Colorado is going to be tough to top for splashiest hire in this year's coaching carousel. By luring Deion Sanders from Jackson State, the downtrodden Buffaloes get an instant shot of intrigue and showmanship that's impossible to ignore. How it will work -- if it will work at all -- remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the worst Power Five program in college football is worth following again.
Sanders arrived in Boulder for his introductory press conference and team meeting on Sunday following days of build up that felt more like a recruiting announcement than a coaching change. Every coach wins the press conference, but Sanders took to it another level. As with anything related to "Prime Time," it was full of key moments, money quotes and the unexpected.
Let's take a look at some highlights -- in true Sanders fashion -- during his first day as Colorado's head coach.
Most coaches try to keep their players from entering the portal. Not Sanders, who told Colorado players in his first meeting that they're either in or out, and they have to decide right away.
"We got a few positions already taken care of because I'm bringing my luggage with me. And it's Louis [Vuitton]," said Sanders. "I'm coming. And when I get here, it's going to be changed. So I want y'all to get ready to go ahead and jump in that portal, and get whatever you're going to get. Because if more of you jump in, the more room you make."
Deion Sanders telling the CU Buffs football team that he’s bringing his own luggage, and that they better hit the portal. This is crazy 🤯 pic.twitter.com/004LUKiTr2— College FB Transfer Portal (@CollegeFBPortal) December 4, 2022
Sanders and son to hit transfer portal?
Sanders' presence will undoubtedly change Colorado's efforts in the transfer portal, which officially opened for business on Monday, and on the name, image and likeness front. Colorado has struggled to receive transfers through the portal in the past due to difficulties with accepting credits, but with Sanders' arrival, the university plans to be more aggressive with facilitating incoming players.
"I'm happy to announce that, in coordination with our faculty athletics representatives, we have initiated a pilot program for transfer credit review that facilitates the expedited review of the academic credits from other institutions in order to assess their acceptability at CU Boulder as electives," said chancellor Phillip DiStefano. "This is not only helpful for student-athletes looking to continue their careers at the University of Colorado via the transfer portal, but also for Colorado residents who are attending another university out of state and want to return home to get their degree. This institutional change, combined with the new Name, Image and Likeness Collective and the student-athlete resources we already have in place, will help provide the tools that are necessary for all of our athletic programs, including football, to succeed."
There's already won massive name that Sanders is targeting: His son, Jackson State starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders. "This is your quarterback," Sanders said during his press conference. "He's going to have to earn it, though. Believe that. He's going to have to earn it."
Deion Sanders introduces his son Shedeur in his opening statement:— Grace Remington (@GraceRemiTV) December 4, 2022
“That’s your quarterback.”
“He’s gonna have to earn it though. The safety (Shilo) made me mad so I didn’t bring him.” #GoBuffs pic.twitter.com/aBhpNQXuDy
With Sanders already referencing his son as Colorado's quarterback, the ability to lure players to Boulder will be a huge emphasis moving forward. Don't be surprised if Jackson State defensive back and former No. 1 overall prospect Travis Hunter is in the mix as well.
"That is confidence I am wearing"
Sanders was known as one of the flashiest athletes of all time during his tenure as an NFL and Major League Baseball player, and that confidence was on display right away. Speaking with the media, Sanders made it clear that he has no concerns about taking over a program that's enjoyed just two winning seasons in the past 15 years, one of which came during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.
"Do I look like a man that worries about anything? Did you see the way I walked in here? Did you see the swagger that was with me?" asked Sanders. "Worry? Baby, I am too blessed to be stressed. I have never been one for peer pressure. I put pressure on peers. I never wanted to worry, I make people worry. I don't get down like that. I am too darn confident. That is my natural odor. I don't even wear cologne. That is confidence I am wearing. I don't worry because I know the resources and the staff that we're putting together and I know the work ethic we have and I trust. This staff is going to comfort the heck out of me and we're going to be good. I do not worry. You need to worry about getting a spot in here the next time we do this because there are going to more cameras than this."
Show Prime the money
The Buffaloes offered Sanders more than $5 million annually with some lucrative bonuses baked in, which reflects the going rate for first-time Power Five coaches these days. However, athletic director Rick George startled some folks Sunday when he effectively admitted the school didn't have the money to pay Sanders -- right now.
"We don't have the money yet, but I know we'll have it so I'm not worried about that piece," said George when asked about Sanders's contract.
Colorado AD Rick George said the school's leadership did what it took to bring Deion Sanders to Boulder.pic.twitter.com/9YgKWicRPl— Front Office Sports (@FOS) December 5, 2022
The indication is that Colorado will come up with the money some how, and it's unlikely it would have offered Sanders the job if it couldn't pay him. Still, there's a vibe of "figure it out now, ask questions later" when it comes to Colorado's pursuit of its new coach.