Top Recruit Cormani McClain Leaves Deion Sanders' Colorado Program After One Season

Highly touted recruit Cormani McClain enters transfer portal after just one season at Colorado under Deion Sanders, highlighting player retention challenges facing the new coach.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Top Recruit Cormani McClain Leaves Deion Sanders' Colorado Program After One Season

Top Recruit Cormani McClain Leaves Deion Sanders' Colorado Program After One Season

Key Takeaways

  • 5-star CB Cormani McClain has entered the transfer portal after 1 season at Colorado
  • McClain struggled with playing time, preparation, and performance under Deion Sanders
  • McClain is the 3rd top recruit to leave Colorado's program this offseason
  • Colorado has seen at least 9 players enter transfer portal since Sanders took over
  • Sanders faces challenges retaining top talent and building a successful program

Cormani McClain, a five-star recruit, has entered the transfer portal after just one tumultuous season with Deion Sanders' Colorado Buffaloes football program. McClain, who was the No. 1 cornerback and the nation's No. 2-ranked recruit in the 2023 class, initially committed to the Miami Hurricanes before flipping to Colorado on signing day to play for Sanders.

Despite being one of the highest-paid players at Colorado from an NIL perspective, McClain struggled to see significant playing time as a freshman. He appeared in only nine games, starting four, and recorded 13 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. Sanders publicly criticized McClain's preparation and performance, at one point telling him to "study and prepare" in order to earn more playing time.

McClain's departure comes as a surprise, given his high recruiting ranking and the expectations surrounding his potential impact at Colorado. He joins two other top-rated Buffs recruits, Darrell Scott and Marcus Houston, in leaving the program through the transfer portal. McClain is now viewed as a four-star portal prospect and will have three years of eligibility remaining at his next school.

Why this matters: McClain's exit is the latest in a series of player departures from the Colorado program since Deion Sanders took over as head coach. The Buffaloes have seen at least nine other players enter the transfer portal this offseason, including key contributors on both offense and defense. Sanders and his staff will likely look to the transfer portal to find replacements and rebuild the roster for the upcoming season.

McClain's short-lived stint at Colorado underscores the challenges that come with high-profile recruiting and the importance of player development and retention. As Sanders continues to overhaul the Buffaloes' program, he will need to find ways to keep top talent on campus and create a culture that fosters success both on and off the field. With spring practice underway, all eyes will be on how Colorado addresses these departures and prepares for the 2024 season.