Deion Sanders' second spring at Colorado: 'We're gonna win. I know that. You know that.'

The son of Deion Sanders could have been the second quarterback selected in the NFL draft next month if he wanted to be and "should be" the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in 2025.

At least that’s the opinion of Deion Sanders, the father. And he could be right.

But what about Shedeur Sanders, his quarterback son at Colorado? How does he see it as he starts his second set of spring practices this month in Boulder?

Both father and son spoke at a news conference Wednesday on campus where the topics included Shedeur’s previously broken back, his new offensive line, what Shedeur does in his spare time and even how to wear socks. Sanders, 56, also made another big statement about his second year as coach of the Colorado football team before responding to a USA TODAY Sports story about how Sanders doesn’t visit recruits on the road.

"We’re gonna win," said Sanders, whose team finished 4-8 in his first season last year. "I know that. You know that. We’re gonna win."

Colorado Buffaloes football coach Deion Sanders cheers at a game against the USC Trojans at the CU Events Center.
Colorado Buffaloes football coach Deion Sanders cheers at a game against the USC Trojans at the CU Events Center.

He even sort of predicted his team would earn a bowl game appearance this year, saying the amount of games his team would play in 2024 "is not gonna be just 12."

Shedeur’s back with a healed back

The Buffaloes began their second spring practice season under Sanders Monday – a set of 15 practices that will conclude with the annual spring game in Boulder April 27.  Shedeur said he’s "back to full, 110%" after being battered last season, when his offensive line gave up the second-most quarterback sacks in the nation (56). By the end of the season, Shedeur had suffered leg injuries and a fractured back.

"I feel stronger," he said. "I’m healed. I’m rested up."

To provide him with better protection in the fall, the Buffaloes are bringing in the nation’s top offensive tackle recruit, Jordan Seaton, as well as five incoming transfers: Kahlil Benson (from Indiana), Tyler Johnson (Houston), Justin Mayers (Texas-El Paso), Yakiri Walker (Connecticut) and Phillip Houston (Florida International).

"From watching last year, that was kind of horrific," Seaton said. "… Sometimes you’ve got to adapt to what you’re given. But this year is gonna be a good one."

The primary logic behind the optimism is that the Buffs corrected their biggest weakness last year (the offensive line) to help one of their biggest stars (Shedeur) after they lost five games by seven points or fewer.

Will Shedeur be that much better?

Both Shedeur and his father say yes.

If Shedeur had opted to turn pro this year instead of staying for his final year of college, Deion Sanders said, "He probably would have been the second quarterback off the board" in the draft next month.

"I want to see him take it to another level," said Sanders, the father.

Shedeur ranked eighth nationally in completion percentage last year (69.3%) despite the beatings he took.

Why did he even come back and risk more injury?

"I’m trying to be the first quarterback off the board," Shedeur said. "That’s really what it is."

Not only does he have better blockers this time, he’s bonded with them, too. He and Seaton went to Miami together recently and like to spend time playing the video game Grand Theft Auto, often for three or four hours a day.

"We literally do that every single day," Seaton said.

OK, but what about the Sanders sock policy?

Seaton brought this up when discussing being new to the Colorado football program under "Coach Prime." It can be about the little things, Seaton said, such as "tucked-in shirts" and "making sure we don’t got little wrinkles in our socks."

"He likes our socks just straight, dang near touching your knees, you know?" Seaton said.

Punctuality is key, too, he said, because an 8 a.m. meeting may start at 7:42.

"So just being there before Coach Prime gets in, that’s a good habit to carry on," Seaton said. "Because when you get in the league (NFL) and you miss those meetings, now you’ve got fines."

The new coaches on Sanders’ staff

Sanders has two new full-time coordinators to lead his offense and defense in their return to the Big 12 Conference: former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur and Robert Livingston, who previously was the defensive backs coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Shedeur predicts the offense will be "explosive" under Shurmur, who called plays for the Buffs in the final four games of the season last year, all losses. Shurmur noted Wednesday that Shedeur was only healthy for one of those games after taking over play-calling duties from previous offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, who then left to become head coach at San Diego State.

"He understands me as a person," Shedeur said of Shurmur. "I feel like that’s the main thing."

Livingston replaces Charles Kelly, who left to take a similar job at Auburn after coaching a defense that finished 127th out of 130 teams in yards allowed per game (453.3) in 2023.

Livingston’s defense at CU also has been fortified with six defensive linemen from the transfer portal and the addition of Oklahoma State transfer cornerback D.J. McKinney, who has three years of eligibility remaining.

Two-way star Travis Hunter also returns at cornerback in what is expected to be his final year at Colorado before moving on to the NFL.

Livingston called Hunter a "unicorn" and told reporters what questions he had before he took the job at CU.

"Why me? Why am I this lucky?" Livingston recalled.

He explained his philosophy on defense.

"I don’t have one," he said. "I have non-negotiables. We’ll be the hardest playing team in the country. That’s how I see it. That’s how we need to be. We’ll be great communicators. And we’ll have a tribe mentality, meaning there’s no job too big, no job too small."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders aims to be No. 1 and says, 'I'm healed.'