Colorado football QB recruiting target sends strong message on Deion Sanders

Colorado v Utah
Colorado v Utah / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

2026 Colorado football recruiting target Jaden O'Neal is a big fan of Deion Sanders and the Buffs' coaching staff, which has 12 former NFL players, with 15 Pro Bowl appearances and four Super Bowl championships between them.

“Colorado is going amazing,” O’Neal told On3. “One big takeaway is Coach Deion is an old school coach who takes much pride in character and integrity with the players he recruits. I’m loving the coach staff and how experienced they are having NFL experience truly draws my eye to this school."

O'Neal revealed in a post on X that Sanders and Pat Shurmur were his primary recruiters who offered him.

"After a great workout and conversation, I'm blessed to receive an offer from the University of Colorado," O'Neal wrote (h/t BuffsBeat). "Huge thanks to Deion Sanders and Coach Pat Shurmur for blessing me with this opportunity to further my education."

Deion Sanders' NFL presence on Colorado footall coaching staff doing heavy lifting

Coach Prime has been found out to not go on any recruiting visits. He's not saving the school money either with those funds, but that's a story for another day.

In the absence of Sanders on the road, his coaching staff is doing the heavy lifting; relying on the NFL pedigree of most of his underlings to attract talent to Boulder. That has produced solid results via the transfer portal but thus far lacks the big fish from the high school ranks.

It's fair to question if this is going to be a viable long-term strategy. Sanders has benefitted from having his kids and Travis Hunter for two years at Jackson State (one with Hunter) and now two years in Boulder, but it's unclear what the team will look like in 2025 and beyond.

O'Neal likes the NFL presence on CU's staff, but is it enough to land his commitment? He's being crystal-balled to Oklahoma, though 2026 is a long time from now and plenty can change between now and then.

Ditto with Sanders at Colorado, no matter how many times he claims he wants to stay in Boulder for five years to a decade.