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#pounditSunday, July 21, 2024

Ex-Colorado player has harsh assessment of Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders in a cowboy hat

Apr 22, 2023; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders during the first half of the spring game at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A former Colorado player who was pushed to transfer by Deion Sanders had a very harsh recollection of his experience.

Safety Xavier Smith was one of the numerous Colorado players that Sanders urged to transfer after the new coach inherited them in 2023. Smith had hoped to stay and impress Sanders, but came away disillusioned, especially after Sanders did not even grant him a one-on-one meeting when being told to transfer.

Instead, Smith said Sanders had defensive coordinator Charles Kelly bring him and fellow safety Oakie Salave’a in together.

“We sat on the sofa, and he’s talking to us, but he’s not even looking at us,” Smith said, via Max Olson of The Athletic. “I’m looking Coach Kelly dead in his eyes. (Sanders) said he felt like I should hit the portal. He didn’t want me to waste a year thinking I could earn a spot. I was actually getting mad, like tears coming to my eyes. Because, bro, you never even tried to get to know me.

“He was destroying guys’ confidence and belief in themselves. The way he did it, it could’ve been done with a little more compassion.”

The lengthy piece includes interviews with other players Sanders told to transfer, who generally had mixed feelings about the process. At times, Sanders comes off as harsh, but some players had praise for him.

Sanders has been open about his use of the transfer portal to both bolster his team and get rid of dead weight. That has allowed him to bring in a lot of talent, but has attracted criticism, including from some former players. The coach would likely say he is simply being honest with players, but those players might not necessarily agree.

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