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Colorado Daily – Spring Practices

April 16th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Coach Prime to team: “It’s Portal Day! Do you want to jump? Or do you want to ride?”

TE Coach Brett Bartolone: “Our tight ends need to be physical; they gotta be able to run”

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

5430 Alliance Announces New Executive Director

Press release from 5430 Alliance … 5430 Alliance, the premier NIL Collective supporting all University of Colorado student-athletes, announced today the appointment of its new Executive Director, seasoned sales, sports, and entertainment professional, Natalie Sharp. Having seen substantial success in leadership roles with Sports Business Journal, Dimensional Innovations, ASM Global, and more, Sharp is poised to make a significant impact as the Executive Director of 5430 Alliance, leveraging her extensive network and expertise to drive revenue growth, foster meaningful partnerships, and increase impactful NIL opportunities for Buffs student-athletes.

“This marks an incredibly exciting time for CU Athletics, where we are witnessing a transformative period filled with innovation and unparalleled dedication to our student-athletes,” said Sharp. “At CU, we pride ourselves in building greatness. It’s a privilege to be part of a community that not only values athletic prowess but also prioritizes the holistic development and well-being of our student-athletes. Together with our talented team, we are poised to reinvigorate a winning culture while competing for championships across all CU athletics. 5430 Alliance is more than just an organization: it’s a force for positive change in the world of sports. I am thrilled to lead this charge alongside the best minds in the business, as we assist in shaping what it means to be a student-athlete at CU.”

Sharp has over 20 years of experience in business development, sales, and strategic planning. During her tenure at Sports Business Journal, Sharp’s exceptional work ethic earned her the prestigious American City Eagle Award for surpassing revenue targets by more than 10%. Her exemplary sales efforts were further acknowledged with the Ovation Award at NBCUniversal as well. In her role as Vice President of Commercial Partnerships at ASM Global, Sharp successfully managed a multi-million-dollar commercial partnership portfolio, but her expertise extends beyond sales; she has also demonstrated proficiency in event and project management throughout her career. Her ability to manage complex timetables and implement top-level hospitality experiences for her clients at prestigious events such as the Super Bowl, GRAMMYs, Masters, and Final Four speaks volumes about her organizational skills and attention to detail. Sharp’s active involvement in DE&I initiatives and volunteer work at the Food Bank of the Rockies reflects her commitment to social responsibility and community engagement, qualities that position her for great success and a substantial impact on NIL at CU.

As Executive Director, Sharp will lead 5430 Alliance’s strategic vision and will drive the collective’s fundraising initiatives, membership growth, events, and corporate partnership opportunities, all while fostering impactful relationships that will connect CU student-athletes with the Boulder community and Buffs fanbase. She will also be managing the collective’s onsite team, the relationship with the CU athletic department, and the collective’s external communications.

Sharp joins the 5430 Alliance team that will lead and develop NIL opportunities for Buffs student-athletes for all 17 CU sports. For more information about ways to get involved with the collective, Sharp can be reached at natalie@5430alliance.com.\

ABOUT 5430 ALLIANCE

5430 Alliance is the premiere Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collective supporting 350-plus student-athletes at the University of Colorado. Supporters, fans, and alumni who support 5430 Alliance are pledging to maximize opportunities for student-athletes to build their brands and engage with the community. There are various ways to get involved, including corporate partnerships, memberships, and charitable contributions. 5430 Alliance is powered by parent company Blueprint Sports. For more information about NIL partnerships with Buffs student-athletes, visit 5430alliance.com.

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April 15th

… CU in a few minutes … 

*Watch: Who does the best Coach Prime impression?*

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April 13th

… CU in a few minutes … 

*Spring Scrimmage Video*

Player notes from Saturday’s scrimmage, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

  • No surprises with the first-team offense line on Saturday with Tyler Johnson still working his way back (and rumors continuing that last season’s starting tackle, Savion Washington, is Transfer Portal bound). The scrimmage starters: Jordan Seaton (LT), Tyler Brown (LG), Hank Zilinskas (C), Justin Mayers (RG), Kahlil Benson (RT).
  • Walk-on Charlie Offerdahl gained some hard fought yards on the ground and through the air against CU’s first-team defense. Alton McCaskill IV had a short yardage touchdown, fighting past two defensive backs at the goal line.
  • Arkansas transfer Taurean Carter continues to receive work with the first-team. Fellow defensive lineman Chazz Wallace was credited with a sack, and linebacker Vonta Bentley had a nice tackle for a loss on Micah Welch.
  • Trevor Woods broke down the defensive huddle before today’s scrum, and the versatile defender later picked off a Ryan Staub pass in the middle of the field.
  • Omarion Miller has shed the no-contact jersey and he had an impressive downfield catch from Sanders with Adam Hopkins in coverage.  Jimmy Horn Jr. had at least three grabs. And LaJohntay Wester had multiple grabs, including an excellent touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone.
  • They closed out the scrum with goal line work. Sanders connected with Travis Hunter for a touchdown, then Miller for a score on the second play, before the defense closed it out with two stops.

From Well Off Media …

RB Dylan Edwards: “I want to contribute every single game to get the W”

From the Daily Camera … It was too much for Dylan Edwards or anyone else to think his debut performance with the Colorado Buffaloes would be a weekly occurrence.

As Edwards prepares for his sophomore season with the Buffaloes, however, he is aiming for a more consistent impact than he had in 2023 and the 5-foot-9, 170-pound running back is feeling good as the Buffs go through spring practices.

“It’s been great,” he said. “I’m just working on my game every day, trying to get better through this spring. And I feel like my game is elevating every day.”

Edwards had one of the most remarkable debuts in CU history, catching five passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 24 yards and another touchdown in CU’s season-opening 45-42 upset of TCU on Sept. 2. He set CU records for receiving yards and touchdowns scored in a debut.

“I knew every game was not gonna be like TCU,” Edwards said. “You’re gonna have those games to where you do score two, three times but it’s all about what can you do to contribute to a win? That’s what I felt like I didn’t do towards the end of the season, so I want to contribute every single game to get the W.”

Continue reading story here

Oklahoma State CB transfer DJ McKinney: “I’m glad I’m here now”

From the Daily Camera … Throughout the 2023 season, DJ McKinney wasn’t associated with the Colorado football program, but he also couldn’t avoid hearing about it.

“On social media, you open up your phone, that’s really the first thing you see about football: Colorado, Colorado,” said McKinney, who spent the past two seasons at Oklahoma State.

Now, McKinney is looking to do his part to help the Buffaloes win, after transferring this winter.

“Looking back at it, I really never thought I would see myself being a part of something like this,” he said. “I’m glad I’m here now.

“There was always talk about Coach Prime, the players at Colorado and everything.”

As a cornerback, McKinney jumped at the chance to learn from Coach Prime, CU’s head coach Deion Sanders, who is a Hall of Fame corner and considered by many as the best to play the position.

“I’m really, like, a big experience and knowledge guy, so having him as a coach is a great experience,” McKinney said. “All the knowledge he’s pouring into me, I’m just trying to take it and then apply it to the field.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound McKinney has an exceptional skill set of his own and gained valuable experience at Oklahoma State. He redshirted in 2022, playing four games that season. This past year, as a redshirt freshman, he wasn’t a starter, but played in all 14 games for the Cowboys, and was on the field for 596 defensive snaps.

Continue reading story here

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April 12th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Travis Hunter playing nickel back: “The best receivers are no longer on the outside”

From the Daily Camera … As if Travis Hunter wasn’t versatile enough, the Colorado Buffaloes are adding a bit more to his arsenal this spring.

The Colorado junior, who stars at receiver and cornerback, has been working at nickel this spring on the days he’s on defense.

“He’s been playing the majority inside and when we can have him do that and be strong and outside with Preston (Hodge) and DJ (McKinney), it’s gonna be a sight to see and we are excited about that,” CU cornerbacks coach Kevin Mathis said after the Buffs completed their eighth of 15 spring practices on Thursday.

Last season as a sophomore, Hunter won the Paul Hornung Award, which is presented annually to the most versatile player in college football. On offense, he caught 57 passes for 721 yards and five touchdowns. On defense, he had 31 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups while playing on the outside.

Mathis said that moving Hunter inside, where he’ll cover slot receivers, will benefit the Buffs defensively as they shift to a new scheme led by first-year coordinator Robert Livingston.

“There’s not gonna be a lot of (players like Hunter) come around,” Mathis said. “He’s able to get in there naturally (at nickel) and just play well. And he’s able to go in and if we need him in the B gap (to help stop the run), as you’ve seen a couple of times today, he was able to fill that B gap. A lot of nickels really don’t want to do that, but he’s able to do that.”

Continue reading story here

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April 11th 

… CU in a few minutes …

CB coach Kevin Mathis: “The  players understand that we want guys in position to make plays based off their ability”

From CUBuffs.com … When Colorado’s Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders hired Robert Livingston as his defensive coordinator in the offseason, it meant a significant change for the Buffaloes’ secondary.

Instead of implementing a rigid scheme and expecting players to adjust, Livingston has been flexible. His plan has been to find his players’ strengths, then fit the scheme to those strengths. That has meant an emphasis on versatility, some position switches — and perhaps most importantly, what CU coaches believe will be a much-improved back end of the defense.

Last season, the Buffaloes were 123rd in the nation against the pass, giving up 277 yards per game and 12.35 yards per completion — despite the presence of one of the country’s best defenders, cornerback Travis Hunter.

“Rob is going to make the players make the plays, not just the system,” Buffs cornerbacks coach Kevin Mathis told the media Thursday morning. “When Rob got here, he wanted to evaluate the talent that we have in the room and then make that happen. He was able to make some calls and make some adjustments to the defense to fit what we have in the room and I think he’s done a good job of that.”

Mathis said players have embraced the new system, as it encourages versatility and emphasizes their abilities.

“The  players understand that we want guys in position to make plays based off their ability,” Mathis said. “That’s huge for the players, knowing  the calls are going to be made based on who we want to get in the game. Certain players do this good, they’re gonna be the guys that are blitzing.   Guys that cover good, they’re gonna be the guys to cover. I think that’s huge for the players to understand that.”

One of the most significant changes of the new system has seen Hunter move inside and spend a good deal of time playing the nickel. Hunter, last season’s Hornung Award winner, has proven adept at the switch, showing an ability to make stops in the run game while still providing excellent coverage in the passing game.

“He’s able to get in there naturally and just play well,” Mathis said. “With the system going in college football now, the best receivers are no longer on the outside. So with him, having the ability to go inside and us not lose a step on the outside is going to be real good for us. We can match up and be able to take away their best guy by putting Travis on the inside.”

Continue reading story here

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsReport

Cornerbacks coach Kevin Mathis … 

Oklahoma State cornerback transfer D.J. McKinney … 

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April 10th

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU’s 10th Class of 2024 commitment comes from offensive lineman Yahya Attia

From the Daily Camera … Colorado has found some offensive line depth overseas.

On Wednesday, Yahya Attia from NFL Academy in Loughborough, England, announced that he has signed a financial aid agreement with the Buffaloes, joining the 2024 recruiting class for head coach Deion Sanders.

The NFL Academy is a developmental program for student-athletes from 16-19 years old. It has helped more than 40 players earn college scholarships, including current CU linebacker Kofi Taylor-Barrocks.

Attia comes to CU as a 6-foot-4, 330-pound lineman with very little football experience, but plenty of potential – and a great nickname, as he’s known as “The Bulldozer.”

Born in Egypt, Attia was three years old when his family moved to Vienna, Austria. He is a former soccer player who gave up the sport because of injuries and then continuing to get bigger.

“I was always one of the bigger guys,” he said in an interview with The Sun in Britain. “When I got injured, I had to stop playing soccer and got even bigger and heavier. My friends convinced me to start engaging me in sports again and that’s when I started playing American football for the Vienna Vikings.”

Details on the “Prime Time Elite” Dinner

From the 5430 Alliance …

Colorado football is going all out to drum up NIL dollars.

