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Top247 QB Tavien St. Clair enjoys SEC swing to Alabama and LSU

May 24, 2023

BOULDER, Colo.— Who's been talked about more in college football than Deion Sanders?

Whether it's getting the nation's top recruit Travis Hunter to flip on signing day to Jackson State, his decision to accept the Colorado job or the massive roster overhaul that has taken place since the spring game (51 scholarship players total, 44 alone after the spring game) Sanders has given sports media plenty to write about while raising eyebrows across college football.

"We'll see how it works out but that, to me, looks bad on college football coaches across the country," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi told 247Sports' Brandon Marcello in May, a quote that went viral. "The reflection is on one guy right now but when you look at it overall — those kids that have moms and dads and brothers and sisters and goals in life — I don't know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out."

Sanders believes his true true goal behind his roster makeover has been lost in translation. He addressed that and much more this week in a wide-ranging Q&A with 247Sports this week on campus, with Sanders and Colorado providing behind-the-scenes access to one of its summer football camps.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This interview has been edited for clarity.

247Sports: What have you seen so far from your new team?

Sanders: "Want, determination, effort, camaraderie. It is a collection of men — some wanting a second chance. And some of them are just trying to get to the next level. But all of them share a desperate want to get where they want to go as quickly as possible."

247Sports: What do you say to people like Pat Narduzzi who have been critical of your roster overhaul?

Sanders: "What was his situation when he came to Pitt? He had a different situation than me. He is not mad at me, he is mad at the situation in football now that allowed his best player to leave a year ago. He's not mad at me, he's using me to shoot bullets at another coach who he has an issue with. I don't know who he is; if he walked in here right now I wouldn't know him."

247Sports: There was a lot of smoke surrounding Travis Hunter when he entered the portal: Would he follow you to Colorado or land somewhere else? He obviously enrolled at Colorado. What are your expectations for him this season?

Sanders: "People offered Travis Hunter a bag. About $1.5 million to try to lure him and buy him out of the transfer portal. But Travis is not the kind of guy that can be bought. He isn't built like that. Travis is a relational young man that is built on relationships and stability. And that's what he wanted and desired. That is why he decided to ride and stay with us. I cannot wait until they see what he is capable of doing in these next couple of years. Because he will be a top-5 or top-3 pick after his junior year. But the sky's the limit, he is going to play both ways and he is a vital part of the offense and the defense, and he wants that.

247Sports: How do you manage him playing both ways?

Sanders: "We don't have to manage that. His game is his game. It's nothing that we manage. Travis is bored when he is not on the field, Travis is not intertwined with things when he is not on the field. Travis likes to be in the action, that's who he is."

247Sports: As I watched the workouts this week, one of the things that has stood out to me is the vocal leadership of Shedeur Sanders. You’ve been coaching him from youth, to high school and now college football. How has Shedeur grown as a leader this spring in the transition to Colorado?

Sanders: "It's funny telling you this because his brother is sitting here filming this, but [Shedeur's] nickname is "Grown." Because he has always been truly mature for his age at different stages of his life that he has encountered and different obstacles he has overcome. He is rock-steady. Grown doesn't get flustered. He is not a 'ra-ra' guy. He's not a 'I’m gonna talk about what he's going to do" [type of person]. It's not too many things in life that will get him up or get him down. He is like a baseball player. Baseball players are rock-steady. Football players are up because they have to practice for six days and play one. Baseball players have to do it every day. That is his character. And I love the expectation that he has placed on himself. My expectation of him is far less than his expectations he places on himself. Because not only does he have tremendous expectations, but he is a Sanders. And he knows what that means."

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247Sports: A lot of roster changes have been made.

Sanders: "Necessary changes. Say: 'Necessary.'

247Sports: How do you like your team going into the fall as opposed to what you had in the spring?

Sanders: "Apples and Oranges. You can't compare the two. You are talking about a situation in which we inherited a team that was 1-11. And everyone knows there are going to be some changes. I don't understand how you would think that the coaching staff is the only thing that deserved a change. Now when you rid yourself of the entire coaching staff, you think you are going to keep all the kids? That doesn't make sense to me. And that just doesn't make sense whatsoever when the previous staff was responsible for securing those kids. That's not the way that this game is played with us."

247Sports: From a recruiting standpoint, if a young man wants to play for Colorado, what does he need to have?

Sanders: "First he needs to have his grades correct and needs to be eligible through our compliance department. Then, he needs to be tough, smart, fast, disciplined and with character. And he has to understand that this coaching staff is old school. Not old fools, but old school. A lot of our principles and the way we attack the game comes from way back when. And we are still that way because that way is the way and it has not failed us yet. So it's a tremendous expectation, but we go hard and we play fast. And you have to love this thing. We don't want you to be 'in like' with it. We want you to be 'in love' with it."

RELATED: 5 things Carl Reed learned from Colorado's spring game

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