Star Colorado football transfer left indelible mark on sport, still longshot Heisman candidate

Coach Prime's closest star Colorado football transfer left an indelible mark on the sport, but one analyst still has him as a longshot Heisman candidate.

Oregon State v Colorado
Oregon State v Colorado / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Marca labeled Shedeur Sanders' debut season with Colorado football as one that left an indelible mark on the sport -- but still acknowledged that Coach Prime's youngest son still faces essentially insurmountable odds in the 2024 Heisman race.

"While the Heisman may not be in the cards, Shedeur Sanders left an indelible mark on the college football landscape during his debut season with the Buffaloes," one Marca staff writer wrote. "Posting a 3,200-yard season with 27 touchdowns and just three interceptions, he showcased his prowess as a gunslinger. Despite a challenging 1-8 conference finish for the Buffs, Sanders' NFL Draft stock remains on the rise."

Mel Kiper's strong endorsement of Shedeur's potential was also referenced by the Madrid-based publication.

"NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper isn't deterred by Heisman odds, boldly declaring Sanders as 'guaranteed' to be the No. 1 overall pick if he returns for his final collegiate season. Sanders has indeed announced his return, looking to build upon his impressive start and address concerns, particularly issues along the offensive line."

Analyst: Shedeur Sanders could've been Heisman candidate if at Oregon instead of Colorado football

Had Shedeur been in Bo Nix's shoes under center at Oregon, BuffZone’s Brian Howell feels the Colorado quarterback would've been a Heisman candidate just like the Alabama native was during the 2023 season.

“Looking at Bo Nix’s stats and this jumped out at me: Nix was sacked 10 times in his 2 seasons combined at Oregon,” Howell prefaced before saying, “Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders was sacked 11 times in November (in only 2 1/2 games). Shedeur’s stats would be insane if he had the protection Nix got at Oregon.”

Shedeur being a Heisman candidate in 2024 would be completely dependent on overperforming in a Big 12 that got tougher through improvements to schools like UCF and Texas Tech, and even Nebraska out of conference. It's possible, but Marca's strategy of downplaying his odds is preferable.

Getting to six wins should be the only goal in 2024 for a Buffs program that's going to take time to get off the ground after years of under-recruitment.