Just last week on The Pat McAfee Show, the former NFL punter and his co-host A.J. Hawk sat down with new Colorado Football head coach Deion Sanders to discuss his recruiting philosophies in his first offseason with the Buffaloes.
Specifically, Sanders took to discussing recruitment through the transfer portal and the major role he’s already seen it play in just his first few weeks at the power-5 level.
“We’re living out of that portal man,” Sanders said. “We’re 40% grad transfers, 40% portal [transfers], 20% in high school, so that’s the way we go about it to build a team, and we’re doing it.”
In Boulder, the program has already begun to see the benefits of Sanders first offseason with some major transfer recruits including five-star prospect Travis Hunter, tight end Seydou Traore, receiver Jimmy Horn Jr., his son Shedeur Sanders, and many more.
Furthermore, for Sanders, recruiting is personal and he’s identified exactly what he looks for when bringing a player into his program: somebody who’s about the team first and has their eyes towards the bigger picture.
“We want those types of kids that are smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character, or we’re going to clash,” Sanders said. “There’ve been kids who’ve come [to Colorado] on recruiting trips and all they want to talk about first was the NIL [deals]… I want you to have a passion and a purpose to make it to the NFL and then I want to know why you’re doing it.”
And when recruiting, according to Sanders, finding that opportunity for potential prospects to work for or towards something bigger than themselves can be the driving force behind a program’s success.
“Tell me it’s bigger than you because if it’s all about you, that’s going to be a problem,” he continued. “At one point in time in your life, you’re going to face some adversity and if it’s about you and you’re not stable enough, you’ll shut down,” Sanders said. “[But if it’s] about somebody more important than you, you’re not going to quit on them.”
After finishing just 1-11 last season, it’s no secret that this Colorado program is in for a major turnaround under their first-year head coach. But perhaps most importantly is how connected Sanders feels with the University, his new staff, and committed recruits.
“I was offered more money [from other programs] of course but money doesn’t move me,” Sanders said. “I was sitting down with a kid this past weekend and the coaches were beside me… and I said ‘Look, I’ve sat in all three seats, I’ve been the kid, I’ve been the parent, now I’m in the coaches chair, so there is nothing I don’t understand about this process.’”