The 5430 Alliance NIL collective announced plans Tuesday for its “Prime Time Elite Dinner,” which is scheduled for the weekend of the Buff’s Black and Gold game later this month. This past September long-time donor and Colorado alumnus Eric Belcher and a group of fellow donors created the 5430 Foundation, which recently re-launched as the 5430 Alliance, combining the Buffs4Life and foundation’s efforts.

As part of the collective’s new efforts, the Prime Time dinner, slated for Friday, April 26, will serve as the official launch party. Colorado coach Deion Sanders will serve as the host and athletes and staff are expected to attend.

The most expensive tier – the VIP Prime Table – for admission to the event has already sold at $20,543. Donors will be able to sit at the same table as Sanders. An individual ticket to the dinner costs $1,053.40. Fans who cannot attend can sponsor a plate for $250. Here are the other tiers for donors to choose from:

Prime Table: With a $17,543 price, boosters will be seated at a VIP table in Sanders’ section. All Prime Tables will get a group photo. Ten tickets are included with the purchase.
Elite Table: A table with two Colorado athletes. Eight tickets for $17,543.
Black & Gold Table: Seated at a table with two Colorado coaches or athletes. Eight tickets for $12,543.
Buffs Table: For 10 donors to attend the event and a table costs $7,543.

Booster gatherings featuring coaches and athlete appearances have been going on for years. The opportunity for athletic departments to raise needed funds is an age-old tradition in college athletics. But because athletes are able to monetize their name, image and likeness, donor dinners now raise dollars for collectives to pay athletes.

“NIL is a critical component of our athletics programs as we support our student-athletes and compete for national championships,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said last month. “5430 Alliance ushers in a new chapter of NIL at Colorado and allows all our fans and alumni to support our student-athletes through one avenue.”

Colorado football needs to ‘exceed the bar’

Already a member of The Collective Association – the trade association consisting of more than 35 NIL entities – the immediate focus for the 5430 Alliance is to make sure the football and men’s and women’s basketball programs are competitive in NIL ahead of the jump to the Big 12.

In the current college football landscape, donor-driven collectives have become crucial in attracting and retaining talent. The top NIL organizations are operating with an eight-figure budget strictly for football. Sine realizes that, working with a share of collectives in the Big Ten and SEC.

The NIL collective management company Blueprint Sports is servicing the day-to-day functions of the organization. The company currently works with collectives at Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, NC State, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA and Utah. CEO Rob Sine told On3 that the 5430 Alliance will be one of the biggest staffs under the Blueprint umbrella. The collective plans to hire an executive director, director of operations and development and sales manager.

Making sure Deion Sanders has all the NIL tools he needs to find success in Boulder is crucial. The Colorado head coach has already publicly backed the collective since it consolidated last month.

“How do you begin to really monetize the activities and really engage fanbases around the country,” Sine previously told On3. “Football really has to double its NIL budget from last year to this year. Get basketball in a place where it’s competitive, especially in the Big 12. Those are the paramount benchmarks we’re going to have for the rest of the year.

“The going rate is somewhere $6 to $10 million, but a program like this needs to be $8 million and above. The goal here is to exceed the bar.”

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April 9th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Running backs coach Gary Harrell: “We’re investing in the run”

From CUBuffs.com … If the Colorado offense is going to take a step forward this year, the Buffaloes’ run game will have to make some healthy strides.

It’s no secret that Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ team struggled to produce anything resembling consistency on the ground last season. Colorado finished last in the nation in rushing yards per game (68.9) while averaging just 2.3 yards per carry.

No doubt, those numbers were skewed by the number of sacks CU allowed — 56 for 492 yards.

But even with sack-adjusted totals, Colorado averaged just 110 yards per game on the ground. That’s not the kind of balance that makes an offense its most productive, and it gives opposing defenses a green light to tee off on the quarterback.

CU’s leading rusher last season, Dylan Edwards, finished with 321 yards on 76 attempts. Now a sophomore, Edwards returns this year aiming for more production, and he’s joined by returnees Sy’veon Wilkerson (190 yards last season), Alton McCaskill (59 yards in four games) and Charlie Offerdahl (11 yards).

But the biggest news in the running backs room might be newcomer Micah Welch, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound true freshman who has quickly been turning heads in camp with his combination of power and speed. Welch, out of Milledgeville, Ga., had some big plays in last weekend’s scrimmage and running backs coach Gary Harrell has been impressed with what he’s seen.

“He started off slow because he was trying to get acclimated to college football as far as the information overload that was put on him, but now he’s starting to build confidence and make plays,” Harrell told the media Tuesday morning. “He’s the guy that we thought he would be as far as downhill aggressively seeking the end zone. He’s done a good job.”

Harrell knows Colorado’s run game will be critical in helping the Buffs’ offense to the next level. CU had an outstanding passing game last year under the direction of quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who returns with another bevy of quality receivers.

Continue reading story here

*Video – Dylan Edwards: “I’m just an all-around threat”*

From Brian Howell at the Daily Camera …

Freshman running back Micah Welch: “It’s been great”

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April 8th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Report: Linebacker Myles Slusher to enter Transfer Portal

From On3SportsBREAKING: Colorado Safety Myles Slusher plans to enter the Transfer Portal, he tells @on3sports

The 6’1 195 S has totaled 110 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR, & 2 INTs in his college career

Will have 2 years of eligibility remaining

Image

Buffs responding to new DC Robert Livingston: “He’s taken his time with us, making sure that we know the ins and outs of the defense”

From the Daily Camera … One of the priorities of the Colorado football team this offseason is to establish and identity on defense and tighten up that side of the ball.

To do that, head coach Deion Sanders brought in Robert Livingston as defensive coordinator. After a dozen years working with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, Livingston is a coordinator for the first time and has said it will be a collective effort on defense – not just his defense.

Still in the first half of spring practices, the Buffs are pleased with the progress on that side of the ball.

“He’s a great guy,” linebacker LaVonta Bentley said of Livingston. “He’s taken his time with us, making sure that we know the ins and outs of the defense and the calls. He’s not going to jump ahead on a call if we don’t have this call down pat to go perform out there at practice.

“Most DCs are throwing stuff out there so they can make you learn quicker. With coach, he’s just trying to make sure you get the little details and each play down before he moves on.”

Livingston is also, as he said he would do, delegating to everyone on the staff.

“He leans on all of us,” linebackers coach Andre Hart said. “Everyone has their own ditch to dig, so we all got to shovel dirt. What I’m saying is, once the install (of particular plays or situations) is presented to the coaches, it is our job to get it to our players individually. So we have more of a role as far as coaching the actual position and specifics of that install every day. So it’s put on us. So we’re getting graded (as coaches) is what’s going on, on how our players play based on how we’re teaching.”

Continue reading story here

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April 7th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Videos from CU’s first spring scrimmage 

Some player notes from the scrimmage, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

  • True sophomore Hank Zilinskas and UConn transfer Yakiri Walker again both received reps with the first-team offensive line at center. Benson worked at right tackle, Tyler Brown and Justin Mayers at guard, and Jordan Seaton at left tackle. Houston transfer Tyler Johnson continues to work his way back from injury.
  • Scrimmaging on offense Saturday, two-way star Travis Hunter broke multiple big plays, including one for a touchdown from Shedeur Sanders after Herman Smith fell to the turf. Smith later responded with an impressive pass breakup on a deep pass to Hunter, earning a high-five from Coach Prime.  Dylan Edwards also hauled in a touchdown pass from CU’s QB1.
  • Taurean CarterAmari McNeillShane CokesSamuel Okunlola, Tajae McCoy, Vonta BentleyTrevor WoodsDJ McKinneyOmarion CooperPreston Hodge and Shilo Sanders were among the players that got reps with Colorado’s first-team defense on Saturday.

From Well Off media … 

From Reach the People … 

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April 6th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Rooney: Warren Sapp’s past disqualifies him from coaching

From the Daily Camera … The “NFL-izing” of the CU football program under head coach Deion Sanders continued with the addition of Sapp, likely the most famous graduate assistant to ever grace the sideline of a major college football program. He arrives with a gold jacket as a Pro Football Hall of Famer, along with a list of relatively recent legal transgressions dominated by assaults against women.

This was no April Fool’s joke. And it wouldn’t have been funny if it had been.

It has been a remarkable turnaround in Boulder in the 16 months since Sanders was hired, as even with just four wins the Buffaloes became one of the most-viewed, most talked about programs in the country. Yet allowing Sapp to begin his redemption tour at CU is a blemish on the Buffs’ road back to national relevancy.

Sapp’s off-the-field troubles have been well-documented. Following the Super Bowl in Arizona in 2015, Sapp was arrested for assault and solicitation of a prostitute that cost him his job at the NFL Network. Hardly chastened, months later Sapp was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in an altercation that began at a Las Vegas resort and continued at her nearby home. Sapp took plea deals in both cases, avoiding jail time.

That’s not all.

There was a domestic assault arrest in 2010 in which the charges ultimately were dropped. More damningly, Sapp was one of several former NFL players named in a late 2017 lawsuit leveled by a former wardrobe stylist at the NFL Network detailing a number of ugly harassment claims against Sapp and other former players employed (or, in Sapp’s case, formerly employed) by the network. He also filed for bankruptcy in 2012 due in large part to unpaid taxes and child support/alimony payments.

These points do not make up the background of someone who has made a regrettable, one-time, youthful mistake. These are habitual actions from a retired player who should’ve known better. And now he’s part of Buff Nation. Be proud.

Continue reading story here

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April 5th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

The Athletic: What has Sanders learned? What will he change? 

From The Athletic … The first year, Sanders’ debut at the highest division of college football, turned Colorado from an afterthought into must-see viewing, saw an increase in applications to the school and tested college football’s accepted norms. After a thunderous 3-0 start petered out into a 4-8 season, the fascination and skepticism surrounding The Deion Way has turned to what comes next.

What has Sanders learned? What will he change? The headline-making comments haven’t stopped, like Sanders declaring that son and quarterback Shedeur Sanders and star two-way player Travis Hunter will pick the NFL teams they play for after the coming season. He’s still all in on the transfer portal and hasn’t made a single in-home visit to a recruit, he confirmed — and offered explanations for. And Deion is still talking only the biggest of goals.

“I would like to become the first Black coach to win a national championship in major college football,” Sanders wrote on page 197 of “Elevate and Dominate.” “We’re GONNA get that done at Colorado.”

As Colorado returns to the Big 12, are a winning season and a bowl game in line first? In addition to 25 newcomers via the portal (down from 87 a year ago but with more to come), Sanders’ staff has undergone an overhaul. And he’s looking at perhaps his final season as coach of sons Shedeur and Shilo, a starting safety for the Buffs.

Sanders, as it is at the core of his brand, follows a unique plan suited for no one but the larger-than-life coach. But no one can say for sure how it will go or for how long.

… Sanders has made a habit this offseason of repeating a generous interpretation of 2023’s results and how close the Buffs were to winning more games.

There’s no denying the immediate impact Sanders had in Boulder, where the 2022 team had gone 1-11. But his first-year struggles, as Colorado lost eight of its last nine, left him searching for answers often.

Sanders said he could have handled some in-game situations better and wanted to be ready for them this fall. He also noted that some situations are so unique they can’t be prepared for.

… But whether Sanders’ plan can take a major program to meaningful titles will continue to be debated throughout 2024, when more data is fed into the content machine that is Colorado football. The Buffs’ spring game is set for April 27.

“Everybody, including the staff, wasn’t built for the noise. Everybody’s not built for the moment,” Sanders said. “We took the moment to the greatest heights, and we plan on doing that again. But everybody’s not built for that stage. That stage comes with tremendous responsibility, and you gotta get young men who are used to that, committed to that and want it and relish that opportunity to be on that stage.

“And they’re ready to grab that microphone and hit that note.”

For all the skepticism surrounding Sanders’ compelling, curious blueprint to program building, he has at least one believer outside Boulder.

This offseason, Sanders’ phone buzzed. He looked down and saw a text message from Terry Saban, the wife of recently retired coaching legend Nick Saban, whom Sanders considers a mentor and friend. The duo was a fixture on commercials as Aflac insurance pitchmen throughout the past two seasons.

“Hang in there, Coach Prime,” the message read. “You’ll dominate sooner or later.”

