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Deion Sanders explanation for not making in-home, high school visits was a Prime Time concoction of hubris and excuses

On3 imageby:Jesse Simonton03/23/24


Ever since Deion Sanders became a college football head coach, first at Jackson State and now Colorado, ‘Coach Prime’ has considered himself a trailblazer who walks to the beat of his own drum. 

Sanders does things his way because he can, and sometimes has to. 

At least that’s the story he continues to sell, anyway.  

As On3’s Phillip Dukes told Andy Staples, “It’s always been the Deion Show — from the highlights, to the high-steps.”

Sometimes it’s fun as hell. Other times, the crowing is candor only in the eyes of Deion.

During the Buffs’ introductory spring practice press conference last week, the former two-sport star offered up a fantastical defense for his peculiar approach to high school recruiting.

Unprompted, Sanders took aim at a recent USA Today story that noted he had made zero off-campus recruiting visits during his two winter contact periods at Colorado. In comparison, the report detailed how Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh had made 145 off-campus visits with recruits and Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian had made 128.

I’ve previously made mention of Sanders being completely disinterested in traditional recruiting when he essentially ignored the 2024 cycle.

“Let me address something else I need to address. I don’t know who did it, I don’t know if they’re in here. If you are, you can raise your hand like we were in nursery (school) and say, ‘Here,'” Sanders said before unveiling a defense full of delusion.

“There was an article that came out that said I don’t go on visits.

“My approach is totally different than many coaches. I’m a businessman, as well so I try to save our university money every darn chance I get. So, for me to go, let’s say I go to Florida and I’m visiting whatever school — 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. See, other coaches can do that, but I can’t. I can’t.”

So he’s not visiting prospects (either in-home or on high school campuses) because he wants to save Colorado some money? Or because Deion Sanders, the celebrity, is too famous for Deion Sanders, the coach, to do the typical job?

Which is it?

He then added, “I’ve pretty much done a personal survey. I really and truly, in all my heart, believe that parents don’t want me at their house. 

“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.”

This is not some revolutionary recruiting strategy. Sanders is simply admitting that he is above the fray from doing the typical rigors of the job in assembling a roster because he can.

Sanders absolutely has one of the top Q-ratings in all of college football in 2024 — especially in a Nick Saban-less sport — and he’s probably correct in his assessment that he could upset some local high school coaches in Florida if he takes the Deion Show to one school but not another.

But plenty of other very famous coaches have managed to navigate such waters.

Before retiring, Nick Saban won eight national championships and went in-home with all 26 Alabama commits in the Tide’s No. 2 recruiting class in 2024. Kirby Smart visited 100 high schools a week after Georgia won its first national title. Matt Rhule went on a barnstorming tour across Texas when he got the Baylor and Nebraska jobs. 

Coaches visit schools and go in-home with prospects because it’s part of the relationship-building with high school coaches, parents and players. If Smart skips one major high school in Atlanta in favor over another, he’d hear about it, too. 

The last few coaches at Texas got run out of town because they didn’t connect well with the high school coaches in the Longhorn State. 

Why Sanders’ recruiting strategy doesn’t add up

In the last three years, Sanders has signed three 5-star prospects — Travis Hunter, Cormani McClain and Jordan Seaton — without ever visiting any of them. On the one hand, that’s a flex. Florida State sent its entire staff to watch Hunter in the state championship, and Deion was chilling at the crib. Not that long after Hunter became the biggest flip in modern recruiting history, spurning the Seminoles for Jackson State.

Yet this process isn’t a sustainable strategy to stack blue-chip prospects within a class. The Buffs signed just seven high school prospects in 2024, and have zero commitments thus far in 2025. Sanders could recruit at a higher clip. Prospects are obviously drawn to his charisma and resume, but clearly, he doesn’t want to.

Sanders continued his recruiting defense by saying Colorado mostly targets transfer portal players anyway, and those recruitments don’t require home visits. 

“We target, mostly, guys that are in the portal. When do you make visits to portal guys homes? Anybody do that? Do they do that? Anybody? Have you guys heard of that? I think when a guy is in his 20s and he has one or two more shots, he don’t give a darn about the picture, he don’t give a darn about the parade that you want to take him on. He wants to know, okay. How you gonna use me? How can you help me get to the league and what am I gonna get paid? That’s it. That’s the world we live in now,” he said. 

“I have never heard one guy say I chose this college because this coach came by my crib. Have you? It’s different now. The parents, I love them and I want to show them Boulder. I want them to see this and how beautiful it is and why I’m so eager and how much I love this city and this state and this team. I want them to see that because, guess what, that’s where the kid is coming. The kid can come here. Going there is just a showcase for me. That’s just blowing money. That’s blowing a bag.”

Here too is where Sanders missteps. Just this cycle, Lane Kiffin visited multiple transfer targets for Ole Miss. Lincoln Riley flew across the country to meet with Kansas State quarterback Will Howard to recruit him to USC. 

That’s two examples right there of very important portal visits, so even if Sanders wants to build the Buffs almost exclusively from the portal, making a trip or two to see a major transfer target wouldn’t hurt, either.

The most interesting takeaway from all this is why Deion Sanders suddenly decided to address his unorthodox recruiting style? People in college football have been openly discussing his strange approach for months, yet he hadn’t made a peep. 

So why say something now?

That he decided to suddenly address it last week — again, unprompted simply following the latest article on the subject — suggests that Sanders is a bit sensitive to the notion he’s not recruiting like he could be.

“I can’t do the things other coaches can do,” Sanders concluded.  

“You know why? I’m Coach Prime. And I didn’t stutter when I said it.”