Former Colorado Head Coach Offers Unbiased Insight On Players That Left Amid Deion Sanders’ Mass Exodus

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What has happened at Colorado over the last five months is unprecedented. Most of the football team left the program after the Deion Sanders’ hire and Mike Sanford Jr. wants to help!

The mass exodus is unlike anything we have ever seen in the sport, and it is a perfect reflection of the harsh reality that comes with the modern era of the transfer portal and Name, Image and Likeness. College football is no longer an amateur sport on any level. It has been professionalized in all aspects.

As such, Coach Prime and his staff are taking an NFL approach to their first six months with the program. The Buffaloes went 1-11 last year and stormed the field after their only win.

That won’t cut it anymore.

Sanders warned players of the overhaul that was to come. He told them to hit the transfer portal if they weren’t up to the challenge in his first meeting with the team.

Many of them listened and got out right away. Some of them stuck around for spring practice.

Not many are left.

Sunday marked the final day that college football players could enter the transfer portal before the start of next season. They will not see another transfer window open until next winter, so it was now or never.

More than 30 players hit the portal following the spring game, including top spring game pass-catcher Montana Lemonious-Craig, which brought the total to more than 50. To reiterate: more than 50 scholarship players left the program between Sanders’ hire and Sunday.

Coach Prime isn’t worried about Colorado’s mass exodus.

He has been heeding warning about the eye-opening roster turnover since he arrived in Boulder.

Help is on the way!

Although much of what has played out was to be expected, there has been some negativity directed toward Coach Prime’s approach to roster management, from both the inside and the outside looking in. One parent said that his son’s short time playing for Sanders was an ugly situation. Another player accused the program of withholding his practice film— which is used in the recruiting process to show potential suitors what you can do as someone who doesn’t see the field often during games.

The full story behind both situations may never come to light. There is a lot of uncertainty around what really happened in each instance.

Still, though, it is clear that Sanders and his staff are not going to be a huge help in getting those who transferred out to a new program. That’s not his concern.

And that’s where Mike Sanford Jr. enters into the mix!

Sanford was the offensive coordinator for Colorado in 2022, and later served as the interim head coach after Karl Dorrell was fired. He has not found a new job since being let go upon Sanders’ arrival.

Interim head coach Mike Sanford of the Colorado Buffaloes walks along the sideline in the second half of a game against the California Golden Bears at Folsom Field on October 15, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado.
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Now that Sanford is unaffiliated, the 41-year-old is offering to be of assistance to his former players. Suitors will recruit former Buffaloes to their programs over the summer and he wants to be a resource.

Considering all of the uncertainty and bewilderment whirling around Boulder, Sanford is doing what he can to get his guys to a place where they can succeed. His knowledge is unbiased. There is no agenda. There is no underlying motive.

Sanford is stepping in to make sure that he is doing everything that he can, which is quite admirable!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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  1. Again …”culling the herd” has been around for a LONG TIME. Most famously at Texas A&M under new coach Bear Bryant in 1954. He took 115 aTm players to Junction Texas for “10 Days of Hell” …. 35 “survived” the ordeal. The others chose to leave the program. Bryant turned around a 1-9 program with those “survivors” as his base.

    I appreciate that few if any one at Outkick know “Bear” Bryant’s first name was Paul” … but “culling the herd” ain’t new. A little historical perspective might improve these articles on “Prime in Boulder”.

    • “Culling the herd” has been around for a long time for sure. But it is not anywhere near as prevalent in the modern era, and certainly not in this manner. What Prime is doing out West is unprecedented!

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