Read full story here

LB LaVonta Bentley not concerned about potential transfers: “You can only control what you can control”

From the Daily Camera … As the Buffs, who completed their fifth of 15 spring practices on Thursday, prepare for next season, they are still looking for players that can join the team at linebacker, but they know they’ve got a rock in LaVonta Bentley.

A transfer from Clemson last year, Bentley led the Buffs with 69 tackles in 2023, while adding 11 tackles for loss and five sacks.

From the time he got to Boulder, Bentley has often talked about focusing on each day, and that has continued this spring.

“We try to attack that each and every day and just get better from it,” he said.

Because he focuses on his personal progress and each day at a time, Bentley isn’t too worried about the coaching staff keeping an eye on the transfer portal or bringing in veterans to push for his job.

“That’s every school. No matter where you go, they’re gonna try to bring these guys in,” Bentley said. “I always say I keep my head down and go to work. … You’ve got to keep going no matter what because you can only control what you can control.

“Knowing me, I’m gonna go out there and give my all each and every day. Last year, I had some down times, too, but at the end of the season, I did what I needed to do and made the plays. Coach saying (he’s going to look for more players), I’m gonna take that to heart, but I’m still going out there to get (better).”

Read full story here

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April 4th

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU receives a commitment from Florida cornerback Malaki Murphy

From the Daily Camera … For the second time in the past 10 days, Colorado has signed a late addition to the 2024 football recruiting class.

On Thursday, Malakai Murphy from Bradford (Fla.) High School announced that he has signed with the Buffaloes. Because the regular and early signing periods have passes, Murphy did not sign a letter of intent, but signed a financial aid agreement.

Last week, CU signed cornerback Ebenezer Bouzi from Naples (Fla.) High School.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Murphy recorded 30 tackles and four passes defended for Bradford this past season. He transferred to Bradford for his senior year after playing at Santa Fe (Fla.) High School.

*New Director of Leadership George Hegamin meets with the media*

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Xavier Weaver: “Running 4.4 definitely landed me some money in my pockets”

From the Daily Camera … Offseason shoulder surgery prevented Xavier Weaver from being ready to work out for NFL scouts during Colorado’s pro day on March 19.

The Buffaloes’ receiver was ready on Wednesday, though, and he put on a show.

“It was good. It was a blessing,” he said. “I was a little winded because of the altitude but it was definitely good.”

Working out in front of 11 NFL scouts, Weaver flashed his speed (4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash), his leaping ability (37-inch vertical, 10-foot-7 broad jump) and his pass catching skills.

His 40-yard time, which would have tied for 12th-best at the NFL combine earlier this spring, prompted a lot of smiles and congratulations from Weaver’s CU teammates, including quarterback Shedeur Sanders and receiver Jimmy Horn Jr.

“A lot of people came out here thinking I wasn’t gonna be able to run fast; probably thought my top-end speed wasn’t fast enough,” he said. “So 4.4 definitely landed me some money in my pockets.”

Weaver, who played four seasons at South Florida before transferring to CU last year, led the Buffs in catches (68) and receiving yards (908) in 2023. He also averaged 16.5 yards on eight punt returns.

Continue reading story here

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April 3rd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Influential Group (including former CU President Gordon Gee) proposing 70-team “Super League”

From The Athletic … One league overseeing college football’s highest level. No more conferences as we’ve known them. Playoff berths being decided solely on the field. Promotion and relegation for smaller schools. Players being paid directly. NIL and the transfer portal, managed.

A group of influential leaders wants to make all this happen soon — and they are pitching it as the best way forward for a sport they believe needs saving.

Several college presidents, Roger Goodell’s primary lieutenant at the NFL and some of sports’ top executives have devised a plan — dubbed by outsiders as a “Super League” — to completely transform college football, those involved in the group “College Sports Tomorrow” (CST) told The Athletic. Although the plan has drawn skepticism from within the sport’s current institutions, the people behind the ideas believe they must be implemented.

“The current model for governing and managing college athletics is dead,” Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud told The Athletic during an interview.

West Virginia president Gordon Gee added, “We are in an existential crisis.”

Syverud and Gee are part of CST, a 20-person group which also includes the NFL’s No. 2 executive Brian Rolapp, Philadelphia 76ers owner David Blitzer and lead organizer Len Perna of TurnkeyZRG, the search firm that places nearly all the top conference commissioners, including recently the Big Ten’s Tony Petitti.

They are trying to implement a drastically new system that would replace the NCAA and the College Football Playoff and potentially provide a solution for the hurricane of current and future lawsuits aimed at the business of the sport, plus the NIL and transfer portal issues that, they believe, have put college athletics as a whole in peril.

The current CST outline would create a system that would have the top 70 programs — all members of the five former major conferences, plus Notre Dame and new ACC member SMU — as permanent members and encompass all 130-plus FBS universities.

The perpetual members would be in seven 10-team divisions, joined by an eighth division of teams that would be promoted from the second tier.

The 50-plus second-division teams would have the opportunity to compete their way into the upper division, creating a promotion system similar to the structure in European football leagues. The 70 permanent teams would never be in danger of moving down, while the second division would have the incentive of promotion and relegation.

Continue reading story here

Coach Prime discusses Spring Game weekend activities

Center of the CU defense remains a question mark

From the Daily Camera … During the 2023 season, inside linebacker was somewhat of a revolving door for the Colorado Buffaloes.

LaVonta Bentley was the steady presence, making eight starts, including each of the last seven games. But, six other players made starts as the Buffs struggled to find the right combination to play in the middle of the defense.

As the Buffaloes began the second week of spring practices on Tuesday, the quest to find the right combination continues.

Bentley and converted safety Trevor Woods lead the way, but head coach Deion Sanders and his staff are keeping an eye on the transfer portal.

“We could use a little more depth at the linebacker position,” Sanders said earlier this spring. “But, shoot, the guys, they’re fighting their butts off right now they get to the ball. They’re doing what we need them to do. But we know what we still have coming in. We know the situation that we’re going to address.”

Linebackers coach Andre Hart said Tuesday that Bentley and Woods are frontrunners to start, but Florida Atlantic transfer Jaylen Wester is pushing both. Senior Brendan Gant and redshirt freshmen Victory Johnson and Kofi Taylor-Barrocks are on board, too.

Hart was quick to point out, however, that Tuesday was the first day in pads, so, “It was kind of a little bit of hitting, but not as physical as you want for me to make a good evaluation if a guy is good at the run and the pass.”

Continue reading story here

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April 2nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Dr. Justin Schwartz sole finalist to replace Phil DiStefano as CU chancellor

From the Daily Camera … Dr. Justin Schwartz, the current provost and executive vice president at Pennsylvania State University, is the sole finalist for the University of Colorado Boulder’s next chancellor.

According to CU System President Todd Saliman, Schwartz earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Saliman wrote in a release sent to university community members on Tuesday.

Schwartz has served in his most recent position at Penn State for less than a year, according to a release published on that university’s website. Before that, he was dean of Penn State’s College of Engineering since 2017. He worked as a professor in North Carolina, Florida and Illinois, according to his resume.

Schwartz will appear on campus for three community open forums on Thursday, April 4.

The faculty session runs from 8 to 9 a.m., the staff session from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. and the student session will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. All three will be located in the UMC Aspen Rooms and will be livestreamed.

Schwartz is the latest in a series of finalists for university positions with no competitors. The two most recent university system presidents, Saliman and Mark Kennedy, were scrutinized after no other candidates were named as their competitors. Jennifer Sobanet, the new chancellor for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, was not one of the finalists the UCCS search committee had announced as the top candidates for the job.

“I carefully considered each of the excellent candidates forwarded to me by the search committee. I appreciated the considerable input from the CU Boulder community regarding the search,” Saliman wrote in the release.

*Video: Linebackers coach Andre Hart – “The more competition we create, the better I sleep”*

From YouTube, courtesy of Brian Howell at the Daily Camera … 

Linebacker LaVonta Bentley … 

Linebacker Trevor Woods … 

Warren Sapp’s official title: Graduate Assistant

From the Daily Camera … Deion Sanders is no longer the only member of the Colorado football staff with a gold jacket.

CU’s head coach has hired good friend and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp as a graduate assistant. Sapp, a dominant defensive tackle during his playing days, was introduced to the team at a meeting on Sunday.

Sapp told the team he was a “senior quality control analyst,” but CU confirmed to BuffZone on Monday that he has been hired as a graduate assistant. Sapp, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, is currently enrolled in graduate level continuing education classes at the CU Boulder Graduate School.

“Warren Sapp successfully completed all of the necessary steps required of anyone who is employed at CU Boulder, including a background check,” CU told BuffZone in a statement. “Furthermore, Athletic Director Rick George personally met with Warren to clearly articulate the department’s standards and expectations, to which he acknowledged and agreed.”

Sapp has had some legal issues in the past, including in 2015 when he was arrested for assault and soliciting a prostitute. That arrest led to him being fired by the NFL Network, where he worked as an analyst. Also in 2015, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. In both cases, Sapp avoided jail time with plea agreements.

From the time that Coach Prime was hired by CU, Sapp has expressed interest in joining the staff and he spent some time around the Buffs last season. He cleared a big hurdle in that quest by completing his undergraduate degree in December, graduating from Texas Seminary Christian University.

Continue reading story here

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April 1st

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU and ESPN GameDay to reunite (in Kansas City?)

From 247 Sports … ESPN’s College GameDay will look different during the 2024 college football season thanks to the arrival of Alabama legend Nick Saban, who debuts on the pre-game show with coaching acumen overflow. Examining at the schedule, Saban and College GameDay have a ton of quality options from which to choose every week.

College GameDay, the most-watched pre-kickoff show across all major networks, made its debut in 1987 and has gone uninterrupted since with plans for its biggest season yet in 2024. Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and the gang have made predictions for spotlight games outside of countless venues for more than three decades, often choosing sites that garner the most eyes nationally based on the matchup.

Follow the top of the rankings, and you will have a good idea of where ESPN’s crew is going next. And who could blame them? Ratings trump everything, and College GameDay follows the programs in the national championship race often.

Here are the educated guesses at where College GameDay will visit this season.

WEEK 13 (NOV. 23): COLORADO AT KANSAS

With construction continuing at the Jayhawks’ home digs in 2024, Kansas will play four of its home games at Arrowhead Stadium. And when Coach Prime comes to town in late November, it could be a hard-to-get ticket if Kansas is the contender many believe the Jayhawks could be. This is a weekend College GameDay could go outside of the box and choose a Group of Five location, too. Liberty has never hosted and there’s a chance the Flames could be gunning for their second straight unbeaten regular season under Jamey Chadwell at this stage.  Ole Miss at Florida is another option, but not if the Gators are under .500 and in danger of missing bowl eligibility.

Continue reading story here

Press Release: Black and Gold Weekend to include a Lil Wayne concert

… Spring Game at 1:00 p.m. on April 27th … Televised on Pac-12 Network … 

Related … “CU Buffs announce details for spring game, Lil Wayne concert and more” … from the Daily Camera

Press Release from CUBuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes annual Black and Gold Weekend is always a highly anticipated event, and this year’s edition promises to set a new standard for spring games across the nation. The multi-day festivities include the Arrow Electronics Black and Gold Spring Football game, a post-game concert with Lil Wayne headlining, CU football alumni reunion, and even a talent show. The spring game will take place on Saturday, April 27 but the festivities begin as early as Thursday, April 25 and continue throughout the weekend. Tickets for each individual event included in Black and Gold Weekend will be going on sale throughout the week starting on Monday, April 1.

The centerpiece of the weekend will once again be the annual Arrow Electronics Black and Gold Day spring football game, which will be fans’ first chance to see the 2024 Buffs in action and will officially kick off the team’s second season under Coach Prime. The game starts at 1 p.m. and tickets will be $15 for bowl seating, $25 for Byron White East Club seating, and $5 for students. Students will have the opportunity to get tickets Tuesday, April 2 ahead of the general on-sale taking place Wednesday, April 3. The game will also be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network. The Alumni C Club will additionally be hosting a CU football reunion brunch the morning of the game from 10-12 p.m. Registration is exclusive to alumni of the CU football team.

