The new era in college football has already begun with the introduction of the new transfer portal rules. It has become an absolute free for all and essentially created free agency in college football. After the Colorado Spring Game we are truly seeing the new way to recruit and build your team. Head Coach Deion Sanders made his long awaited, and anticipated, debut at the University of Colorado. We know Spring Games (or practices) to be just that, glorified scrimmages for the fans to get a taste of what the team will look like come fall football season.
Coach Prime Delivered
Sanders set high expectations for himself and even higher expectations for his team. Colorado fired the former head coach Karl Dorell mid-season (after a 0-5 start) and the program finished an irrelevant 1-11 on the season. The only win came against Cal after a re-energized team played with the interim coach. All the games were blowouts, and the season was a disaster in Boulder. Colorado decided to bring in former Jackson State HC and NFL Legend, the always flashy, Deion Sanders. He promised immediate change and he has delivered on that promise. The Spring Game was sold out to capacity crowd of approximately 47,000 spectators itching to see this new look Buffalo football team and the players put on a show for the fans. And ESPN released their viewership numbers on Tuesday and 551,000 people tuned into the Colorado Spring Game. It was the network’s second most watched Spring Game since 2016. The university has also seen sold out season tickets and a 700% increase in merchandise sales.
Sanders Recruits A Certain Type Of Student
The majority of this year’s team have come from the NCAA Transfer Portal. These include the two big names on this year’s team. Those students are QB Shadeur Sanders (Deion’s Son and JSU transfer) and another JSU transfer and former #1 recruit, RB Travis Hunter. They were, and will be, the standout players on this football team. Sanders has a huge undertaking this season as they have brought in 46 new players from the transfer portal, and they had 83 players on scholarship at the start of the 2022 season. Deion has given his players ultimatums about work ethic, manners, and accountability towards not only this program but also their peers. He plans to instill those values in the program and if you don’t have them or don’t want to be a part of it, then he will not hesitate to release you from your scholarship. It’s a tall order but Deion knows that students will give him respect as he has shown his worth on the field and on the sidelines as their coach and mentor thus far.
Still Work To Do
After Colorado’s Spring Game it was announced that 18 players (with no warning or comment) left the program and entered the Transfer Portal. As mentioned above, the scholarship players totaled 83 at the start of last season, as of Monday night, that number is now hovering around 20 (from the original roster). One notable loss was the star WR of the Spring Game, Montana Lemonius-Craig, who caught 3 balls for 154 yards and 2 TDs. Sanders told players that didn’t believe in his way of running a program to leave and even encouraged it. While many parents probably did not enjoy those remarks, this is the new wave (or business) in college football.
The leashes on these coaches are getting shorter and the new era instant gratification has arrived. Deion expected overnight change and he is getting it, but this new staff will have to start all over again with new portal transfers as Spring practices end. But something tells me, Deion wouldn’t want it any other way right now and will have his team ready to compete when Colorado opens the season against last seasons runner up, TCU in Fort Worth.