Please …. Please …. Please ….

There have been many times in the past two decades when it has been particularly difficult to be a Buff.

Too many times.

CU’s season-ending 23-17 loss to Utah was tough. The Buffs played well at times, and certainly had their chances to pull off the upset, but the 22-point underdogs didn’t come up with a timely turnover or the key play on offense or special teams to push them over the top.

4-8 … Six straight losses to end the season. That will be the narrative for some the next nine months.

Or … Only two blowout losses all year for a team which lost by an average of 29 points a game in 2022. Five one-score losses for a team learning how to win. That will be narrative for others.

“We’re certainly heading in the right direction,” Coach Prime after the loss to Utah. “We’re certainly trending forward. We got our butt kicked twice this year in 12 games. There was no winning those two games but every other game we had a shot, and I think that’s progress.”

CU’s next game is August 31st against North Dakota State (a team which on Saturday won its first FCS playoff game 66-3, BTW). That’s 280 days until the next game, folks. Over nine months.

Nine months of wondering whether the Coach Prime experiment is going to work. Wondering whether the program is moving forward, and will have nothing but winning seasons going forward, or whether the 2023 season (or at least the first three games of it), will be the high-water mark for the Buffs under Deion Sanders.

Plenty of fodder for discussion over the next nine months, but we have more pressing concerns to discuss. The next few weeks are going to be a roller coaster ride for the Buff Nation. There will be changes in the coaching staff, and there will be a revolving door at the Champions Center. The naysayers, the haters, the doubters, are going to have a field day with every negative piece of news – every change in coaches; every player entering the Transfer Portal; every lost recruiting battle.

My recommendation … Keep the faith …

Don’t listen to the “sky is falling crowd” as the Transfer Portal opens

The Transfer Portal will open in a few weeks (the day after the College Football Playoff participants are announced). The Portal will be open for 30 days thereafter, then an additional 15 days in April (this is not a restriction on signing; just a restriction on when players can enter the Portal). While players can’t officially enter the Portal until early December, players will begin announcing their intentions on social media well before the window opens.

This just in … In the next few weeks, there will be a number of players on CU roster who will be announcing their intentions to leave Boulder.

Yes, the current CU roster is filled with transfers, and yes, the NCAA currently has a rule that a player transferring a second time has to sit out a year (though that rule is being challenged on a regular basis, and may not last indefinitely).

So … much of the Buff roster for 2024 is locked in, right?

Well, not exactly.

Students who have graduated can transfer without sitting out a year – and, counting redshirt years and the COVID years, you would be surprised how many players who already have college degrees who are are only sophomores and juniors in terms of eligibility.

Another group of players who can transfer this off-season without penalty are freshman, and CU has 20 players in this category. There will be freshmen on the CU roster who feel that they aren’t being played enough … or who don’t feel they are being appreciated enough … or who just want to play closer to home.

There are going to be players who will announce they are leaving the program, and these announcement will come long before there are players who are announcing that they are joining the program.

That’s going to be true for every team, but you will be hearing from the doubters that the exodus from the Champions Center that the Coach Prime experiment is not working.

“See … The rats are leaving the sinking ship. Coach Prime is all glitz and glamor, but he can’t coach. Players are seeing that the team is no better than it was before. CU made a mistake in hiring Sanders”.

Please … please … please don’t listen to them.

These are the same geniuses who are saying that CU needs to bring in a dozen four-star junior college offensive linemen and another dozen four-star junior college defensive linemen (as if there are that many four-star linemen transfers in the country to begin with).

Um, Colorado is graduating roughly a dozen players. The CU Recruiting Class of 2024 currently has ten members.

So … How is the CU coaching staff supposed to bring in 20-25 transfer portal stars with two available scholarships?

The simple answer: They can’t.

The only way to bring in several dozen new and improved players … is to first have the roster depleted by several dozen players.

Whether the players leave on their own accord, see the writing on the wall, or are asked to “explore other opportunities”, there will be a significant number of players leaving the program.

And many of them will be announcing their intentions in early December.

