Those expecting Deion Sanders to make a splash upon his hiring by Colorado have not been disappointed. Forget splash — tsunami might be the better word for it.

And speaking of words, Coach Prime has been none to shy in recent weeks, both in his proclamations for Colorado’s expectations and success in 2023, as he spelled out in a recent interview with ESPN’s Adam Rittenburg, and in terms of his preferred recruiting strategy, which drew some much-deserved ire.

But Sanders has been nothing short of bolder in Boulder, and maybe that’s what the Buffaloes needed: Someone to rock the boat a little bit. Sanders’ hire shocked me at the time and still shocks me on numerous fronts. I thought he’d make the leap straight to an SEC or ACC school after his work was done at Jackson State, and I didn’t think his work was quite done there in the first place. When whispers started coming out that Sanders was primed to leave the Tigers and that Colorado was a potential fit, I actually scoffed. It just felt … odd.

And when Sanders addressed his new team for the first time and shared the footage, I cringed a bit.

“Those of you that we don’t run off, we’re going to try to make you quit,” Sanders told his new players in early December. “That’s what our season is going to look like. I want ones that don’t want to quit, that want to be here, who want to work, who want to win. … I don’t want to get in the game and then find out I’ve got Jane, when all offseason I had Tarzan.”

His heart is on his sleeve. His emotions are front and center. His talk is big and bold.

The question is, can he deliver on it?

Short answer? No.

At least not this season.

Forget the full schedule — September alone is enough to make any Power 5 coach swoon.

Defending national runner-up TCU, followed by Nebraska under fellow 1st-year coach Matt Rhule. After Colorado State comes to Boulder a week later, the Buffaloes head to Eugene for a tough matchup with the Ducks at Autzen Stadium, then they return home to host Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans. That might be the toughest September in all of college football. Then comes a brief reprieve, with winnable games against Arizona State and Stanford followed by a bye, before things pick up with a final stretch that includes road games at UCLA, Washington State and Utah and home tests against Oregon State and Arizona.

It’s not exactly the kind of soft launch a 1st-year coach wants, especially one with the mindset of Coach Prime. But you tell him to soften his expectations, even if Colorado is coming off a miserable 1-11 season under Karl Dorrell. We’re learning quickly that the Neon Deion who lit up wide receivers and quieted even the best in the game has brought his bravado to the sidelines.

When he first met with his inherited players, his harsh words drew a rebuke from media members throughout the country. To players, though, they may have appreciated his blunt talk.

“It’s not a hard message, because here’s the thing: A lot of people are used to being lied to,” Shedeur Sanders told ESPN’s Rittenburg. “The players coming in, they’re coming to play — they’re not coming to sit. So if you’ve been here, you’re chilling, you’re thinking your spot’s good, that’s not the case. You’ve got guys wanting to play with top talent, each and every position. Nowadays, a lot of people are scared of the truth, and they don’t like hearing that.”

Shedeur is one of the ones coming in to take a job, as the talented former 4-star quarterback joins his dad from Jackson State, where he passed for nearly 7,000 yards and 70 touchdowns with 14 interceptions in 2 seasons.

He’ll be expected to resurrect an offense that has not finished in the national top 50 in scoring since 2001. He’ll be joined by Kentucky running back transfer and all-name all-star Kavosiey Smoke, as well as former South Florida stud wideout Jimmy Horn Jr. Colorado ranks 97th nationally in returning production, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.


Last week, after Sanders’ appearance on the Rich Eisen Show during Super Bowl week on Radio Row, Sanders again made me cringe when he detailed his “recruiting blueprint”

“Well, we have different attributes. Smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character,” Sanders said. “Now, quarterbacks are different. We want mother, father. Dual-parent. We want that kid to be a 3.5 [GPA] and up because he has to be smart. Not bad decisions off the field at all. Because he has to be a leader of men and so many different attributes in what we look for when we see a quarterback. You would love a coach’s son, somewhere a coach has coached him. … Different positions are different. Like O-linemen, I look for dual-parent homes. A strong father that they adhere to. Smart kid, at least 3.3 [GPA] and above. Tough, physical. Defensive lineman is totally opposite. Single mama, trying to get it. He’s on free lunch. I’m talking about just trying to make it. He’s trying to rescue mama. Like, mama barely made the flight, and I just want him to go get it. It’s a whole bit of different attributes you look for in different positions, and we have that stuff just chronicled. We know what we want, and we go get it.”

I’m not sure that’s kosher to say in pleasant company, much less on national radio and television, but look, Prime is Prime. If there is an unspoken truth out there, Sanders is going to say it.

So far, Sanders has talked the talk and walked the walk.

Come September, we’ll see if he’s still doing so.