Deion Sanders discusses Colorado roster overhaul ahead of season opener: ‘Our roster was horrible’


Deion Sanders is making his Colorado debut against No. 17 TCU on Saturday after eight months of hype. 

Sanders was hired in December in order to turn around a program that went 1-11 in 2022 and has had just one season with double-digit wins over a 21-year period. 

Deion Sanders speaks to reporters

Colorado Buffaloes head football coach Deion Sanders answers questions at the 70th annual Colorado University Fall Sports Media Day in Boulder August 11, 2023.  (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“Coach Prime” has gone about the turnaround in a way that has caused a stir, using the transfer portal to add talent. The Buffaloes return just 10 scholarship players from 2022 with 68 new scholarship players on the roster, according to The Athletic. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PREVIEW: DEION SANDERS MAKES COLORADO DEBUT

Sanders also used an NCAA rule that stipulates that first-year head coaches may cut players from the roster, though the university must honor the players’ scholarships. 

The roster overhaul has rubbed some people the wrong way, including Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi, who said it “looks bad on college football coaches across the country” in an interview with 247 Sports in May. 

Prior to the 12:00 p.m. ET kickoff against the Horned Frogs, Sanders sat down with Troy Aikman for an interview that aired on “College Gameday.” 

Sanders said the criticism from coaches didn’t surprise him, adding that his roster overhaul wasn’t “unconventional.”

Deion Sanders takes the field

Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders hits the field before the start of the spring game at Folsom Field.  (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

“No, because it happened like that at HBCU’s. It happened like that in high school,” Sanders said. “It happened like that in youth football. This ain’t no different. It’s just a different level. Same devil. Just a different level. 

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“It’s really not unconventional. We just did it at an alarming rate,” Sanders said of the roster overhaul. “Our roster was horrible. I only brought like 20 kids in and had the real discussion with them that it was not going to happen anymore. The rest of them quit. They quit.” 

Sanders never hid his intentions when he took over at Colorado, telling his players in his first meeting to “get ready to go ahead and jump in that [transfer] portal” as he was bringing players with him from Jackson State University.  

Deion Sanders speaks to reporters

CU football head coach Deion Sanders is in the press conference at UCHealth Champions Center In Boulder, Colorado on Friday, August 4, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Now, the college football world will see what Colorado can do on the field with Sanders running the show. 

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Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, will be under center after throwing for 70 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions in two seasons at Jackson State. Travis Hunter, the no. 1 recruit in the 2022 class, also followed “Coach Prime” to Colorado and is expected to play both ways. 

TCU, coming off a national championship game appearance, has some new faces. 

The Horned Frogs lost offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, Heisman finalist quarterback Max Duggan, running back Kendre Miller and wide receiver Quentin Johnston.



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