Do Deion Sanders, Colorado have a target on their backs heading into 2024 season?


The number of portal entries coming out of Boulder, Colorado, only yield concern if you’re new to this rather than true to this. That’s the position Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders has taken not just this year, but last year as well, his first season at Colorado.

Sanders, to his credit, hasn’t questioned much about how college football chooses to conduct itself. OK, yes, he did say an undefeated and ACC champion Florida State wouldn’t have been left out of a four-team College Football Playoff if he were head coach. And he did say he’d like to see the NCAA change recruiting rules to reflect that if a player verbally commits to a program, that player should forfeit the right to visit other programs.

But he also hasn’t had much to say about what other coaches and programs choose to do or how they choose to conduct their business. In one sense, I can understand how he finds it funny that other coaches question his recruiting philosophy and his policy on the transfer portal.

Do Shedeur Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes have a target on their backs?

Why should a coach at another program care about whether Prime performs home visits? … he doesn’t. Or why should opposing coaches care that he treats his roster like an NFL one in the offseason? Finally, why should coaches care that quarterback Shedeur Sanders and safety Shilo Sanders are leading the interview process for incoming transfers? It’s this last point where former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci’s speech to Prime’s team just a week before the transfer portal opens feels prescient.

“The whole world’s watching you guys,” Mariucci said to “Well Off Media.” “I’m just telling you right now, people don’t know what’s going on here. It’s happening so fast and some people are on your side and saying this is really exciting. And some people are just kind of rooting against you because it’s not supposed to happen this fast.”

In the first two days of the portal opening, 14 Colorado players have entered, including running back Alton McCaskill and former five-star corner back Cormani McClain. Prime watched 20 players leave his program last spring, and I dare say we’ll see a few more before the window closes on April 30.

There is a lot of attention being paid to a 4-8 Colorado program that saw its No. 1 player, Travis Hunter, get bullied for 294 yards on 13 catches by Elic Ayomanor, and an offensive line that gave up more than 50 sacks and got the starting quarterback’s back broken. But yet, there are still a number of folks who continue to line up to watch what happens next at Folsom Field.

Any time you can get this kind of attention for a bad football team and continue to set records for sellouts, season-tickets and enrollment, there are those who will have you squared up in their sights.

Is there really a bull’s-eye on Colorado’s back in 2024? Of course there is.

But I don’t think that says much about Colorado. It says more about us, the fans and media, who will pay this program our attention even when it’s bad. Lord help us all if they turn out to be good.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.


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