After the game, Saturday night will be capped off with Outback Presents “The Show”, A Prime Time Weekend Party, featuring history-making superstar Lil Wayne at CU Events Center.  Concert tickets will go on sale beginning at noon on April 1 and start as low as $29.50 (plus fees). The post-game concert is supported in partnership with the CU Boulder Program Council. On-campus parking for those who want to see the game and the concert is just $10 for the entire day and must be purchased on-site.

The Black and Gold festivities, however, will actually begin on Thursday, April 25 with an exclusive talent show at CU Events Center hosted by 5430 Alliance. There will be more details to come but tickets will be free and will be open to any and all fans, students, faculty, and staff. Participation in the talent show itself is also open to anyone by emailing primesgottalent@gmail.com to sign up. The following night, Friday, April 26, will feature the “Prime Elite Dinner,” a special evening with Coach Prime at the Nerd Wallet Touchdown Club hosted by the 5430 Alliance. For more details or to purchase individual tickets or tables, please contact the 5430 Alliance.

The football team will not be the only squad in action during Black and Gold Weekend as the CU lacrosse team will take on Oregon under the lights at Prentup Field on Friday, April 26 at 6 p.m.

Tickets for all events can be purchased at www.cubuffs.com and after check-out purchasers will be able to also contribute to the 5430 Alliance, which provides invaluable support for CU student-athletes.

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March 31st 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Another staff addition: George Hegamin from IMG joins staff as director of leadership and engagements

Hegamin works as the Senior Manager of Players Services for the NFL Players Association. He is also the offensive lineman coach at the Under Armour National Combine and Elite Football Camp. Was the offensive line coach at IMG Academy in Florida.

Played defensive tackle at North Carolina State. Drafted in the third round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Had a six-year NFL career playing for three teams.

CU receives a commitment from PWO K/P Daniel Gerlach from Boulder

… Class of 2023 … Junior college last fall (Colby College in Waterville, Maine) … 46 punts for a 32.8 yard average … 5’11”, 150-pounds … 

Hudl.com highlights

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DC Robert Livingston: “It’s all about the guys to me”

From the Daily Camera … With Robert Livingston having spent the last 12 years working as a coach with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, it would be natural to think he would bring the playbook he’s known for a while into his new job.

What Livingston’s career has taught him, however, is to focus less on the playbook and more on the players.

“It’s really easy to walk in someplace and slide the playbook across and say, ‘Hey, you guys learn this because this is what I do,’” said Livingston, the first-year defensive coordinator of the Colorado Buffaloes. “It’s not my defense. It’s not the staff’s defense. It’s our defense. And again, it kind of goes back to that tribe mentality, the thought process of, hey, everybody’s coming together for one common goal, right? We’re all pulling the same way.”

Hired in February by CU head coach Deion Sanders, Livingston hit the ground running in his new position with the Buffs.

“I have non negotiables,” he said. “We’ll be the hardest playing team in the country. That’s how I see it. That’s how we need to be. We’ll be great communicators. And we’ll have a tribe mentality, meaning there’s no job too big, no job too small. It takes all 11.”

The goal, of course, is to help the Buffs improve from last year, when they ranked 124th nationally in points allowed (34.8 per game). Livingston embraces the challenge.

“It’s all about the guys to me,” he said. “I think when you get a chance to do it your way and to lead men, that’s really what it’s about.”

Read full story here

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March 30th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Warren Sapp on his way to CU for spring practices as a “Senior Quality Control Coach”

From BuffStampede.com … Over a 13-year NFL career, after being an All-American at Miami, Sapp racked up 573 tackles, 96-and-a-half sacks, and 19 forced fumbles. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion.

A decade after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Sapp came out to Boulder multiple times to check in on Coach Prime and the Buffaloes in 2023. He caught the bug to be part of the mix.

“It really infected me,” Sapp told Neely on Thee Pregame Show earlier this winter. “There was something about the kids when they got around me. It was the questions they asked. It was almost like a thought process like, ‘Really? I never thought about it that way? That’s something new to me.’ I just smiled and looked away.

“The best thing that happened to me was my hip was hurting. It wasn’t my surgically repaired hip, it was the other one giving me aches and pains. You get up in the mountains and all hell can break loose. The training room (in Boulder) will get you right. I am surrounded in the hot tub and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, these are the d-line.’ Now we are talking about pass rush and actually mimicking the thing.”

Sapp stated he will serve as a “Senior Quality Control Coach” on Colorado’s staff in 2024.

Sal Sunseri coached the Buffaloes interior defensive linemen last season but he has been dealing with health issues. CU added Damien Lewis to its staff this winter and he has been working with the defensive linemen since the spring semester started. The 46-year old Lewis previously served as the defensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks.

Continue reading story here

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March 29th

… CU in a few minutes … 

ESPN rates top defensive backs for 2024: Travis Hunter No. 2

From ESPN … As we continue our top 10 rankings at various positions around college football, it seems our voters had as much trouble finding separation among the candidates at defensive back as receivers do when going against the defenders themselves.

This was the tightest contest so far, with a tie at the top that was broken based on the number of first-place votes each of the two contenders received from our ESPN reporters. That left Georgia’s Malaki Starks at No. 1, edging Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter, who also made our top 10 receivers list.

The bunched results did not end there. In fact, the player with the most first-place votes was Michigan’s Will Johnson, who was third overall, and five players were No. 1 on at least one ballot.

Points were assigned based on our reporters’ votes: 10 points for first place, nine for second place and down to one point for 10th place.

Here are the results.

Previous top 10 lists: Receivers | Running backs | Quarterbacks | Pass-rushers

Travis Hunter … Colorado … No. 2

2023 stats: 3 interceptions, 5 passes defended, 31 tackles

Points: 67 (no first-place votes)

When Deion Sanders spoke of the Louis Vuitton he was bringing to Colorado, Hunter was one of the players he was referencing, and rightfully so. While he was the best player in the country who was getting snaps on both offense and defense, Hunter’s best plays from 2023 stand out on the defensive side, such as his spectacular interception in the opener against TCU.

He routinely followed the opponent’s best receiver and had three interceptions on the season, second most among Pac-12 corners. He also had 31 total tackles, two for a loss, as well as five passes defended. If Colorado takes another leap in 2024, Hunter will be a big reason.

Read full story here

New OLB Coach Vincent Dancy: “The transition has been great for me and being a head coach has helped me out a whole lot”

From the Daily Camera … When Colorado had a hole to fill in its defensive coaching staff this past winter, head coach Deion Sanders didn’t waste time in promoting from within.

Vincent Dancy was a natural choice to become the Buffaloes’ outside linebackers coach because of his various coaching experience and the trust he’s earned from Sanders.

“It’s been great,” Dancy said of his transition from an analyst role in 2023. “Of course, I’ve been in the secondary for about 13 years in my life, but I’ve been a (defensive) coordinator for 10, so I understand how we want the front to play and what we expect from the front. But it’s been great overall, especially working with these guys, who come out to work every day and give us everything they’ve got every day.”

Dancy replaced Nick Williams, who left the Buffs shortly after the 2023 season to take a position at Syracuse.

Prior to being hired as an analyst by Sanders more than a year ago, Dancy was the head coach at Mississippi Valley State from 2018-22. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator at MVSU for three years and the DC for one year (2014) at Paine College. From 2009-13, he worked at Jackson State, his alma mater, as a graduate assistant and then safeties coach.

As he takes over the duties of coaching the Buffs’ edge defenders, Dancy leans on veterans such as Khairi Manns and Arden Walker (although Walker is out this spring with a finger injury).

Dancy has also had good early impressions of transfers Quency Wiggins (from LSU) and Samuel Okunlola (from Pittsburgh).

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Wiggins is versatile and can play on the edge, but also slide inside to a tackle position.

“Big, strong physical kid,” Dancy said. “Quency understands what we expect from him, especially coming from big-time program like LSU. … We’re asking him to do dual things, but he’s adjusted to it well.”

Continue reading story here

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March 28th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Stewart Mandel: Not time to declare Coach Prime Charlie Weis 2.0

From The AthleticLast offseason, these mailbags were filled with Coach Prime questions. Now it’s like he’s become a ghost (notwithstanding his comments about the NFL Draft this week). How do you view Year 2 of the Coach Prime era? Is his almost sole reliance on the transfer portal to build his roster a coach getting ahead of the curve in the new college football world or an impending disaster that we’ll look back as Charlie Weis 2.0? — Justin D.

I’m sure there will still be curiosity around Coach Prime come the season, but almost nothing he’s done since the middle of last season inspires much confidence.

Demoting offensive coordinator Sean Lewis was baffling, as though he was the reason the Buffs had a non-functional offensive line. The fact San Diego State hired him as head coach this offseason tells you how highly he’s regarded as a coach. Then, a guy whose biggest selling point was his ability to connect with young people signed just seven high school recruits, with it subsequently coming out that he took no off-campus visits. And the majority of his Year 1 staff has already turned over.

By no means am I ready to declare him to be Charlie Weis 2.0. Remember, last year’s team still improved from 1-11 to 4-8, but the way it played out — with the fast start and accompanying adulation, followed by a six-game losing streak to end the season — diminished the progress. With Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter and most of CU’s skill players back, the Buffs should field an explosive offense … if some of the six transfer offensive linemen they signed can significantly cut down on those 56 sacks allowed last season. If so, there’s no reason CU can’t get to six wins and become bowl-eligible.

Deion’s transfer-heavy formula is not sustainable. There has to be some foundation. This time next year, he may be faced with flipping the thing all over again.

But who knows whether he’ll still be there this time next year. It might be off to the next brand-building opportunity.

LaJohntay Wester: “I just play with a lot of heart and effort and my skill set is gonna show”

From the Daily Camera … LaJohntay Wester isn’t ranked among the most highly regarded transfers in the 2024 class.

In fact, 247Sports doesn’t even rate Wester as the top receiver transfer signed by the Colorado Buffaloes. (Vanderbilt transfer Will Sheppard is several spots higher).

It’s difficult to find many players who had more production, though, and the 5-foot-11, 167-pounder from Florida Atlantic University is bringing his electricity to Boulder.

“Extremely quick, extremely knowledgeable,” CU receivers coach Jason Phillips said. “A veteran; a guy that understands and reads coverages well, and just explosiveness. I mean, it’s no secret as to what he did last season and why he’s here, because he’s an explosive player.”

… “Coach Prime, and just this environment, this family,” Wester said of why CU was the best fit for him and his brother, Jaylen, a linebacker who also transferred in from FAU. “It’s a big jump for us because we come from Florida. It’s far from Florida; a big adjustment but we’ve been taking risks all our life so me and my brother, it was a no brainer for us to come here and get the exposure get coached by NFL talent. It was great.”

In his four seasons with the Owls, Wester caught 252 passes for 2,703 yards and 21 touchdowns – ranking first in FAU history in all three categories. He’s second in FAU history in career all-purpose yards (3,841). In addition to receiving and returns, he rushed for 213 yards and two scores during his time at FAU.

“I just play with a lot of heart and intensity and a lot of hunger,” he said. “I know I don’t have the size, the speed, the strength, so I just play with a lot of heart and effort and my skill set is gonna show for sure.”

Continue reading story here

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March 27th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Three-star cornerback Ebenezer Bouzi joins CU 

Just the facts … Committed March 27th … Ebenezer “Ben” Bouzi is a 6’1″, 180-pounder from Naples, Florida.  … 247 Sports bioRivals bio

What others had to say about Bouzi … Bouzi, a member of the Recruiting Class of 2024, was considered to be a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, but only a two-star player by Rivals. At 247 Sports, Bouzi was rated as the No. 145 cornerback in the nation, the No. 210 player overall out of the State of Florida, and the No. 1607 overall prospect in the country.

Bouzi had offers from … a handful of Power Five schools, including Florida State, Louisville, Maryland and Pitt.

