Analyst: Colorado football portal departures impactful on paper, despite Deion Sanders downplaying them

Sep 30, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Cormani McClain (1) breaks up a
Sep 30, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Cormani McClain (1) breaks up a / Chet Strange-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports' Will Backus believes that the recent Colorado football transfer portal departures are, on paper, impactful for the Buffs despite Deion Sanders downplaying them to reporters in the aftermath.

"On paper, at least, some of Colorado's departures thus far seem impactful," Backus prefaced before saying, "Former five-star cornerback Cormani McClain, the No. 1 corner prospect in the Class of 2023, entered the portal after one year with the Buffaloes. So did former starting right tackle Savion Washington, who was a bright spot on Colorado's ineffective offensive line last season."

Sanders claimed that the media was making a big deal out of nothing, overdramatizing the losses and spreading rumors of CU's demise that are most certainly exaggerated.

"We're good," Sanders said. "I trust the recruiting team. I trust our coaches. Please have some faith in me. We're good. We're alright. What happens with the portal man, and what you guys need to know, a lot of people are fighting for backups. When a guy's a starter and he transfers, you got to really think about that. I mean, is he really that? I don't know how many starters have really transferred around the country. I think we got some coming in for visits pretty soon, maybe even this weekend. But we can attract those type of players. I don't think we're losing those type of players. And if we do, we're good. We're good. We're making a big deal out of nothing."

Deion Sanders is right about Colorado football transfer portal losses

Cormani McClain transferring does hurt because it seemed as though things were getting better for him at CU after not seeing the field for the first month of the 2023 season due to missing team meetings and not giving his all at practice.

As for any 2023 offensive lineman? Not so much. Sanders explicitly told them all that they'd be replaced, and a clean slate is probably best after Shedeur Sanders was incapacitated for the Buffs' season finale.

Alton McCaskill's transfer was in the same boat as McClain's: the potential was there but the execution was minimal thus far.

All in all, the Buffs lost pieces from a four-win team that weren't named Shedeur or Travis Hunter. Colorado will survive.