Deion Sanders is the new head coach for the Colorado program. The transfer portal will instantly vault the Buffalo into contention for the conference title in 2023.
The Early Years
The pride and joy of Fort Myers, Florida, Deion Sanders starred as a three-sport athlete in high school. Basketball quickly fell to the wayside as he garnered increasing hype on the gridiron and the baseball diamond.
Sanders performed well enough for the Kansas City Royals to select the superstar outfielder in the sixth round of the 1985 MLB Draft. After mulling over the decision, Sanders decided against signing the contract and entering the Royals system as a highly-touted prospect.
Instead, the Florida State Seminoles came knocking. The prestigious program offered Sanders the opportunity to continue his playing career in both football and baseball. He also became a member of the FSU track & field squad.
Sanders’ ability to stand out in multiple sports carried over to the collegiate world. He was the best player on a top-ranked football team and baseball team. Not just that, Sanders regularly drew ooh’s and awe’s from the crowd at track & field events. Simply put, Deion Sanders was becoming a household name before our very eyes.
Deion Sanders Becomes Two-Sport Professional Athlete
Due to his success at Florida State, Sanders found himself with several possibilities at the next level. The New York Yankees drafted the multi-sport athlete in the 30th round of the 1988 MLB Draft. Early in 1989, the Atlanta Falcons selected Deion Sanders as the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Over a month later, while using the Yankees as leverage in negotiations, Deion Sanders made his MLB debut. The situation with Atlanta would soon be smoothed over, paving the way for Sanders to do what he has always done — put on a show.
Sanders became the first athlete to ever score a touchdown and hit a home run in the same week. The Yankees hoped to have Sanders commit to them full-time, but after denying his request for a pay raise, the two sides agreed to part ways. The baseball dream was far from over, though.
Sanders quickly became a star in Atlanta early in his Falcons career. The FSU product was already one of the best players in the NFL entering year three of his rookie deal in 1991. That same year, Sanders inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves to give baseball one more shot, hoping that both franchises being based in the same city would alleviate the concern of all parties involved.
In that first year with both franchises, because of a prior arrangement, Sanders was forced to report to the Falcons and miss the Braves’ playoff run. Thankfully, the two sides were able to amend the contract, allowing Sanders to continue playing if the Braves go on another postseason run. And they did just that in 1992.
Deion Sanders played a key role in the success of both teams, with the 1992 season being his best yet. He ranked as the best return man in the NFL and cemented his case as the best cornerback in the league. On the baseball field, Sanders hit over .300 in 97 games and ranked toward the top of the stolen bases category.
Deion Sanders Plays In World Series and Wins Two Super Bowls
The Atlanta Braves made the World Series in 1992, and Sanders carried the group at times, hitting above .500 for the series and leading the team in multiple categories. Ultimately, Deion’s crew fell short of their ultimate goal, dropping a tightly-contested battle with the Toronto Blue Jays.
This is where the MLB career began to slow down. The 1993 campaign was Sanders’ final full season in the city of Atlanta. The Braves traded their star to the Cincinnati Reds early in 1994, and Sanders signed with the San Francisco 49ers that same spring, ending his five-year stint with the Falcons.
Sanders’ time with the Reds (and Giants shortly after) was uneventful, and it essentially marked the end of his playing days in the MLB. Coincidentally, Sanders had his best season in the NFL as his MLB career was winding down. With the Niners, Prime Time was truly in his prime. He helped lead the Niners to a Super Bowl victory.
The deal with San Fran was only for one season, so fresh off of his career year, the free agency battle between franchises was a blood bath. With at least a dozen teams entrenched in a bidding war, the negotiations continued into the NFL season. Eventually, Sanders would sign a record-breaking contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
Sanders spent the first couple of months of the season recovering from knee surgery, but he returned midway through 1995 and played an integral part in Dallas winning their third Super Bowl title in four years. Not to mention, Deion Sanders won back-to-back rings himself. That would be the peak of Sanders’ playing career, as he still produced at a Pro Bowl level for the remainder of his career, but noticeably less than before.
Deion Sanders Retires; Becomes TV Personality & Starts Head Coaching Journey
Following Deion Sanders’ retirement from professional sports, the larger-than-life personality quickly found a new niche. To no surprise, it was just as fun to watch Sanders talk about football as it was to watch him play. Serving with ESPN, CBS, and NFL Network over the years — among others — the NFL Hall of Famer captivated audiences, old and young alike.
Sanders’ true calling began taking center stage in the early 2010s. He co-founded the Prime Prep Academy, a charter high school program in Texas, and became a head coach for the first time in his life. Sanders had another brief head coaching stint with Triple A Academy, but his next stop at Texas Christian High School would change everything.