Please … please … please don’t panic when the roster drops by 20+ players in the first few weeks after the end of the season.

Toward that end …

Don’t listen to the naysayers complaining about CU’s Class of 2024 Recruiting rankings … 

This past week, Colorado picked up a commitment from a four-star athlete, Kamron Mikell. A 6’1″, 180-pound two-way star from Georgia, Mikell is considered by both Rivals and 247 Sports to be an elite talent, with 247 Sports rating Mikell as the No. 79 prospect overall in the entire Class of 2024.

Even with the addition of Mikell, CU’s Recruiting Class, which currently stands at ten, is ranked No. 61 nationally by Rivals; No. 60 by 247 Sports.

You can hear the haters now, loud and clear: “Coach Prime’s Class is ranked 60th in the nation … He can’t recruit!”

Please … please … please don’t listen.

Coach Prime has said on many occasions that he only wants his high school recruiting class to make up about 20% of his roster. We can debate all off-season about whether that is a large enough number for development of a program, but if Coach Prime is going to stick to his formula, 20% of 85 is … 17.

If that is CU’s magic number, then I’ve got news for you: Colorado will never have a Top 25 Recruiting Class under Coach Prime (last year’s Class, with 21 members, was ranked 29th at 247 Sports; 31st at Rivals).

If you want to see how the Buffs are doing on recruiting, a better measure would be to keep an eye on how CU’s recruits are compared to other schools recruits.

According to 247 Sports, CU’s Class of 2024 is rated 60th in the nation; 11th in the 2024 16-team Big 12.

But if you look at the average rating for each school’s recruits, CU’s ten recruits have an average score of 89.73 … which is  first in the Big 12.

Signing Day, 2024, will take place on Wednesday, December 20th. With Colorado to add another 7-10 recruits over the next month, the CU Recruiting Class will rise, perhaps into the 30s or 40s nationally, and the haters will tell you that the luster is off the Coach Prime:

“Recruits are seeing through the hype. Coach Prime is a fraud”.

Please … please … please don’t listen.

Coach Prime and his staff are about quality when it comes to freshmen recruits, not quantity.

Now, about those linemen … 

At 247 Sports, CU’s new commit, Kamron Mikell is currently rated as the 16th-highest rated recruit at Colorado … ever.

Coach Prime, who has yet to spend a full year in Boulder, is already making his mark when it comes to star power. Three of the other players who are rated above Mikell on CU’s all-time list are also Coach Prime recruits – Class of 2023 cornerback Cormani McClain, Class of 2024 athlete Aaron Butler, and Class of 2025 quarterback Antwann Hill. Had they been CU recruits instead of Jackson State recruits, Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter would have also been on this list. (Aaron Butler, with the commitment of Mikell, may still defect, but as of this writing is still committed to Colorado).

Think the doubters are excited about the Mikell commitment? Are they doing cartwheels that CU has landed a recruit considered to be one of the top 100 players in the nation in this Recruiting Class?


From the comments section on the Rivals and 247 Sports message boards this past week:

  • Rick Neuheisel did this, it didn’t work. Embree and EB thought it’d work…it didn’t. Chev tried but it failed. The small fast guys are perpetually injured, and their speed is a non factor when they are on their back
  • How is he gonna to help keep the QB upright? CU is going to USC 2.0 if they don’t get any linemen.
  • Maybe we can implement an offense and defense without linemen? The new evolution of football? Set the new trend. I mean eventually they will be wearing flags anyway.

Does CU need offensive and defensive linemen? Yes.

Do you think that Coach Prime and his staff know this? Yes.

Problem is, there are very few Nate Solders out there, physical specimens who can play at the Power Five conference level as a true freshman. So, if there is going to be immediate improvement along the offensive line, it’s coming through the Transfer Portal.

And CU already has one – make that two – potential starters on the way. Colorado recently lost a commitment from a three-star freshman offensive lineman, Talan Chandler, who is opting to play for his home state Missouri Tigers. The Buffs do, though, have a commitment from Issiah Walker, a junior college transfer who is rated as the No. 2 junior college offensive tackle in the nation, and the No. 9-rated overall junior college transfer.

