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Kyle Whittingham praises Deion Sanders: 'He's put Colorado football back on the map'

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison07/10/24


The Big 12 Media Days kicked off on Tuesday. With that, the four corner schools from the Pac-12 were welcomed to the conference, including Utah, led by Kyle Whittingham, and Colorado, led by Deion Sanders.

It was there that Whittingham praised Sanders. In particular, he praised him for the job he’s done making the Colorado program relevant again.

“First of all, Coach Sanders has done a great job infusing excitement into that program and talent,” Kyle Whittingham said. “His own sons are terrific players. We didn’t see Shedeur [Sanders], but he’s — obviously, watching the tape, he’s a terrific talent.”

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“Essentially he’s put Colorado football back on the map. Year two, I’m sure they’re looking for progress. They started off very strong last year. Injuries caught up to them and didn’t end the way they wanted, I’m sure. But he’s definitely rejuvenated things in Boulder.”

Coming in from the Pac-12 together, Whittingham is going to have a better read on Sanders and Colorado than most sitting Big 12 teams. The two played a head-to-head game last season, with Utah winning 23-17.

The only other Big 12 teams that Sanders has played during his first season at Colorado were TCU, Arizona State, and Arizona. The Buffaloes got wins over the Horned Frogs and the Sun Devils but lost to the Wildcats.

“Last year, that game, yeah, I think we were playing — well, I don’t think. We were playing our fifth-string quarterback, and they were on their second or third-string quarterback. So really not probably indicative of what the game could have been like. We were able to come away with a win,” Whittingham said.

“But we got to go to Boulder this year. It’s a tough place to play. And last time we were in Boulder there wasn’t many people in the stands, and now it’s full every week. So that will be an environment that we have not experienced there.”

Deion Sanders came to Colorado ahead of the 2023 season from Jackson State. Immediately, there was more attention on the Buffaloes than just about anyone else, which is particularly impressive given that Colorado was coming off a 1-11 season.

For Kyle Whittingham, the move to the Big 12 signals the fourth conference he’ll lead Utah in during his time there. Meanwhile, Colorado is returning to the Big 12 after more than a decade away. In both cases, the coaches are looking to make that transition go as easily as possible and compete at the top of the conference in 2024.