Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has turned the program’s annual spring game this weekend into a full-blown event. Coach Prime drew a national ESPN broadcast to Boulder, is expected to draw the largest-ever crowd for a CU spring game, and has welcomed back a herd of program legends to campus this week.

His impact on CU has already been felt.

One of those former greats who is back in town spoke glowingly of Sanders after practice earlier this week.

“Coach Prime’s effect is beyond words when it comes to this institution,” Stewart said. “He has re-energized how we think about football at CU. It’s like there was a plug that was sitting on the floor next to the socket and someone had to be brave enough to put it in the wall and get this thing lit up again.”

Stewart quarterbacked Colorado from 1992 to 1994. During that time, he posted three consecutive 2,000-yard passing seasons and helped the Buffs to a 28-6-2 record. He then went on to a long career in the NFL, where his path crossed with Sanders more than once.

The two men played against one another in Super Bowl XXX — Sanders with the Dallas Cowboys and Stewart with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were then teammates on the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 and 2005. their NFL careers together as teammates at Baltimore in 2004 and 2005.

“This dude played it. He’s done it. He’s seen it,” Stewart said. “He always had the opportunity to identify talent. He was one of those talents that had to be identified. You look at all of the things that he’s done overall, it’s kind of hard to say what he doesn’t know when it comes to talent. Just look at the body of work, two Super Bowl (rings), the World Series, just winning across the board. Then he goes to Jackson State and turned that program around literally overnight.”

Stewart said he’s seen the same energy in the program throughout the last 20 years, which is to say he knew they needed a spark.

Coach Prime certainly brings energy, and it’ll get rolling on Saturday.