“We’re gonna consistently do what we do because I’m here, and I ain’t going nowhere,” Coach Prime preached.
“I’m about to get comfortable in a minute,” he continued. “I’m about to get comfortable in a minute.”
It took Deion Sanders nine months, one rushed recruiting cycle and a single game to turn 2023 — at least temporarily — into the Season of Prime, of Boulder, of the Buffaloes, of “We Comin’” and “I ain’t hard to find” and “Do You Believe?”
Nebraska is now on the slate Saturday. Fox is broadcasting it. Everyone is paying attention.
Among the millions who will again tune in, or the millions more who will again consume the Coach Prime-produced snippets of game action and locker room footage on YouTube and TikTok, will not merely be potential high school recruits but current college stars gazing in on college football’s wildest show.
Sanders says Colorado has already arrived, and perhaps they have. No one should doubt the man’s ability at doing what conventional wisdom once deemed impossible — becoming the greatest defensive back of all time, playing two professional sports simultaneously and, perhaps, turning a team with a 1-11 record and just a single winning season in 17 years into an overnight national contender.
Still, even as the focus is on the Cornhuskers challenge ahead, this is just the start, and that is what makes the Prime Effect so tantalizing.
As good as Colorado’s roster is, Sanders didn’t dominate the transfer market last offseason. His best work was bringing the best of his Jackson State roster with him — sons Shadeur (quarterback) and Shilo (safety), two-way star Travis Hunter, running back Sy'veon Wilkerson, and so on.
Deion grabbed 53 guys from the portal and obviously many of them are capable of playing at a high level, but it’s not like he was plucking starters off SEC or Big Ten powers.
Meanwhile, his incoming high school class included just two big-time recruits. Cormani McClain was the nation’s top-rated cornerback out of Florida who flipped from Miami. Dylan Edwards was a gifted running back from Kansas who broke his commitment to Notre Dame. Both starred on Saturday.
Other than that, however, Colorado signed a collection of two- and three-star recruits befitting of a thrown together group to a traditionally losing program. They currently have just nine verbal commits from the class of 2024. There are two four stars — Aaron Butler, an athlete out of California that everyone wanted and Brandon Davis-Swain, a defensive lineman from Michigan previously committed to Notre Dame.
But that’s it. So far.
Anyone who watched Colorado swag into Fort Worth in those white and gold uniforms, who saw Sanders answer any doubts that his team could play with innovation, discipline and toughness, who witnessed the hype and excitement, has to understand that more and higher rated recruits will come, at least for a visit at now sold out Folsom Field.
This is a uniquely charismatic man, a marketer with almost no peer, who looks like he and his players are having more fun than anyone, anywhere. That always works.
Sanders is now armed with proof of concept. His success wasn’t just the product of coaching in the underfunded SWAC. In Hunter, he has the most exciting player in the country on his roster and can point to athletes that he’ll let them shine on both sides of the ball.
With just a single victory, he has an even bigger spotlight to sell himself, sell the culture, sell the delirium of it all.
Prime doesn’t work like other coaches. He isn’t going to crisscross the country to stand on high school sidelines or give the hard-sells on why someone should sign with him. He’d rather preach through social media. He’d rather offer a chance and challenge someone to be wise enough to take it. For a guy who never shied away from talking, he’d rather show than tell.
And Colorado showed out.
Who knows how many games the Buffs will win this season, but consider this.
If it once seemed impossible to flip an entire program and play like they did on Saturday and Sanders did that, then what is considered impossible in year two or three that just may not be?
Colorado raiding SEC rosters? Colorado flipping five stars come December? Colorado beating famed powers straight up for talent? Colorado as a national contender?
How about Sanders being content to stay in the Rockies because where and in what league he coaches doesn’t matter that much because he is, uniquely, the show?
“I’m about to get comfortable,” Coach Prime said.
College football might want to take that as a warning.