Here is a link to his Hudl.com highlights

Bouzi tweet … Words can’t even explain how I’m feeling right now. I would like too start off by giving #AGTG. I also want to thank all the staffs @CUBuffsFootball  for this opportunity. I would also like to thank my coaches and most importantly my family and my city for the support. #GoBuffs

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March 26th

… CU in a few minutes …

Goal for 5430: $8 million for football, get basketball “competitive”

From On3Sports.com … The nonprofit Buffs4Life NIL Collective launched in October 2022, trying to service all of Colorado athletics. But for Sanders to find success in Boulder, there was a consensus among top donors that he would need a fully-functioning collective.

This past September long-time donor and Colorado alumnus Eric Belcher and a group of fellow donors created the 5430 Foundation. Five months later, consolidation has come to create a unified plan for Colorado athletics, but more specifically, Buffaloes football. The 5430 Alliance is scheduled to launch on Tuesday, combining the Buffs4Life and 5430 Foundation efforts to assist all 350-plus Colorado athletes.

The NIL collective management company Blueprint Sports will service the day-to-day functions of the organization. The company currently works with collectives at ArizonaArkansasKansasMarylandNC StatePenn StateStanfordUCLA and Utah. CEO Rob Sine told On3 that the 5430 Alliance will be one of the biggest staffs under the Blueprint umbrella. The collective plans to hire an executive director, director of operations and development and sales manager.

… Making sure Deion Sanders has all the NIL tools he needs to find success in Boulder is crucial.

“How do you begin to really monetize the activities and really engage fanbases around the country,” Sine said. “Football really has to double its NIL budget from last year to this year. Get basketball in a place where it’s competitive, especially in the Big 12. Those are the paramount benchmarks we’re going to have for the rest of the year.

“The going rate is somewhere $6 to $10 million, but a program like this needs to be $8 million and above. The goal here is to exceed the bar.”

Maybe most important to the collective’s success will be to secure the backing of Sanders, who goes by “Coach Prime.” The 5430 Alliance already has that.

“WE HERE and we’re not settling for nothing! We have a commitment to DOMINATE on and off the field, and in order to do that we need to DOMINATE in our NIL program as well,” Sanders said in a statement provided to On3.

“5430 Alliance gives EVERY darn Colorado fan the opportunity to be a
part of HISTORY. IT DON’T STOP BABY!”

Read full story here

Press Release: 5430 ALLIANCE LAUNCHES TO UNIFY NIL OPPORTUNITIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO

5430 Alliance introduces a new fan membership program, alongside other expanded offerings.

Boulder, CO (March 26, 2024) – Blueprint Sports (BPS), the industry leader in full-service name, image, and likeness (NIL) collectives, proudly announces the launch of 5430 Alliance, the premier NIL Collective supporting all 350-plus University of Colorado student-athletes in a unifying move combining the Buffs4Life NIL Collective and 5430 Foundation to bring all of the university’s NIL opportunities into one streamlined organization.

“NIL is a critical component of our athletics programs as we support our student-athletes and compete for national championships,” said Rick George, University of Colorado’s Athletic Director. “5430 Alliance ushers in a new chapter of NIL at Colorado and allows all our fans and alumni to support our student-athletes through one avenue. We encourage every supporter of the Buffs community to pledge their support to 5430 Alliance.”

Every contribution makes a difference. Starting at only $15 a month, community supporters can become members of the collective and show their affinity for the Buffs with brand-new merchandise showcasing the new logo. As part of its launch goal, 5430 Alliance is seeking 5,000 CU fans to become members.

“WE HERE and we’re not settling for nothing! We have a commitment to DOMINATE on and off the field, and in order to do that we need to DOMINATE in our NIL program as well,” said Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders. “5430 Alliance gives EVERY darn Colorado fan the opportunity to be a part of HISTORY. IT DON’T STOP BABY!”

Buffs supporters, alumni, and fans have three easy ways to contribute to 5430 Alliance:

  • MembershipsBecome a member of 5430 Alliance and receive exclusive member benefits, like meet-and-greets with student-athletes, autographed merchandise, and more.
  • One-Time Contributions: Fans and supporters can make a one-time general contribution to 5430 Alliance which directly supports CU student-athletes and Buffs NIL.
  • Tax-Deductible Donations: Supporters can make tax-deductible donations through 5430 Alliance’s partnership with the BPS Foundation, a 501c3 organization, to support Buffs student-athletes. Student-athletes will partner with local nonprofits to advocate for charitable causes, personally fulfilling that commitment with community service hours. 5430 Alliance will also work alongside other critical nonprofit organizations in the Boulder community to support their missions and expose Buff student-athletes to a variety of charitable outlets.

As part of the University’s consolidated NIL landscape, the Buffs4Life Foundation will be the premiere charity partner for 5430 Alliance, with student-athletes continuing to support the charitable opportunities of the organization. The Buffs4Life NIL Collective was the first NIL collective at the University of Colorado. They successfully navigated the ever-changing landscape of NIL to cover all of CU’s sports in the early stages of NIL at CU. Buffs4Life NIL Collective had opportunities to get current CU student-athletes in the community to support the Foundation’s mental health and suicide prevention initiatives for alumni athletes. Buffs4Life NIL Collective supported more than 200 CU student-athletes across seven different sports.

“We are so proud of the work that we’ve done already in the Boulder community, and even more proud that we can continue to work hand-in-hand with 5430 Alliance to make an impact,” said Sean Tufts, Buffs4Life President. “We are committed to the mission of Buffs Helping Buffs and with 5430 Alliance there’s a clear way for all of our fans to do just that.”

5430 Alliance will be staffed by a full-time, local team of dedicated professionals to manage the daily operations of the collective. The staff will work throughout the region to proactively fundraise from supporters, work with local non-profits who want to engage with student-athletes, and engage with businesses who believe that working with student-athletes can help boost their business and brands. The collective is actively hiring for the following positions: Executive DirectorDirector of Operations and Development and Sales Manager. Board members Eric Belcher and Jason Weiss will continue in their current roles.

“Our partnership with Blueprint Sports allows us to take 5430 Alliance to the next level and enhance our NIL opportunities and programming for all CU student-athletes,” said Belcher. “We’re thrilled to see where this next chapter takes us and for the immediate impact the support of our fans will have on our student-athletes and in our beloved community.”

Ahead of CU’s Black & Gold Day Spring Football Game, 5430 Alliance will also be organizing an exclusive event on April 26th featuring CU coaches, lettermen, and student-athletes. Details and tickets will be released on the collective’s website in the coming weeks.

For more information about 5430 Alliance, visit 5430alliance.com and follow on FacebookInstagram and X.

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ABOUT 5430 ALLIANCE

5430 Alliance is the premiere Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collective supporting 350-plus student-athletes at the University of Colorado. Supporters, fans, and alumni who support 5430 Alliance are pledging to maximize opportunities for student-athletes to build their brands and engage with the community. There are various ways to get involved, including corporate partnerships, memberships, and charitable contributions. 5430 Alliance is powered by parent company Blueprint Sports. For more information about NIL partnerships with Buffs student-athletes, visit 5430alliance.com.

ABOUT BUFFS4LIFE FOUNDATION

Buffs4Life Foundation has been a 501(c)(3) organization for over 19 years focused on supporting CU alumni athletes. CU alumni athletes are eligible to receive financial and mental health support when they need it. Their charitable outreach is focused on promoting generational ties between current and alumni Buffs and the Boulder community. Buffs4Life Foundation operates a scholarship fund that all CU alumni student-athletes and their children are eligible to apply for. While the foundation will no longer continue the NIL aspect of the organization, it will continue in its mission to provide a support system that ensures that no University of Colorado Athlete Alumni shall struggle alone.  Visit Buffs4Life Foundation website for more information buffs4life.org.

ABOUT BLUEPRINT SPORTS 

Founded in 2020, Blueprint Sports (BPS) powers the industry’s leading name, image, and likeness (NIL) collectives for alumni, supporters, and businesses, connecting them with student-athletes at their favorite universities. BPS’ national portfolio of collectives supports student-athletes across the country, including Penn State University, University of Arkansas, University of Kansas, University of Maryland, University of Washington, University of Colorado, Boston College, NC State University, University of Utah, Villanova University, Stanford University, Gonzaga University, University of Arizona, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada, and more. The Blueprint Sports management team possesses over 50 years of college and professional sports experience, spanning the Pac-12 Conference, IMG, Learfield, and more. For more information, visit blueprintsports.com or its pages on FacebookInstagram and X.

MEDIA CONTACTS 

Marina Bain

Blueprint Sports

marina@blueprintsports.com

Steve Hurlbert

CU Boulder Athletics

Steve.Hurlbert@colorado.edu

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March 25th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Vegas: CU at 150:1 to win College Football National Championship

From SuperWest

Updated Odds to Win 2025 CFB Title from @CircaSports

  • 9/1—Oregon
  • 40/1—USC
  • 70/1—Utah
  • 150/1—Arizona
  • 150/1—Colorado
  • 200/1—Washington
  • 250/1—BSU
  • 1000/1—ASU, UCLA
  • 2500/1—Cal, Fresno St, WSU
  • 5000/1—BYU, Ore St, Stanford, UNLV
  • All other SuperWest teams: 9900/1

Coach Prime – Shedeur, Travis will control ’25 NFL draft fate: “I know where I want them to go”

From ESPN … For Deion Sanders’ next trick, he’ll try to game the NFL draft.

The Colorado coach said his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and two-way star cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter will decide where they go in the 2025 draft, and not the other way around as is traditionally the case.

“I know where I want them to go,” Deion Sanders told the “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast Friday. “So, it’s certain cities that ain’t going to happen. It’s going to be an Eli.”

“Eli” is in reference to two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning, who was selected with the first overall pick in 2004 by the Chargers, for whom he said he wouldn’t play. One hour later, San Diego traded Manning to the New York Giants, and the rest is history.

Deion Sanders has already said he doesn’t want his son “going nowhere cold” via the draft. On Friday, he told the podcast that there are “certain cities that fit” before mentioning San Francisco, Dallas, Washington and Baltimore as possible landing spots.

“There were certain cities that fit [for me],” Deion Sanders said about being drafted by the Falcons in 1989. “Atlanta fit, and I want that for my kids. All of them. I want the right fit. [Atlanta] was the first time I saw Black people in positions of authority. It blew my mind. It was real in Atlanta. I had never seen anything like that in my life.”

Deion Sanders said he thinks Shedeur Sanders and Hunter will both be selected among the top four picks in the 2025 draft, with one of the two players going with the No. 1 pick.

ESPN’s Matt Miller recently projected Sanders as one of the top three quarterbacks in the 2025 draft and Hunter as one of the top three cornerbacks.

Continue reading story here

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March 23rd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Coach Prime defends his recruiting technique: “Parents don’t want me in their house”

From The Athletic … At his media day press conference this week, Coach Prime took issue, unprompted, to respond to a USA Today report from earlier this month that revealed Sanders made zero off-campus contact with recruits during his first year as Colorado coach. The report compared him with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who made 145 off-campus contacts with recruits and Texas coach Steve Sarkisian, who had 128.

“My approach is totally different than many coaches,” Sanders said, first asking if the reporter who published the report was in the room. “I’m a business man, as well so I try to save our university money every dern chance I get. For me to go, let’s say I go to Florida and I’m visiting IMG, you don’t think those coaches are going to be a little upset if I don’t come by the school down the street? You don’t think it’s going to be pandemonium, or I’m gonna get naysayed if I don’t go another 45 minutes? Then if I go to that one, why didn’t I come to that school? Now the coach is mad and he’s not gonna let the kid come because I chose that school over that school.

Other coaches, they can do that, but I can’t.”

Colorado’s 2024 class ranked No. 22 overall according to 247Sports Composite but featured just seven high school prospects and 25 transfers.

Sanders said he did a “personal survey” and “truly believe in my heart that parents don’t want me in their house.” He said he’d rather show recruits and their parents the city of Boulder and why he loves it.

“They want to see how I live, how I get down, see what I got going on, what God has done in my life. I know when I was in college I did not want Bobby Bowden in my house because I knew after 7 o’clock, there was going to be rats and roaches on parade.”

Sanders also said Colorado’s approach to heavily recruiting the transfer portal is part of why he doesn’t go off campus. Home visits for prospects in the portal are rare and the recruiting process is much faster than in high school.

