfer portal. After all, he’s already brought in 56 new players since his program held its spring game.
Also, one has to wonder if Sanders has the ability to abide by NCAA compliance guidelines. Though the N.I.L. laws have made that aspect of running a college program much easier, there are still numerous rules and standards that his program will have to meet.
Of course, his complete mismanaging of the high school he founded in Texas, Prime Prep Academy, should give everyone pause about his ability to lead any organization. In fact, Sanders was fired from the school after a 2013 confrontation with a faculty member. Then, in 2015, the entire school folded amid numerous lawsuits and under the weight of hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.
Still, in the modern era of college sports, where cash is now flowing to players openly and where flash and status seem to be more important than ever, Sanders might be the perfect person to resurrect one of the worst programs in the nation. That’s why we can’t discount the possibility of Colorado being a big player in the new Big 12.