Rather than being the head coach, Deion Sanders was named the offensive coordinator. This allowed him to coach two of his children, Shilo and Shedeur. Coach Prime put the entire offense, not only his kin, on the map. Shedeur became a star in his own right, earning four stars on the recruiting trail and profiling as one of the top quarterbacks in his class.
Deion used this successful start to his coaching career and parlayed it into a head coaching gig at the FCS level of college football. Jackson State, a proud HBCU, welcomed Sanders (and his son) with open arms. Yes, Deion’s son Shedeur followed him to Jackson State, making him the highest recruit in program history. For a while, at least.
Sanders went 4-3 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but in his first full year with the Tigers, he led the group to a conference championship and school-record 11 wins. Sanders won the coach of the year award for the FCS, showing that he is the type of guy to succeed at anything he decides to do. Further supporting this statement, Coach Prime landed a five-star recruit in Travis Hunter.
Originally, Travis Hunter committed to Deion’s alma mater, Florida State, in large part because of Prime Time. Hunter grew up watching Deion Sanders highlights, dreaming of one day being the same type of impact player. When Hunter saw the chance to learn from his childhood idol, he jumped on it, flipping his commitment to Jackson State.
Sure, this can be chalked up as a “lucky break”, but that would be doing Sanders’ influence on young players a disservice. Travis Hunter is not the only youngster that grew up wanting to be the next Deion Sanders. The fact that Sanders secured a five-star recruit to an FCS program is nothing short of incredible. Not only was Hunter a five-star, but he was also the No. 1 player in the class, regardless of position.
The ability to get young men to buy into his philosophy is a trait that few possess. Deion Sanders does not rest on his laurels. He demands excellence, and anything short is not good enough. Players signing on to play for Sanders know this, and it lights a fire under them to improve each and every day on campus.
Jackson State ran the table in 2022, completing its first-ever undefeated season in program history. The rumors swirled all year that Sanders was looking to jump to the FBS if the right job presented itself. And evidently, it did.
Deion Sanders Is Named Head Coach At Colorado
Immediately following Jackson State’s conference championship game, Deion Sanders was reportedly in agreement to become the next head coach of the Colorado Buffalo football program. The reports proved to be true, as Sanders inked a five-year deal and instantly caused a stir around the college football world.
The first-year head coach in Boulder has his work cut out for him. Sanders inherits a roster that won only a single game in 2022. It is devoid of high-end talent and will need a major facelift to be competitive in year one. Still, I am not betting against Coach Prime.
The Buffaloes will get a shot in the arm with the addition of Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter to the roster. Deion already stated at his introductory press conference that his son will assume the QB1 spot on the depth chart for Colorado. Travis Hunter, not yet officially with Colorado, is expected to make his plans known soon, but most expect him to stick with the Sanders duo.
Furthermore, the new Colorado head coach already signed a five-star wide receiver from the 2025 recruiting class, getting a great head start. The Jackson State transfers and new recruits in 2023 only scratch the surface of the talent headed toward Colorado.
Thanks to NIL deals, and relaxed transfer rules, the transfer portal is one of the most important aspects of building a football team. Although many names were already in the portal, the Sanders announcement caused an influx of transfers. Rumors claim that Sanders has former four- and five-star recruits on the way, and more than a few.
We only have to look to a fellow Pac-12 program to see the blueprint to success. The USC Trojans came one win shy of earning a College Football Playoff berth in year one of the Lincoln Riley Era. Similar to Sanders, Riley brought a superstar quarterback with him, as well as a handful of other players via the transfer portal.
It could prove to be a challenge for Deion Sanders to replicate the early success for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, Caleb Williams is arguably the best player in the country, so he naturally will elevate a unit. Also, while USC was a mess before Lincoln Riley, they still had talent on the roster to serve as a foundation.
Deion just tore everything down in Colorado. There is no foundation in place; he must lay each brick. If his track record is any indication, this is exactly the way he likes it. Sanders needs an entire roster dedicated to his mission for it to succeed. In tearing it down and rebuilding it from scratch, Sanders ensures that will be the case.
He already told the current Colorado players that transfers were on the way and that they were hungry. No job is safe with the Buffalo, and Sanders announced that anyone who isn’t down to earn their keep should go ahead and hit the transfer portal now. What can I say? Deion is Deion to his core.
There will be no shortage of folks asking the question, “is this too soon for Deion Sanders?”. Those questions are not unwarranted, but only a fool would bet against Coach Prime at this point. He was born for the spotlight, he is one of the best athletes to ever grace this Earth, and now he has the potential to be the next elite head coach at the college football level. Colorado fans should be ecstatic.