“I have never heard one guy say I chose this college because this coach came by my crib. Have you?” Sanders said. “I can’t do the things other coaches can do. You know why? I’m Coach Prime. And I didn’t stutter when I said it.”

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March 22nd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

247 Sports: CU’s Transfer Class has the second-most elite players in the nation

From 247 Sports … The college football transfer portal winter window was busier than ever with a flurry of activity across the country and big-name players opting for a fresh start elsewhere. 247Sports updated its Top 150 individual transfer rankings last week with a new look at the best players to hit the portal in the current 2024 cycle.

Fifty-four programs landed at least one player from the Top 150 transfer rankings, with 11 of those teams adding at least five elite portal pickups. That influx of top-tier talent could be pivotal for programs aiming for a shot at winning the national championship in 2024. However, for some teams, the focus is more on enhancing the overall talent levels as they undergo a rebuilding phase.

It comes as no surprise that the 11 teams with the most incoming transfers from the Top 150 rankings also sit among the top 15 of the transfer portal team rankings heading into the spring.

Below is a closer look at which college football programs landed the most Top 150 transfers from the winter window:

T-2. COLORADO BUFFALOES — 7

247Sports Transfer Portal Ranking: No. 6

The quantity of incoming transfers for Deion Sanders and Colorado is high once again, but the quality improved in comparison to last year when the Buffaloes overhaul the roster. There is a clear emphasis on getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks at Colorado with three of the top four transfer additions being standout edge rushers. Former Pittsburgh star Samuel Okunlola and ex-LSU contributor Quency Wiggins lead the group looking to spark a turnaround in Boulder.

Read full story here

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March 21st

… CU in a few minutes … 

Neill Woelk profiles Joe and Traci McCreary and their Legacy Gift

From CUBuffs.com … It was just over 40 years ago that Joe McCreary made a choice that changed his life.

McCreary, a promising high school offensive lineman from Missouri, elected to cast his lot with a young head coach at Colorado who was in the process of putting together his first recruiting class for the Buffaloes.

That 1983 class set the foundation for Bill McCartney’s tenure in Boulder and the most successful run in CU football history. McCreary and his teammates took their lumps early, but by the time they were finished, they had put in place the cornerstone of the McCartney era.

That era is still the standard by which all others are judged at CU. Before it concluded, McCartney’s teams had produced a national championship, three Big Eight titles, nine bowl appearances and six straight seasons ranked in the national top 20 at season’s end, along with a long list of national award winners, All-Americans and NFL Draft selections.

It all started with that 1983 class that accepted the challenge to change CU’s fortunes.

McCreary, who now owns a successful transportation company in Colorado Springs, recently wrote a letter to McCartney, thanking him for the opportunity to become a Buff.

“To this day, playing football for you and for CU was the best thing I have done, next to marrying my lovely wife Traci of 31 years this April,” McCreary wrote. “I owe you such a debt of gratitude for offering me that scholarship to come to Boulder. I’m not sure I have ever expressed to you personally just how much that changed my life.”

Now, Joe and Traci (who has played a key role in the success of Diamond Express Transportation) are giving back. The two have committed to a legacy gift to Colorado Athletics that will be one of the largest gifts ever to CU by a student-athlete alum, including a scholarship gift that will annually support another Buff offensive lineman.

“Had it not been for the University of Colorado, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” McCreary said. “That’s the way I look at it. It’s giving back to the university that got us to where we are today and the place that has meant so much to us over the years.”

Colorado Athletic Director Rick George actually crossed paths with Joe in 1987. George was named CU’s football recruiting coordinator in the spring of 1987 and was with the program for McCreary’s senior season.

“It’s very important to have former student-athletes support the department and their university,” George said. “It’s critically important. The fact that Traci and Joe made that commitment is significant and I do believe other former student-athletes may see that and say, ‘You know what, I want to give back to the university that gave me so much.'”

Continue reading story here

Shedeur Sanders: “I feel stronger. I’m healed. I’m rested up”

From the Daily Camera … As a competitor, Shedeur Sanders wanted to suit up and lead the Colorado football team on Nov. 25 in the 2023 season finale at Utah.

Physically, he was unable to do so.

“As soon as I took a step to jog or run, it’s just like the back pain hurt extremely,” Sanders said Wednesday after CU’s second practice of spring drills. “It was something I never experienced before and it was something, like, when you really want to do something but you can’t.”

After sitting out the finale with a fracture in his back and going through recovery this winter, Sanders is healthy again as the Buffs opened spring practices this week.

“I feel great. I feel like I’m kind of like how it felt to begin last season,” he said. “I feel stronger. I’m healed. I’m rested up. I trained a lot this offseason, just working. I feel really good. I feel really comfortable. I feel like I’m getting bigger a little bit; definitely the lower half. I just feel stronger overall.”

Now a senior, Sanders set CU records for passing yards in a game (510) and season (3,230) last year but is looking forward to being even better this year. It all started with taking some time to heal, though.

Continue reading story here

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March 20th

… CU in a few minutes … 

From YouTube, courtesy of CU Sports Report

*Video: Coach Prime Media Day Press Conference*

Defensive coordinator Robert Livingston … 

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur … 

Five-star offensive lineman Jordan Seaton … 

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders … 

Rick George named Athletic Director of the Year

Press release from CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado Athletic Director Rick George was named the Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the association announced Wednesday.

George is one of four honored in the Football Bowl Subdivision and one of 28 honored by NACDA throughout seven different divisions ranging from FBS to the Junior College and Community College level.

“NACDA is honored to continue the tradition of the Athletics Director of the Year Award and recognize a new class of individuals for 2023-24,” NACDA CEO Pat Manak said. “As an Association it is part of our mission to develop tomorrow’s leaders led by today’s decision makers, which is why it is so fitting that 21 of the 28 recipients of the ADOY award this year are first-time winners.”

George was named the sixth athletic director in CU history in 2013, his second stint in Boulder, returning 23 years after he played a role in the school’s first and only national championship in football.

One of George’s first achievements as athletic director was spearheading the athletic complex expansion that included a long-awaited indoor practice facility and Champions Center.  His leadership early in his career was critical in guiding CU through a 100-year flood in his first year on the job, a global pandemic and the most tenuous era in the history of college athletics.

In 2019, he was one of 30 named to the prestigious National Football Foundation’s “Team of Excellence,” and also won the individual achievement award recognizing his leadership in the sports sustainability programs he developed in the athletic department by the Pac-12 conference.  He has been named CU’s Staff Member of the Year three times by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, acknowledging his attendance at most home athletic events, willingness to meet with any student-athlete and his leadership through crisis including the pandemic.  In 2016 he was presented with an “Honorary C” award by CU’s Alumni C Club for his years of dedication to Colorado Athletics.

He served on the CFP selection committee from 2020-22, serves on the Division I Council of the NCAA as well as several other NCAA committees, including the working group that put together a framework for name, image and likeness and for two years was the chair of the LEAD1 Association, which represents athletic directors, programs and student-athletes of the 130 member schools of the FBS.

In 2022, he hired Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders as the head football coach, a decision that immediately put Colorado Football back on the map.  CU sold out its spring game, all six home games for the first time in program history, 11 of 12 games on the season, and had five of the 14 most-watched games in the college football regular season, leading the nation in viewership until the final week of the regular season.  The center of the sporting world for the first month of the football season, CU hosted FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff three times and College Gameday once, the first pregame show appearances in Boulder in 28 seasons.

Continue reading story here

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March 19th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Nine Buffs participate in CU’s Pro Timing Day

From CUBuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes football team conducted its 32nd annual pro day here Tuesday afternoon while families, friends and NFL scouts flooded into the Indoor Practice Facility to get a glimpse of some of the Buffs entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Buffs had nine players participate in drills including Taijh AlstonJavon AntonioJordan DomineckDerrick McLendonJuwan MitchellLeonard Payne Jr.Kavosiey SmokeRodrick WardNoah Young and former Buff Blake Stenstrom.

Ward and McLendon both had great showings, putting up numbers that would have also impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Three of Ward’s marks would have ranked top-six among all safeties if he had competed at the combine. He recorded 18 reps on the bench press which puts him fourth in that category. Ward then put up a 10’6″ broad jump that also ranks fourth and a 4.47 40-yard dash which ranks sixth.

McLendon notched a 10′ mark in the broad jump and a 35″ vertical jump which were both top-10 measurements among defensive ends. He had the third-highest vertical jump and second-farthest broad jump out of the nine Buffs that participated on the day.

Mitchell also made his way into top ranks among NFL Scouting Combine performers with an eye-opening mark in the vertical jump. His 35.5″ vertical jump ranks fourth among all linebackers.

After the individual drills concluded, players participated in position-specific drills conducted by several NFL scouts.

The 2024 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place in Detroit, Mich. from Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 27.

Image

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March 19th

… CU in a few minutes … 

* Video: Inside Buffs’ First Day of Spring Football*

From Well Off Media …

LB Demouy Kennedy no longer with the team

Tweet from Brian Howell at the Daily Camera …  A couple of Colorado football roster notes: LB Demouy Kennedy, who transferred from Alabama last year, is no longer with the Buffs. OL David Conner, a Florida transfer last year, is not on the spring roster, but there’s a chance he could return at some point.

Florida Atlantic WR/KR transfer LaJohntay Wester: “I am trusting and betting on myself”

“I just play with a lot of heart and intensity… a lot of hunger,” LaJohntay Wester, CU’s Florida Atlantic wide receiver (and All-American punt returner) told the media Monday. “I have already had that confidence just coming from where I come from,” the Palmetto, Fla., product said of moving up to the Power Four level. “Not a lot of people make it from where I come from. So just having that chip on my shoulder and being confident is going to get me there. I am trusting and betting on myself.”

“The energy is definitely up there,” Wester said of starting his first spring ball with the Buffaloes. “We’re back playing football, doing what we came to this school for. The juices were flowing, everyone was flying around, everyone was excited.”

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsReport

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March 18th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Phil Loadholt: “It’s important to keep the quarterback up. I’m excited to have the chance to do that”

From CUBuffs.com … New offensive coach Phil Loadholt knows the task of building a cohesive unit from almost scratch won’t be easy. He’ll have to lean on the experience of the transfers to lend a hand in that process.

Colorado yielded 56 quarterback sacks last year, with Sanders taking 52 of those — the most sacks absorbed by any Division I quarterback in the nation. Loadholt knows the expectation of Coach Prime when it comes to giving CU’s quarterback the best possible chance to succeed.

“He made that very clear,” Loadholt said. “I went to see him at his house and spent some time with him, let him know my philosophy and how I want to take care of things. That point was definitely made, that it’s important to keep the quarterback up. I’m excited to have the chance to do that.”

Loadholt’s vision of a quality offensive line is simple — and it’s one he’ll spend the next six months trying to build.

“A bunch of physical guys up there that can communicate with each other,” he said. “Whether it’s opening holes for the running back or keeping the quarterback clean, just more physicality up front and some guys that bring the right attitude every single day.”

Read full story here

*Video: New Wide Receivers coach Jason Phillips; New Offensive Line Coach Phil Loadholt*

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

New wide receivers coach Jason Phillips … 

New offensive line coach Phil Loadholt ...

Spring Practices Begin: What To Watch For

From the Daily Camera … A year ago, in taking over a program that went 1-11 in 2022, Sanders led the Buffs to a 4-8 record (1-8 Pac-12) that included big improvements, but still fell short of his expectations.

To take another step or two, the Buffs have plenty of work to do. It started with offseason conditioning and continues with 15 important practices over the next six weeks.

Although the roster will change a bit after the spring and several starting spots won’t be sorted out until August, this is a big spring for the Coach Prime-led Buffs.

Keep an eye on …

1. Scheme changes: CU has new faces leading the offense and defense. Pat Shurmur is entering his first season as the offensive coordinator (but second season at CU). Robert Livingston is entering his first season as the defensive coordinator and first with the Buffs. Both have long-time roots in the NFL and will bring that knowledge to the Buffs.

