Deion Sanders and the Colorado football program are shaking up the game of college football.
Deion Sanders and the Colorado football program are shaking up the game of college football.
Grace Callahan/Canva/Achona Online

Deion Sanders shakes up the game of college football

With his signature swagger, gold sunglasses, and unbeaten record, “Coach Prime” Deion Sanders is rocking NCAA football and making waves amongst the traditionally conservative ranks of powerhouse college football coaches.  

A native of Fort Myers, Florida, Sanders attended North Fort Myers High School, where he was a star football, basketball, and baseball player and earned the nickname “Prime Time” after scoring 37 points in a single basketball game.  Sanders elected to stay in his home state after graduating from North Fort Myers High School and attended Florida State University, where his multisport dominance continued as he led the Seminoles baseball team to the College World Series in 1987 and the Seminoles football team to the Sugar Bowl in 1988, and somehow found time to also earn All-America honors as a member of the Seminoles track and field team.  In 1989, Sanders was drafted by the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and also signed on to play MLB baseball with the New York Yankees.  Sanders went on to win two Super Bowl championships in 1994 and 1996 and played in the MLB World Series in 1992, ultimately establishing himself as one of the most versatile and recognizable athletes of all time with his explosive speed and electrifying style of play.

After retiring as a professional athlete, Sanders followed another one of his passions: coaching. Sanders followed his newfound passion for coaching to Jackson State University, a leading historically black college and university (HBCU) in Jackson, Mississippi, where according to Sanders “God called him” to elevate not only Jackson State’s college football program but all HBCU college football programs. Sanders changed how the Jackson State Tigers players viewed the football game, leading them to back-to-back conference championships in 2021 and 2022. Sanders was also an outspoken critic of the NFL for its failure to include more HBCU football players in the NFL draft.

Sanders took over as the head coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes football team for the 2023 season and immediately went to work building a championship culture – a difficult task given that the team only won one game in the prior season.  Sanders wasn’t intimidated by the challenge and said, “…God wouldn’t relocate me to something that was successful…He had to find the most disappointing and the most difficult task…And this is what it is. And I love that.” Sanders replaced the entire coaching staff, encouraged existing players to enter the transfer portal to make room for new players he was bringing into the program, and implemented an “old school” training regimen focused on building toughness and a determination to win in his players.  Sander’s approach found early success in the first weeks of the 2023 season when the Colorado Buffaloes upset a TCU football team that was the runner-up in last year’s college football championship game and later dispatched the Nebraska Cornhuskers. And true to his commitment to elevating HBCU players, one of the Buffaloes star players during the first two weeks of the 2023 season was Travis Hunter, who played for Sanders at Jackson State and transferred to Colorado for the 2023 season.


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On September 16, 2023, Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes played its interstate rival, Colorado State University Rams.  Sanders led his team to a thrilling 43-35 victory in double overtime in the single most streamed football game and, with over 9.3 million viewers, was the most watched late prime time game in ESPN history.  Before the “Rocky Mountain Showdown,” the opposing Colorado State University coach criticized Sanders for wearing his signature gold sunglasses during interviews. In true “Prime Time” fashion, Sanders sold over a million pairs of his signature gold “Prime” sunglasses after beating Colorado State and silencing his critic. 

Deion Sanders is not only one of the most versatile athletes the country has ever seen, but his passion for the game of football and elevating the sport has made him one of the most influential coaches college football has ever seen. By taking the role of head coach of Colorado’s football program just last year, he has made the football program relevant for the first time in years, if not decades. Colorado has sold out every home game for the 2023 season for the first time in program history. With an unbroken winning streak so far into the season, the spectacle of Colorado’s football program is building attention from fans nationwide. 

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