The text messages came flying in from all over the country on April 24, a chorus of coaches and recruiters seeking clarity.
What’s going on at Colorado?
First-year coach Deion Sanders and his staff were in the middle of a roster dump the likes of which college football had never seen in the modern recruiting era. Eighteen scholarship players entered the NCAA transfer portal in one day. Thirty by the end of the week.
Colorado’s efforts to dramatically flip its roster have generated national attention, but the people in college football watching the proceedings most closely are those whose day-to-day roles revolve around roster management.
“What we know is all eyes across all of college football are gonna be on Colorado,” one Big 12 director of player personnel said. “It will impact the future of college football markedly for the next generation, one way or another.”
The Athletic spoke with a dozen Power 5 head coaches and recruiting staff members about this unprecedented flip, the risks behind what Colorado is attempting and what it will take for this to succeed. Recruiting staffers spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Several of them recently went through rebuilds and fully understand that Year 1 is the time to make these changes, especially for a team coming off a 1-11 season that was outscored 521-165. But as they watch this new strategy unfold, many wonder whether Colorado’s staff went too far in pushing out as many players as they did, clearing room for as many as 70 newcomers.