2. The trenches: The weakness of the Buffs last season was the offensive and defensive lines. Sanders made it a priority to fix that this offseason. Five experienced offensive linemen were added through the transfer portal, in addition to five-star prep recruit Jordan Seaton joining the herd. Five transfers on the defensive front will be here this spring, as well. These 15 practices are vital for the Buffs solidifying those areas.

3. New weapons: Quarterback Shedeur Sanders has plenty of talented skill players around him. Receivers Jimmy Horn Jr., Travis Hunter and Omarion Miller are back, along with running backs Dylan Edwards, Alton McCaskill IV and Say’veon Wilkerson. But this spring will also include some exciting newcomers, including receivers LaJohntay Wester and Terrell Timmons Jr., tight end Chamon Metayer and freshman running back Micah Welch.

Continue reading story here

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March 14th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Colorado Football Pro Day reset for March 19th

From CUBuffs.com … Due to impending Weather, Colorado Football Pro Day has been delayed until Tuesday, March 19, from 1-4:30 p.m.

Who:                Tajih Alston, Javon Antonio, Jordan Domineck, Derrick McLendon, Juwan Mitchell, Leonard Payne Jr., Kavosiey Smoke, Blake Stenstrom, Rodrick Ward, Noah Young

What:             2024 Colorado Football Pro Day

When:             March 19, 2024, 1:00 p.m.

Where:            Indoor Practice Facility, 2150 Stadium Drive, Boulder, CO 80309 (Event not open to the public)

The University of Colorado football program will host its annual Pro Day on March 19th at the Indoor Practice Facility adjacent to Folsom Field and the Champions Center.  The aforementioned players will participate and be available for interview requests at the conclusion of their workouts.

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March 12th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Coach Prime’s Five Children Featured in People Magazine Article

From People.com … It seems like there’s little Deion Sanders can’t do.

A legendary Hall of Fame football star and former Major League Baseball player, Sanders has also dabbled in rap, appeared on his own reality television show and worked as a long-running sports analyst for the NFL Network. His latest act, however, is launching a successful football coaching career, first at HBCU Jackson State University and, as of December 2022, at Colorado University.

In addition to his packed professional life, Sanders is a father of five. The iconic athlete had two children with his first wife, Carolyn Chambers: a daughter, Deiondra, 31, and a son, Deion Jr., 30. He also had three children with his second wife, Pilar Biggers-Sanders: sons Shilo, 24, and Shedeur, 22, and daughter Shelomi, 20.

As a father, Sanders has been able to combine his love for his children with his love for sports. Both of his daughters were talented athletes in basketball and his three sons played football, with Sanders even coaching Shilo and Shedeur at Jackson State — and now Colorado University.

“Whenever we step on the grass, practice, game, it doesn’t even matter, he’s a whole different man and I’m a whole different person, too,” Shedeur told PEOPLE about balancing the father-son and player-coach relationship with Sanders. “So after the game whenever we walk off the field, outside of white lines, then it’s dad and that. But when we get on the field it’s straight coach.”

In September 2023, Sanders defended the fact that he ranks his children — and sometimes shares those rankings publicly on Instagram.

So, who are Deion Sanders’ five kids? Keep reading to get to know Deiondra, Deion Jr., Shilo, Shedeur and Shelomi Sanders.

Deiondra Sanders, 31

Sanders’ eldest child, daughter Deiondra Sanders, was born on April 17, 1992, to the pro athlete and his first wife, Carolyn Chambers. At the time, Sanders was playing two professional sports — making it to the 1992 World Series with the Atlanta Braves while simultaneously playing football with the Atlanta Falcons. On Oct. 11, 1992, when Deiondra was just 6 months old, Sanders even attempted to play in both an MLB game and an NFL game on the same day, per ESPN.

Growing up as the daughter of a professional athlete was “bittersweet,” Deiondra revealed in an interview on The Reflections Show. “The bitter part is because I was always judged a lot at school,” she shared. “I didn’t have, like, as many friends. I was always traveling with my parents.”

Deiondra continued, “But it was great because, I mean, I probably grew up how every kid would want to, so that was the great part, the sweet part. It was traveling all the time, meeting celebrities, we had chefs.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s been the director of communications for Sc3 Sports Management since June 2019.

“I do like that my dad’s legacy gets me in the door,” she admitted on The Reflections Show. “But I always say, I, myself and my hard work is what keeps me there … people are starting to come up to me and know me for, that I work with athletes.”

Deiondra is currently expecting her first child with R&B musician Jacquees.

Continue reading story here

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March 11th

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU Director of Player Personnel Chandler Dorrell moving on 

From X …

Image

Ten CU Transfers who will have an impact this spring

From the Daily Camera … The roster overhaul hasn’t been as big as it was a year ago – yet – but head coach Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes will once again be counting on several transfers to play key roles if they are to make some noise in their return to the Big 12 Conference this year.

Sanders has said multiple times that he wanted to go out and get experienced starters through the transfer portal this offseason, and he’s certainly done that. Where exactly those transfers fit in and how much of an impact they’ll make remains to be seen, but here’s a look at the 10 transfers that could be the most impactful during the 2024 season.

DL BJ Green (Arizona State), 6-foot-1, 270 pounds, Sr.: One of the better defensive linemen in the Pac-12, he was second-team All-Pac-12 last season after putting up 39 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He also had 11 quarterback hurries. CU needs impact in the trenches on defense and Green is arguably the best pickup of the offseason.

DB Preston Hodge (Liberty), 6-0, 195, Sr.: Given the amount of talent and experience returning to the Buffs’ secondary, it’s unclear where Hodge fits in, but he’ll find his way on the field. He had 48 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and 10 passes defended in 2023, helping Liberty to a 13-0 regular season.

OL Justin Mayers (UTEP), 6-4, 320, Sr.: It’s been well documented how much Sanders wanted to revamp his offensive line. Five experienced FBS starters – and top prep recruit Jordan Seaton – have all joined the herd, but Mayers might be the best transfer of the bunch. He earned All-Conference USA honorable mention the past two seasons, starting all 24 games for the Miners at left guard. He’s allowed just two sacks in the past two seasons.

CB D.J. McKinney (Oklahoma State), 6-0, 174, So.: Like Hodge, it’s tough to project where he’ll fit in, especially with Travis Hunter and Cormani McClain both back at corner. But, like Hodge, it might be tough to keep him off the field. He wasn’t a starter at OSU but played 596 snaps and led Cowboys’ corners in tackles (38) and had five pass breakups in 2023.

Continue reading story here

Ten Buffs will participate in CU Football Pro Day on Thursday

From CUBuffs.com …

Who:                Tajih Alston, Javon Antonio, Jordan Domineck, Derrick McLendon, Juwan Mitchell, Leonard Payne Jr., Kavosiey Smoke, Blake Stenstrom, Rodrick Ward, Noah Young

What:             2024 Colorado Football Pro Day

When:             March 14, 2024, 10:30 a.m.

Where:            Indoor Practice Facility, 2150 Stadium Drive, Boulder, CO 80309 (Event not open to the public)

The University of Colorado football program will host its annual Pro Day on March 14 at the Indoor Practice Facility adjacent to Folsom Field and the Champions Center.  The aforementioned players will participate and be available for interview requests at the conclusion of their workouts.

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March 7th

… CU in a few minutes … 

The Prime Effect: CU applications set a new record (up 20%)

From the Daily Camera … The University of Colorado Boulder has received a record-breaking 68,000 applications for the fall of 2024 so far, about a 20% increase from last year.

As of Wednesday night, CU Boulder extended offers to roughly 51,000 students, including about 14,000 Colorado residents, 35,000 non-residents and 2,600 international students.

“CU Boulder was excited to see so much interest from prospective first-year students throughout the application period,” said Amy Hutton, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. “Our campus has seen a steady increase in applications since 2012, and the increase in applications of new students for the 2024 fall semester is consistent with that trend.”

Jennifer Ziegenfus, assistant vice chancellor of admissions, said this is the most diverse applicant pool CU Boulder’s seen. Applications from Black and African American students are up about 50.5%, Hispanic and Latino applications are up about 25.6% and American Indian and Alaskan Native student applications are up about 15%.

“If you were to look at the entire non-white student population applying to CU Boulder combined we’re at about a 29.3% increase,” Ziegenfus said.

CU Boulder can’t discuss the racial demographics of admitted students due to the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision. The university is still accepting applications and will be able to discuss it once applications close.

Ziegenfus said the hiring of football coach Deion Sanders has been a great contribution and great for anecdotal conversation when speaking to prospective students nationwide and globally.

“No doubt the exposure that CU Boulder has received since Coach Prime was hired has been tremendous,” she said. “It obviously showcases that a number of our national media outlets are attracting applicants from all over the world, but it’s really difficult for us to draw that causational line between Coach Prime and this application increase.”

Continue reading story here

Signing Day moved to early December: “It cleans December up”

From The Athletic … College football’s national signing day, once a celebrated pseudo-holiday on every die-hard fan’s calendar, is changing again.

On Wednesday, the Division I commissioners voted to move the December signing period — first instituted in 2017 — from the middle of the month to the Wednesday before FBS conference championship games.

A summer signing date that would begin in June 2025 was discussed but tabled until this June so it can be presented in conjunction with recruiting calendars, according to a source involved in the discussions.

The February signing period will remain on the first Wednesday of the month.

To get a sense of how the changes affect the recruiting world — and what the impacted people make of them — The Athletic spoke to nearly a dozen stakeholders, including coaches, recruiting and personnel staffers, high school coaches and parents. Several behind-the-scenes staffers were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Why it makes sense

There are mixed reactions about this move, but it was clear something had to be done about the chaotic month of December.

“Let’s just bring this past year up, for example,” North Carolina general manager Patrick Suddes said. “The portal opens up (Dec. 4). You are recruiting your current team to stay. You are recruiting kids out of the portal. Your coaches are on the road, finishing up the signing class for high school. They’re doing all these in-home visits.

“You are having anybody that enters the portal that you’re interested in coming on campus for official visits. Assistant coaches are leaving and taking other jobs, so head coaches are going to interview people for openings on their staff. You are in a bowl game or a championship game or Playoff, and you’re getting ready for all that. All those things — there’s not enough time in the day to really focus on the things that matter.”

College football’s most hectic month is akin to if the NFL simultaneously conducted free agency, the draft and the playoffs. Something had to give, so moving signing day up helps coaches and high school prospects.

“It cleans December up,” Suddes said. “It protects high school kids, being able to lock in a spot, as well, before the portal opens, which I think is huge.”

Another advantage to keeping a December date: Coaches do not have to wait another two months to sign the remainder of their classes.

Continue reading story here

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March 6th

… CU in a few minutes … 

2023 offensive line starter Jack Bailey enters the Transfer Portal

From ESPN … Colorado offensive lineman Jack Bailey has entered the transfer portal as a grad transfer after just one season with the Buffs.

Bailey transferred to Colorado prior to the 2022 season from Kent State and followed former head coach Sean Lewis and offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle.

Lewis and O’Boyle have since left Colorado, with Lewis hired as San Diego State’s new head coach and O’Boyle coaching the offensive line at Northwestern.

Because Bailey is transferring as a graduate, he is able to enter the transfer portal outside of the transfer windows without penalty.

He started all 12 games in 2023 for Colorado and also started all 12 at Kent State in 2022.

Bailey is one of 14 players transferring from Colorado. The staff made it an emphasis this offseason to revamp an offensive line that gave up the second-most sacks of any FBS team.

Coach Deion Sanders and his coaches brought in Houston offensive lineman Tyler Johnson, FIU offensive lineman Phillip Houston, UConn lineman Yakiri Walker, UTEP lineman Justin Mayers, Indiana guard Kahlil Benson, and also signed five-star offensive tackle Jordan Seaton in the most recent recruiting class.

Continue reading story here

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March 5th 

… CU in a few minutes …

Georgia athlete Carson Westbrook joins CU Buffs as preferred walk-on

From coloradobuffaloeswire.com … Colorado football head coach Deion Sanders added even more speed to his 2024 roster on Tuesday as Georgia athlete Carson Westbrook announced his commitment to the Buffs.

