What’s Colorado's contingency plan as soon as Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter & Co. depart?

by Christina S. Brown
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The primary seen fissure in Colorado’s 2023 season did not include the loss to USC or Oregon — two groups that have been anticipated to beat the Buffaloes. It got here when Stanford broad out Elic Ayomanor torched Travis Hunter and the Colorado secondary with 13 catches, 294 receiving yards — second all-time in Pac-12 historical past — and three touchdowns in a recreation the place CU blew a 29-0 halftime result in lose 46-43 at house.

The second fissure confirmed itself after three straight losses to ranked Pac-12 opponents, as Washington State and Utah mixed to beat Colorado 79-31 on the highway. Colorado’s season ended on Nov. 25, 2023. 

On Nov. 26, 2023, four-star QB Antwaan Hill decommitted from this system. The following day, three-star QB Danny O’Neill decommitted as effectively. Since then, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders hasn’t moved with a lot urgency find a premier participant to step in to comply with his son at quarterback.

Meaning, heading into 12 months 2 at Colorado, Prime has not earned the signature of a highschool quarterback as sitting head coach since he first “flipped” his son, Shedeur Sanders, from Florida Atlantic to Jackson State.

The plan is solely to “wait and see.” However “wait and see” ended with a 4-8 document final season, partly as a result of “wait and see” hasn’t constructed depth at necessary positions, notably QB, offensive line and defensive position.

So, what occurs after Shedeur heads to the NFL in 2025? In the interim, Ryan Staub is the backup and essentially the most skilled quarterback after his son, a projected first-round choose in subsequent 12 months’s NFL Draft. In his solely begin final 12 months, Staub accomplished 17 of 24 cross makes an attempt for 195 yards and a TD in a 23-17 loss to Utah.

Behind Staub is Destin Wade, a former four-star prospect who transferred from Kentucky. Wade was the 418th-ranked participant within the 2022 recruiting class, based on 247Sports Composite.

Prime has mentioned he is snug with Staub as CU’s backup and hasn’t been aggressive within the portal forward of the 2024 season. Final season, Staub was pressured to begin after Sanders suffered a fractured vertebrae following CU’s 56-14 blowout loss to a 5-7 Washington State group.

By 11 video games final season, Sanders was sacked 52 instances. He was sacked 4 instances towards Washington State, a group that ranked 106th in complete sacks amongst FBS applications earlier than kicking off towards the Buffaloes.

Colorado’s offensive line, as has been documented, was woeful final 12 months and performed a big half within the Buffaloes ending 1-7 in convention play and 4-8 total – Prime’s first shedding season as a head coach.

In 2024, Prime’s philosophy for roster recruitment and administration hasn’t modified since he first started his collegiate teaching profession at Jackson State in September 2020. He needs the make-up of his roster to stay 40-40-20 — 40% transfers, 40% grad transfers and 20% incoming highschool recruits. Within the 2024 recruiting cycle, he is seen 5 freshmen enroll, and 39 gamers added as transfers to his program.

What’s putting about 12 months 2 for Prime is how few veteran gamers from final 12 months’s group he is been ready —or needed —to maintain. Vital contributors and creating gamers like operating again Dylan Edwards and cornerbacks Jahquez Robinson, Cormani McClain and Omarion Cooper have elected to switch.

Robinson, who transferred to Colorado from Alabama, claims to have entered the portal as a grad switch with two years of eligibility left. He suits the profile of not simply the sort of participant Prime would usually need, however the sort of participant a Energy 4 basic supervisor informed me foots the invoice for him too.

“I might like to know why he’d let a child with that profile depart with no struggle.”

Expectations for Ohio State & Colorado this upcoming 2024 season

Expectations for Ohio State & Colorado this upcoming 2024 season

As Prime continues to run a playbook that labored for him at JSU, will probably be fascinating to see what the NFL thinks of gamers not named Travis Hunter or Shedeur Sanders subsequent 12 months who performed at Colorado. However will probably be much more fascinating to see what Colorado soccer appears to be like like after Shedeur and Shilo Sanders depart.

Twelve of the 16 Massive 12 groups have each proper to consider they’ve an opportunity to win at the very least 9 video games, play within the Massive 12 title recreation, and make the 12-team Faculty Soccer Playoff. Colorado would not but appear like a kind of 12 groups. 

With a non-conference schedule that options FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, a Nebraska group that expects to be stout defensively, and a Colorado State group that Sanders wanted to orchestrate a 98-yard, two-minute drive to beat, the Buffs will not have the luxurious of beginning gradual.

Six of the ultimate seven Massive 12 opponents on Colorado’s 2024 schedule performed in bowl video games final 12 months. Baylor, Central Florida and Cincinnati will not be seeking to lay down both.

These video games are 2024 issues, and there will not be a whole lot of persistence amongst followers if Colorado places collectively one other 4-8 season. Eventually, profitable at a excessive stage would be the demand. It is as much as Prime to satisfy these expectations — or have a contingency plan if he would not.

Some would possibly say Prime would not want a backup plan. He would not want choices as a result of he is made his alternative. 

However burning the ships solely works whenever you’ve discovered land. Burning the ships is just not an choice whenever you’re nonetheless misplaced at sea.

RJ Younger is a nationwide faculty soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The Quantity One Faculty Soccer Present.” Observe him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Younger Present” on YouTube.

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