Deion Sanders Is Landing Big Recruits, But Can He Win at Colorado?

Ryan Phillips
Cricket Celebration Bowl - Jackson State v NC Central
Cricket Celebration Bowl - Jackson State v NC Central / Paras Griffin/GettyImages
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When Colorado announced Deion Sanders would be the school's next football coach, the move stunned college football. There were a ton of questions, most centered around how Colorado could afford to bring him in. But above all else, there was a persistent query running through the minds of most college football experts: can Sanders actually coach at the Power-5 level? Well, one thing is for certain, the man can recruit.

Since his arrival in Boulder, Sanders has sold a number of high-profile prospects on playing for him. After three seasons and a 27-6 record at Jackson State (including a 23-3 mark over the last two campaigns), Sanders has proven he can land talent. Several of his high-profile players from JSU have opted to join him in Colorado, boosting the Buffaloes' outlook.

Sanders' son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, has come along, as has former five-star cornerback Travis Hunter. In all, seven Jackson State players have transferred to Colorado so far. Meanwhile, Arkansas State tight end Seydou Traore, USF receiver Jimmy Horn Jr., Arkansas tackle Myles Slusher and Kent State tackle Savion Washington headline a deluge of other transfers already on board.

On Thursday, Sanders pulled off his biggest recruiting coup yet, as the nation's top prep cornerback flipped to Colorado. Lakeland, Florida's Cormani McClain dumped his commitment to Miami and opted to join Sanders in the Pac-12. Overall, Colorado's high school recruiting class ranks 29th, while it's transfer class ranks No. 4 according to 247Sports. It's easy to see Sanders doing even more than that with a full recruiting cycle.

We know the guy can convince players to play for him, but can he win games on the big stage. While his success at Jackson State was a fun story, the Pac-12 is not the SWAC and Colorado has some deep, systemic problems that will take time to fix. Excluding the 2020 COVID-shortened campaign, the Buffaloes have had one winning season since 2005. Including interim guys, Colorado has had seven different head coaches during that time, and none could solve the program's issues.

It will be a long haul for Sanders to truly turn things around in Boulder, but there's no doubt he's off to a great start on the recruiting front.

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