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Is Deion Sanders Changing the Game of College Football?
Demonstrating What It's Like to "Look Good, Play Good, Pay Good"
One of the most hyped up team in the NCAA Football Tournament right now is definitely the Colorado Buffalos. And in the center of their attention is coach Deion Sanders (Former-NFL DB). However, it’s not just his unique style that brings the swag, but it’s his game plan and coaching that has brought a once 1-11 program to a 2-0 start. Today we’ll be looking at how coach Sanders has changed the Colorado Football program, and quite possibly the college football landscape.
The Colorado Buffalos are off to a rolling start in their season. While many have scrutinized coach Sander’s viral actions and game plans that changed the entire roster and culture of the team, not many have actually criticized their ‘Game’ as they start their season with 2 wins, hoping for another this Saturday.
This is a big news within the NCAA, as the Colorado Buffalos were not the most relevant team, especially with their 1-11 record from the previous season as coach Sanders has described as a ‘mess’.
Coming off a 27-6 record as a coach at Jackson State, Deion Sanders officially took the coaching role of Colorado and immediately made big changes. He started off by bringing in 51 new transfer players, replacing the original roster. Of these players included No.1 Overall recruit Travis Hunter (DB/WR) and Starting QB Shedeur Sanders who also happens to be son of coach Sanders.
Top 10 Colorado Players to Watch For in 2023
1.Travis Hunter (DB/WR): Prev. | Jackson State
2.Shedeur Sanders (QB): Prev. | Jackson State
3.Alton McCaskill IV (RB): Prev. | Houston
4.Xavier Weaver (WR): Prev. | South Florida
5.Trevor Woods (S): Prev. | Colorado
6.Myles Slusher (S): Prev. | Arkansas
7.Cormani McClain (DB): Class of 2023
8.Derrick McLendon (Edge): Prev. | Florida State
9.Demouy Kennedy (LB): Prev. | Alabama
10.Tyler Brown (G): Prev. | Jackson State
Look Good, Play Good, Pay Good
So how is coach Sanders actually making these roster moves?
Deion Sanders, often referred to as "Prime Time" during his playing days, has already solidified his place in the football history books due to his exploits on the field. But now, he's making waves off the field as a visionary coach who understands the contemporary athlete in ways that few others do. The advent of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights for student-athletes has redefined the college football landscape, and Sanders has been at the forefront of embracing this change.
NIL, in essence, allows college athletes to monetize their personal brand. In a world dominated by social media and branding, this is a golden opportunity for these young athletes. And who better to guide them than Sanders, a master of branding himself? By leveraging NIL rights, Coach Sanders has made Jackson State and now Colorado, unlikely hotspots for football talent.
More than just encouraging his athletes to use their NIL rights, Sanders has fostered an environment where personal brand building is integral to the program's DNA. The inclusion of social media handles on practice jerseys isn't just a novelty; it's a message. Sanders recognizes that the modern-day athlete has a brand to nurture, and he wants them to proudly own and promote that brand.
Top Colorado NIL Values:
1.Shedeur Sanders (QB): $4.1 Million (1.5 Million Social Media Followers)
2.Travis Hunter (WR/CB): $1.8 Million (1.5 Million Social Media Followers)
3.Shilo Sanders (S): $546K (874K Social Media Followers)
4.Cormani McClain (DB): $432K (108K Social Media Followers)
5.Cody Williams (S): $408K (3K Social Media Followers)
But Sanders's vision doesn't stop with branding. He sees the potential pitfalls and challenges of NIL rights. Recognizing that these young athletes may be inexperienced in managing their newfound earning potentials, he's made it a priority to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge to navigate the business side of their brand. Financial literacy, understanding contracts, and recognizing the value of one's image are essential components of Sanders’s holistic approach to coaching.
Yet, the criticisms of Sanders's approach are not just limited to his use of the transfer portal or his experimental roster changes. Many old-school football purists have raised eyebrows at his unconventional coaching methods, claiming that college football is not just about branding or making money. It's about building character, discipline, and molding young athletes into responsible adults. They argue that the excessive focus on NIL and branding might divert the attention of young athletes from the core values of teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.
Additionally, some critics argue that Sanders's celebrity status and his unconventional methods might overshadow the genuine talents and efforts of the players. They believe that every press conference, game, or event that emphasizes Sanders's persona could potentially take away the spotlight from where it truly belongs: the athletes.
Furthermore, his high-profile coaching style, fueled by a significant social media presence, has sometimes been labeled as a distraction. Detractors feel that the constant media circus surrounding Sanders could potentially create unnecessary pressure for the players, leading them to under-perform on the field.
Sanders's bold and unapologetic style has certainly ruffled feathers in the traditionally conservative college football community. While there's no denying his impact on the sport and his dedication to ensuring his players make the most of their opportunities, it remains to be seen whether his groundbreaking methods will stand the test of time. If they succeed, Sanders might just redefine the role of a college football coach. If they don't, he could end up being a cautionary tale of what happens when one tries to merge the worlds of entertainment and traditional sports too closely. Regardless of the outcome, Sanders's tenure as a college football coach will undoubtedly remain a topic of debate and discussion for years to come.
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