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Colorado Football Is Bleeding Recruits

Deion Sanders head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes watches warmups before their game against the Utah Utes at Rice Eccles Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

After seizing national attention with a bombastic 3-0 start, the Deion Sanders-led Colorado Buffaloes then spent the rest of the season getting the shit kicked out of them. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders was sacked a total of 52 times, needed multiple injections to make it through games, and missed the season-ending loss to Utah with a fracture in his back, according to a YouTube video posted by his brother Deion Sanders Jr. entitled "Colorado Ends Their Season 4-8 With Loss To Utah: PAC 12 Refs Are TERRIBLE: Shedeur’s Injury." Although the Buffs' season is over, they keep taking losses: Several recruits have pulled back their commitments this month.

On Sunday, four-star quarterback Antwann Hill announced that he would decommit from Colorado and visit more schools, no longer reclassifying into the 2024 class as he said he would when he committed in October. Hill, the third-ranked 2025 QB prospect, made the change weeks after the ninth-ranked 2025 wide receiver prospect, Winston Watkins Jr., announced he too would be pulling back from the Buffaloes, and three-star offensive lineman Talan Chandler flipped to Missouri. The same day Hill made his announcement, tight ends coach and noted recruiter Tim Brewster also left the program. On Monday, three-star QB Danny O'Neil and three-star running back Jamarice Wilder both decommitted. Colorado now has the 64th-ranked 2024 class, two spots above local rival Colorado State.

This does not necessarily mean it is already Coloradover for next season: Sanders has used the transfer portal to build his team as aggressively as any coach in college football. With the portal opening next week, his team could conceivably replenish the roster through transfers like last year. Colorado has spent the week reassuring fans that everything is fine; the Buffs' 2024 class still includes the 101st- and 104th-ranked players. The problem is what led to their quarterback getting beaten up this season: The class only has one offensive lineman, junior college transfer Issiah Walker Jr.

When asked last week about Watkins and Chandler leaving the program, Sanders was defiant. "A kid ain’t even faithful to his girlfriend, you think he gonna be faithful to a school? That’s an emotional thing," he said. "What I wish the NCAA would do is if you commit somewhere, you can’t go on other visits."

That's a bold idea coming from a guy whose job requires him to convince college athletes to renege. The whole benefit of Deion Sanders as a head coach is that he's Deion Sanders. He's supposed to leverage his undeniable star power to lure good players to Boulder, and right now that momentum is stagnating. Getting Travis Hunter to Jackson State and bringing him along to Colorado was a huge coup, but he's only one player. If the big things coming aren't capable offensive linemen who will keep Deion's son upright, the coach might need to find a backup plan.

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