When the Colorado Buffaloes hired Deion Sanders away from Jackson State, they did so with the belief that he could change the trajectory of their flailing program swiftly. After going 27-6 at Jackson State, winning two SWAC championships and playing in back-to-back Celebration Bowls in his three seasons in the SWAC, Sanders is now bringing that same belief to Boulder. And with it comes his mandate that he won’t settle for mediocrity from the beginning.
In an interview with ESPN on Friday the outspoken and charismatic Sanders had this to say about his expectations of players at Colorado.
“It’s a whole different level of expectation around here, and you got to be able to play the game,” Sanders told ESPN. “So a certain level that might have been welcome, that level is no longer welcomed here. It’s a whole different game now.”
With the Buffaloes coming off a 1–11 season, the program’s worst since 2012, and going 5-19 the last two seasons combined, Sanders is righting the ship, and that means setting new standards. And with him, mediocrity or average just won’t cut it.
Mediocrity Won’t Be Tolerated
For Sanders, it’s three keys that must be met for a program to have first-year success. It begins with academics in the classroom. That is accompanied by player conduct and how quickly players mature as young men. If all these are met then the football field will take care of itself, and that’s something Sanders has long stressed.
“We will not settle for mediocrity,” Sanders said. “It is what it is. You’re going to get on this program, or you’re going to get up out of here. We plan on winning, and we don’t have to time to procrastinate.
Sanders Has Made Himself At Home In Boulder
Hired on Dec. 4, Sanders was able to land a top-30 recruiting class and even flipped five-star cornerback Cormani McClain, a long-standing Miami recruit. The addition of McClain gives Sanders the top cornerback in the last two recruiting cycle, along with him flipping 2022 No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter who was committed to Sanders alma mater, Florida State.
But Coach Prime, as he’s affectionately known, is enjoying the transition from the SWAC to a Power Five conference. He calls Colorado a sight to behold, and says folks have been sleeping on it.
“This place is beautiful,” Sanders said. “And I’m pretty sure, with the lack of success, is people get complacent around here. They don’t understand the beauty and the Diamond you have, and they just walk around fulfilling obligations for a job, instead of being happy, enthusiastic and just proud to be in this position.”
That should change with him at the helm, and no longer will Colorado be overlooked or slept on, as Sanders referenced. Their gantlet to open the season features a road test at national runner-up TCU in week 1. Then it’s a home tilt with the new-look Nebraska Cornhuskers and Pac-12 powers USC and Oregon.