Everything is changing with Deion Sanders. He’s come into a moribund football program and reset everything — the culture, the expectations and, most of all, the roster. He has already brought in some 60 players and says as many as 16 starters on offense and defense haven’t even arrived on campus yet.
What’s required for Deion’s project is that many, if not most, of the 2022 Colorado Buffaloes have been shown the door. He stated from the get-go that there would be massive turnover as he brings in impact transfers and five-star recruits. The culture is such that if you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re not a fit for the program. More cutthroat is that there appears to be no room for the less talented players that were here before the Prime era.
We’re seeing right now an exodus of outgoing transfers, more than 20 players have put their names into the portal after Deion held individual meetings following the Spring Game. As far as football is concerned, this exodus is a difficult but healthy step.
There is no downside flipping a roster that went 1-11 last season, keeping only the most talented and most committed players and pushing out everyone else. Even if the team never clicks, or if there’s tension that arises from apparent preferential treatment of some players, the on-field product can only get better and more exciting.
It certainly tests us as fans — are we rooting for the players, or for the laundry? — but this is the cost of a program reset that’s as drastic as anything college football has seen in years.
Gone are starters Montana Lemonious-Craig and Jordyn Tyson, as well as Ty Robinson, Chase Sowell and Grant Page, meaning the entire WR room will be new faces in 2023. Only three scholarship defensive linemen are on the roster following the departures of Jalen Sami, a three-year starter, Aaron Austin and Devin Grant. Locker room culture setters like Deion Smith and Mister Williams, who were recruited over to say the least. The list goes on.
As such, it’s worth taking a look at who remains from the previous iteration of the Buffs.
Nigel Bethel, CB, Sr. Drew Carter, QB, So.
- Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, OL, Jr.
Luke Eckardt, OL, So.
- Carter Edwards, OL, Fr.
- Caleb Fauria, TE, So.
- Marvin Ham II, LB, Jr. — earned #25
- Anthony Hankerson, RB, So.
- Isaac Hurtado, LB, Jr. — earned #29
- Joshka Gustav, OLB, Jr.
- Eoghan Kerry, LB, So.
- Charlite Offerdahl, RB, So. — non-scholarship
- Erik Olsen, TE, So.
- Louis Passarello, TE, So. — earned #89
Jake Wiley, OL, Jr.
- Van Wells, OL, So.
- Trevor Woods, S, Jr. — earned #43
As you can see, of the 16 returning scholarship players, half of them are offensive linemen or offensive line, where you can never have enough big bodies. Almost everyone is an underclassman and the exceptions — Bethal, Ham, Hurtado and Gustav — will be depth pieces at positions that value experience. Only two players — Wells and Woods — are expected to be starters, and even then they’re going to have to fight for their starting spots in fall camp.