Westbrook will come to Boulder as a preferred walk-on, but the Schley County High School senior owns plenty of upside. As a free safety last fall, Westbrook led his team with seven passes defended and finished with six interceptions. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete also had 42 catches for 735 receiving yards and five touchdowns at wide receiver.

According to his X profile, Westbrook was in Fort Collins last April for Colorado State’s spring game and has visited the Colorado School of Mines in Golden multiple times. Georgia, Georgetown, Georgia Southern, Columbia, Brown, Fordham and UMass have also hosted Westbrook.

Continue reading story here

Coach Prime “emotional” about final season coaching his sons

From Sports Illustrated … Deion Sanders has been lucky in life. The Hall-of-Famer has coached his sons through their college experience. But all good things must come to an end and Sanders knows he’s about to watch Shilo and Shedeur move on to the next chapter in their lives.

The Colorado Buffaloes coach told NBA training ace Chris Matthews this year is going to be “emotional” because it’s the last time he’ll coach his sons. “Every game is going to be about passion and love,” Sanders said. “This is going to be the last time I coach my sons.”

There been no secrets about the Sanders Brothers being part of the 2025 NFL Draft class. They’re both looking to build off respective career years in Boulder. Many draft analysts have said Shedeur Sanders would be amongst the top three QBs in this year’s class, but he’s waiting another year and will likely be a top-five pick. The Buffaloes “Grown” passer recently told NFL CMO Tim Ellis to expect him in the league next year. As for Shilo, he told Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank that No. 21 would look good on him.

Matthews took a tour of CU’s Champion Center last week. He expressed interest towards working with Shedeur on his game. The two-time Guinness World Record holder is one of the best trainers for shooting accuracy in basketball and could give Sanders a few tips in the pocket. There’s a reason why he’s called the “Lethal Shooter” by the world’s top athletes.

Read full story here

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March 2nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Video: Celebrating Coach Prime’s Impact on CU Culture

From Colorado Football …

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28 Replies to “Colorado Daily”

  1. It’s hard to figure, am I happy when the offense or the defense does something well against the other? What does that tell us about the team? Is better to see a TD by the offense or a pass break up by the defense?

    I guess we just hope for a glimpse of greatness on both sides of the ball.

  2. “McKinney led all OSU cornerbacks with 38 tackles in 2023, while also posting five pass breakups. His pass coverage grade (70.2) at Pro Football Focus was second among all OSU defensive backs.”

    Pretty good for a player who didn’t start. Add Mckinney to the backfield talent they already have, including safeties and the Buffs have half of the defensive equation looking good.

  3. I thought putting your best cover guy on the opponent’s best receiver has been standard procedure for a long time. Maybe that’s just in the pros. What do I know?

  4. On the surface, Attia looks like a recruit that CU was getting during their poor recruiting years, all potential, no real experience. My/Our hope is that Pat Shurmur’s relationship with Hagen is the difference?

    Many HS recruits are projects, you just hope that some had more experience and playing time than a year and a half or two. But the size and attitude is there, so we’ll see.

    Please impress us Attia by backing up your words: “Are you still searching for an Offensive Lineman who plays with anger and a shocking level of effort? I’m that guy!”

    Rob, help me out here:

    I watched his highlights and:
    1. Most of the time he was bigger and stronger, so he dominated the smaller player and could keep him in front of him or push the player around. Baby Huey style.

    2. I didn’t see any of those players show any technique or skills to get around him, so once they were locked up he could keep them there. Can he do that against a power conference defender?

  5. “College Sports Tomorrow” is a GREAT idea. It provides a permanent avenue/window for the former “Group of Five” to play for the National title (but also be subject to “relegation”), offers a window for Oregon State and Washington State, and takes everything out of the hands of the conferences and committees (the history of college sports does not revolve around the Big Ten and the SEC).

    We will see what happens, but, given that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” ends this week, the idea, at least to me, seems “pretty, pretty good.”

  6. Certanly lil wayne is doing the concert for free right?

    I mean look at all the exposure he has gotten from the Buffs.

    Go Buffs.

    NOTE: THE PRIME CIRCUS CONTINUES TO GROW!

    NOTE 2: CERTAINLY THE NEXT ACT IS WINNING ENOUGH TO GET TO A BOWL GAME!

  7. I guess I shouldn’t look a gift pundidiot in a mouth for a #2 ranking but Harry Lyles. Jr. ? Is he the son of that limp wristed pop star?
    He did mention Travis spent a lot of time on offense.
    My wish is Travis spend 98% of his time on defense. Sneak him back in as a WR with critical time in the game if the rest of the deep WR room is falling off somehow, but Travis will help this team more on defense. Yeah we got a deep CB room too but once again, he is #2 in the country…. or actually number 1. It has to a bit of a chore to go from WR to DB one play later and have to change your focus on the D part of the scheme.

  8. Coming to think that S Mandel is a turd, no (capt obvious)? I think most sports writers (drama queens) want to do anything possible to prompt Coach Prime to run off his mouth…so they have more drama to write about. He no like Deion Sanders and you can tell. I guess neither do the donkeys over at CBS Sports. It shouldn’t get personal with these guys but it’s fairly easy to tell it is. Talk about not being a professional. I wouldn’t read anything the Athletic puts out because it’s mostly tabloid NY Enquirer stuff. Great drama but no real substance or insight.

    1. Agreed. But, read the story by Andy Wasserman in which he takes Deion to task for his lame excuses for why he doesn’t visit recruits. I agree with him that it’s all bullshit and he’s being lazy and arrogant. So many pundits said “can you imagine Deion in the living rooms of top recruits, talking up their moms and dads? Forget it, he’s going to clean up!” He’s not doing it, though. He’s lazily relying mostly on the portal when he could be landing 4 and 5 stars left and right. He claims he doesn’t need to and/or that it would cause resentments with other recruits he doesn’t visit in person. Yeah? Well, that’s the same thing Saban and Harbaugh and all the other coaches have to deal with but it still helps them seal the deal with more recruits and is totally worth it. Get out there and use that charisma and salesmanship to bring in more Jordan Seaton’s and Cormani’s. He needs to get out there and build some classes and show he’s somewhat planning for a future in Boulder and stop just waiting to see who shows up in the portal.

  9. This is fascinating….
    150/1—Arizona
    150/1—Colorado
    200/1—Washington

    So, Jedd Fisch leaves Arizona and somehow they (and the Buffs!) are now better than the Huskies who went to the playoff (?)

    1. I think the Buffs football odds are gradually getting better. Some of it is based on the monies bet. It is interesting that Utah, KState then CU and Arizona are getting the B12 odds over Iowa State, Kansas, Okie State and others. Sort of like they like CU as a Top in the B-12, but the projected win total is terrible, but moving up some. We still have the Spring portal, but I have a feeling by the time college football kicks off CU will be top-40 in odds, still a long-shot. If Vegas likes the Buffs, their win total should creep-up.

      Huskies lost a ton of players both to graduation, NFL and portal, plus new staff. Most transfers-in from Arizona following Fisch. Huskies transfers went all over the place in P65, many to blue-bloods and into SEC, many following DeBoar to Bama. I think part of UW’s projection as to how they project into the B1G, and new QB replacing Penix.

      Actually, Arizona lost more much more in the portal (23), back-filling with just 8 guys mostly from SJS or smaller schools. Then new staff again. However, they kept Fifita and his #1WR, so I think that drives them up a bit. MGM actually has presently has CU over Zona.

      1. Haven’t bet since the late sixties in Boulder, I think our bookie worked for the Smaldone family. He distributed the rocky mountain news to all the route kids and doubled up on his rout by stopping at boarding houses and frats etc, to pick up and payoff bets.
        Anyone out there reading this a renter at Mrs’ Boone’s boarding house?
        Correct me if I’m wrong but a Grant right now on CU would payoff at $7,500. Maybe if I bet I will forget all about it until……

    2. That is interesting Jason. And the house is rarely wrong, right? To me, I look at that and think they value a good QB in their odds making. AZ’s got one. CU’s got one. UW? We’ll find out.

      Go Buffs

  10. Show of hands: How many of you would rather have coach Prime come to your home for an hour, maybe two? OR, would you rather go to Boulder and hang out for a weekend touring CU’s football facilities & school, meeting coaches & potential teammates, eating at the training table with Prime and whomever else; and seeing Boulder with Prime & CO showing you around?

    Sounds like fun.

    Hmmm, tough choice. I think I’ll take trip to Boulder to meet Prime & CO.

    The fact that only seven or so recruits in the class were from HS and the rest were transfers changes things too. And I think we can all agree, that getting players on campus and in Boulder is going to do more to get them to want to come to Boulder to play than going to their town will. Boulder is a special place and we all love it, the kids have to see it to understand, get them there and half of the work is done.

    If NIL wasn’t in play, Prime would land even more top recruits, but some have/will follow the money elsewhere.

    1. I think Prime’s approach to the HS recruits is actually better. They need to see Boulder and the team atmosphere. Even in the glory days, CU sort of recruited itself. Also, I think things have really changed for HS recruiting, except for a few elite teams. NIL sort of complicates things somewhat; although a ton of players still followed their coaches to new gigs and some HS recruits just transfer out. Whether that is for a bigger bag or to compete for playing time, who knows? Kyle Ford back in the portal.

      I think CU will be portal heavy until they have success and a solid depth chart plus a reputation for getting guys to the NFL–that would happen after Prime is here 4-5 years. I am a bit amazed at how most all coaches are leaning on the portal more and more. It seems to me like they can project and slot them a bit better as older players.

  11. ahhh
    coach speak fest.
    All you can do is check out the personality and energy level. Livingston seems to be in a good area there. I really enjoyed hearing he wasn’t on social media.
    I’m hoping Shurmur hadn’t quite woken up from a nap. He looked and sounded uncomfortable in front of the cameras and microphone. His comments on “old school” made me feel uncomfortable. I have to hope and pray after the first couple of games I am in clean underwear with a smile on my face.
    Really liked listening to Seaton. Here is a kid who seems to in touch with the world. He doesnt seem to be wrapped up in the internet either.

    1. Players make plays, so hopefully whatever Schumur schemes up will have little impact on the field. Guys like Hunter and Shedeur know what to do.

  12. Howell is the writer for the general public and very casual fan. You also have to remember the Denver Post is where his check comes from. He prides himself on being neutral which also limits a lot of in depth discussion. For the past many years Boulder is the place for him. He wouldnt last more than one day at Lincoln or any other school that has football for religion.

    1. I actually appreciate his neutrality, there are plenty of homer sports writers that cater to the clicks and it’s nice to see a sports writer try as hard as he does to be somewhat neutral. You’re right he wouldn’t be the guy in Lincoln or the like, but that’s a positive for anyone not wanting to live there.

      Some of his answers during his chats are as you say, limited in a lot of depth, I’ve given him questions, trying to set him up or give him a chance for some good answers back during a period when his chats had less participants and he’d let me down with some basic and short answer.

      But other times he has some insight on something out of the blue or unexpected. I generally like his videos with Adam. But it’s almost better when they were surprised, like the win at TCU to begin the Prime era, they can be light and fun compared to “one of those towns” that your referring to.

  13. I normally appreciate Howell’s articles, but his 10 impacting players one is lacking and I just think the list is a bit too many skilled and not enough trenches players. Who is going to impact the team more, the player that catches the pass or breaks up a pass? Or, the player that gave Shedeur the protection to make the throw? Or the player that rushed their QB into making a throw that the CB could breakup?

    Point being is the skilled players need those linemen to be great to fully shine too. So, which new comer is going to have the most impact?

    For this team, that starts with all of the linemen who transferred, they all need to be on that list for the others to be successful too. And two of the players on the list, while good pickups, are probably not going to be starters going up against two returning fiver star starters; if they do, they truly are special. But if Shedeur is successful and improves his stats and wins, that’s going to be because those new linemen, and a simplified offense gave him that opportunity.

    He has the abilities to do that, but not without help.

    Anyhow, I’m not going to pick apart the whole list, but I do think a list like that starts with the linemen that came in and who are expected to start, and only then can those other players, the ones expected to start shine too.

    It starts with our QB getting better protection and their QB getting harassed… And their run game stopped. Linemen.

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