Plus, don’t forget Tyler Brown. One of Coach Prime’s Jackson State transfers, who was first-team all-SWAC in 2022, was denied a second transfer by the NCAA. He has been practicing with the team all fall, and has been described as one of the strongest players on the team.

So, if you are looking to replenish the offensive line, 40% of your starters may already be in the fold. Or, if you are of the development persuasion, 11 of CU’s 14 scholarship offensive linemen from this season still have eligibility remaining.

On the defensive side of the line, four of CU’s ten commitments are defensive linemen, including two four-star prospects. Of the 14 scholarship lineman on the 2023 roster, ten have eligibility remaining.

Are CU’s issues in the trenches resolved? Hardly.

But it’s not as if the coaching staff isn’t working on upgrades.

Is it fun to be a Buff today, cheering for a team which hasn’t won a game since early October? A team which will head into 2024 riding a six-game losing streak? A team which will be ridiculed by any number of members of the national press pundits? A team which will be ridiculed by any number of rival fan bases?

Try your best to ignore the rhetoric. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Please … please … please try.


14 Replies to “Please … Please … Please”

  1. It’s all good Stuart. The real fans have been coming to CU at the Game for a long time. Your site kept me informed even when I was living halfway around the world. The big difference I see now compared to 10-12 years ago is the sheer volume of 🧌 trolls. We only had to deal with the occasional nimbus supporting Nollege U back then. Nowadays we get the trolls and haters who go after anything big in popular culture, and Coach Prime resides high up there.

    Going back to when he was first hired, his media team talked up front about the trolls and haters that follow him around like the 🪳 cockroaches they are.

    I trust that Coach Prime knows exactly what he is doing. Anyone who’s angry at the results compared to last year is not a CU fan.

    The good news is that trolls get bored easily and move on to new things to hate. They will come crawling back when CU is back in the Top 25.

    In the meantime, the real fans should just enjoy the ride. Keep up the great work Stuart.

    Mark / boulderdevil

  2. Stuart,

    Can you reconcile Coach Prime’s two comments for me:
    a) We aren’t paying no bag…no NIL… only a promise for the NFL, if you put in the work.

    b) Some kids cost…and that’s just the way it is (Implying he is going to provide some sort of NIL money to certain kids up front to get them to commit).

    Finally, how are coaches navigating through this with providing star recruits large sums of money even though they haven’t technically even earned a place on the team, let alone earned a starting position. Meanwhile, there are several other players in the same position who have already been in the program for several years and are much further along strength wise and with their understanding of the schemes, etc? In other words, how on earth can coaches pay these kids and then turn around and say everyone gets a clear shot at a starting role?

    1. Shedeur Sanders is making more money from endorsements than he would being a third round pick in the NFL.
      Coach Prime has any number of ways of funneling NIL money to players – want to be a “guest star” on my Netflix series? – even if the Buffs4Life or 5430 Collectives can’t gather enough funds to dangle in front of prospects.
      Otherwise, once they are here, they have to understand that there is going to be competition. No one has a guaranteed spot (see: McClain, Cormani). Even five-stars have to earn their spots on Georgia’s roster.

      1. I also believe Deion would rather pay a stud transfer than a potential stud high school recruit. I would trust Deion’s ability to assess and project high school kids as well as anyone, but the transfer portal seems a more reliable way to get immediate impact players, at least to me.

        Go Buffs

  3. I’ve been in this, from prior to the 2023 season kickoff, with an eye for 2024 bowl eligibility (at least 6 wins is a reasonable expectation, particularly with what transpired this year). The forthcoming upgrades and learnings from this year, along with moving to the Big 12, will all be positive factors. No need here on my part to worry about what the so called nay sayers spout. Thanks again for keeping the faith and the optimism. Go Buffs!!

  4. Stuart, Thanks for your relentlessly optimistic perspective. Really, in the end, it’s all we can have and not completely walk away after 20+ years of football misery…and just in time for Antwann Hill’s decommitment.

