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CU lands another top-ranked recruit in Cormani McClain, adding to stellar class under Deion Sanders

Call it the Deion effect. With the arrival of "Coach Prime" comes CU's best recruiting class since 2008 – including the No. 3 transfer class in the country.
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Posted at 8:15 AM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 16:48:17-05

BOULDER, Colo. — New head coach Deion Sanders is loading up on talent in his first recruiting period at the helm of Colorado football.

Jan. 19 update: CU lands another top recruit

The good news keeps pouring in for Colorado football and new head coach Deion Sanders.

News broke Thursday that the Buffs landed Cormani McClain, the No. 1 ranked cornerback in the 2023 class who flipped his commitment to Miami to instead come to Boulder.

Sanders was understandably hyped about the big recruiting splash, which came just days after McClain visited Boulder.

The addition of McClain gives Colorado the No. 1 player at the cornerback position in both the 2022 and 2023 classes. Star 2022 cornerback Travis Hunter had already announced his transfer from Jackson State to follow Sanders to Boulder.

With Thursday's news, CU's 2023 recruiting class was bumped up to No. 19 in the country, according to recruiting database 247 Sports.

Original story:

Even in a cold Colorado December, a migration to Boulder took place.

It wasn’t of the avian variety, either. It was a flock of high-profile inbound recruits, signing up to be Buffaloes under a new coaching staff led by Deion Sanders.

CU's top-20 class is not too shabby for a squad coming off of an abysmal 1-11 season and that hasn’t won a bowl game since 2004.

"He's pulling in kids that wouldn't come here otherwise," said Jeff Hauser, who covers CU recruiting for the Ralphie Report, an SB Nation site. "He's pulling in the four- and five-star recruits. He's bringing in these kids who are going to make an impact immediately."

Breaking down CU’s recruiting boon under Deion Sanders

Even more remarkable is the class of players coming to CU via the transfer portal. 247 Sports says the Buffs boast the No. 3 transfer class in the country.

CU has a whopping 23 transfer commitments – second nationally only to Arizona State’s 25 – including a 5-star recruit, three 4-star recruits and eight 3-star players.

The good news kept coming in the days before the transfer portal closed, as the Buffs reportedly landed two graduate transfer edge rushers from high-profile programs: Taylor Upshaw from Michigan and Jordan Domineck from Arkansas. Both have one year of eligibility left.

The No. 22-ranked class is CU’s best since 2008, when the Buffs landed 247 Sports’s eighth-best class in the nation. For perspective, CU’s recruiting class was ranked 58th in 2022 and 65th the year before.

"They've struggled for the greater part of a decade ever since they joined the Pac-12," Hauser said. "This has been a struggle for them. But not only in recruiting, but competing on a national scale.

"We're talking [around] 2004, 2005 was the last time [...] the Buffs have really been relevant on a national scale. And bringing Deion Sanders into the fold puts them head and shoulders above any anyone else in the Pac-12 right now."

Even after a 10-win year in 2016, the Buffs managed just the 34th-ranked recruiting class.

Deion Sanders, Shedeur Sanders
Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders, left, and his son quarterback Shedeur Sanders sing the school's alma mater after the Celebration Bowl NCAA college football game nst North Carolina Central, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr. )

The aforementioned 5-star making his way to elevation is two-way player Travis Hunter, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the nation who follows Sanders from Jackson State. Hunter played both cornerback and wide receiver at Jackson State – not unlike his new head coach, who played on offense, defense and special teams in his decorated NFL career.

Hauser says CU will most likely see the biggest impact from Hunter in the defensive secondary.

"He can he can track the ball either direction, and having that knowledge as a wide receiver [puts him] head and shoulders above anyone else," he said. "He's two steps ahead instead of two steps behind, but also he's just a pure athlete."

"I mean, CU has never had an athlete like Travis Hunter, bar none."
Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son and a former 4-star recruit, also followed his father to Boulder and is likely to be the Buffaloes’ starting quarterback in 2023. Hauser tells us it's not just his gene pool that would earn him the job, either.

"[Shedeur] may be Deion Sanders's son, but he can flat out play," he said. "If he was at any other school under any other coach, he would still be putting up the same numbers that he was."

"This is a rare prospect coming in."

Six other JSU transfers are Colorado-bound: 3-star cornerback Tayvion Beasley, 3-star linebacker Jeremiah Brown, 3-star safety Cam’ron Silmon, offensive lineman Tyler Brown and kicker Alejandro Mata.

Follow Jeff Hauser on Twitter @radiohauser