  5. I am looking forward to see who will be coming to CU. Coach Prime knows what the team needs and, hopefully, he will be able to fill the holes.
    I do hope that Dion learned one important thing this past season. The team must develop a solid running attack in order to become successful. You simply can not rely on just Shedur ,Hunter and a few solid pass receivers. If we can add the running game and find a few decent offensive linemen, we have a good shot at having a fine year in 2024.

  6. “But if you look at the average rating for each school’s recruits, CU’s ten recruits have an average score of 89.73 … which is first in the Big 12.”

    For too many years we’ve read about the Buffs having a OK ranking for a recruiting class and it’s ranking was due to the number of recruits, not the quality; it’s so much better to be #30 in overall rankings and top 5 or 10 in average scores and first or near the top of the conference.

    Prime has already spoken with some transfers that he can’t speak about until the portal opens up, I can’t wait to see who they can bring in along with the two linemen Stuart wrote about and how the lines will look after this year’s transfers. I don’t think the Buffs will get the best of the best, when it comes to linemen, those stay home if they are playing.

    It seems that every other PAC12 team had better lines overall with one or two guys being the big difference; CU needs a few more good guys that can hold their own and a couple of future NFL caliber just to catch up.

    But I think that’s doable, recruits saw the close games and fan support. Recruits also saw the celebrities that came to watch and the number of TV eyes that watched the Buffs this year and some of them will think “I want that kind of exposure and experience”. Prime’s sitting of star players because they weren’t fully ready to play, looking out for them, not wins, will sit right with more than a few moms out there; and they love him too.

    A big hurdle is NIL, but Prime gets a nod here because players can see potential NIL money at CU if they do well, look at Hunter and other stars not named Sanders, they are expected to do well, it’s just not an upfront guarantee like some schools. But there is more opportunity than before Prime’s arrival.

    With Smith leaving Oregon State is going to have a bunch of transfers, many will follow Smith to MSU along with top recruits, but with Smith gone and no real conference, I can see that team losing all of it’s starters and top recruits. Is Washington State next?

    Compared to next year’s Big12, can Prime get the #1 or near the top in average scores, in both the transfer & high school recruiting classes?

    On the defensive line side, Sapp Is Coming!… Hopefully, as in I hope he gets his online classes or whatever done so he can actually coach on the field.

  7. I still believe. After the first 3 games I was already reserving my bowl game tickets….. the loss to Stanford hurt bad, the Llosa to Arizona in the final seconds sucked. The refs being unable to ref a game against Utah was frustrating. But teams need an identity, and bringing in 80 new kids is rough to build an identity. Building through the transfer portal takes money, and I am not sure CU has that money. CU needs to announce no ticket price raises for next year and encourage people to put that 100 bucks towards the collective.

  8. What makes you think Butler bails? Not argumentative, just curious. Also, I met Mikell and that young man is a great example of what Character is all about. Oh yea, he’s fast too I read.
    Linemen will happen in small doses from the HS ranks I agree. Let’s all celebrate this team that didn’t quit. Give staff a full year to get all on the same page, like with regards to consistency and effort.
    I do think that a couple of staff members are in over their heads. You know, they hit their ceiling at JSU.

    1. Butler was at Washington for the Apple Cup, and rumors are that he might flip, to Washington, Oregon, or Georgia.
      We’ll see. He’s a CU commit until he’s not. Signing Day is less than four weeks away!

  9. The haters gonna hate no matter what. CU gets a 4* they say you shoulda got the 5*, you get the 5* they say you shoulda got 2 of them. All the while the haters are fightin’ for clicks on the Backs of Prime and the Buffs.

    It’s time for two things this time of year Roll Tad and follow recruiting.

    1. Haha you are funny.
      Just those who hate every coach that has worn the black and gold other than McCartney. My son coaches high school football and basketball. It’s amazing what a good coach he is when he has some talent to work with and a loser when has very little. Stuart’s take is spot on, this is headed in the right direction.

      Go Buffs

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