The Colorado Buffaloes were able to flip one of the top defensive recruits in the nation before the start of the 2023 season as Deion Sanders descended upon Boulder.
Cormani McClain was a five-star prospect coming out of high school in Florida. He initially committed to Miami but decommitted and landed with the Buffaloes as Sanders took over and got settled. However, as Colorado deals with the absence of two-way star Travis Hunter, it may have been seen as an opportunity for the freshman to get some playing time, except he is listed as third on the depth chart.
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Lakeland cornerback Cormani McClain throws up the "U" sign after helping the Dreadnaughts beat Venice in the Class 4S state championship game at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec. 17, 2022. (Adam Lichtenstein/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Sanders was asked about McClain’s playing time and what he had to do to earn more. McClain has two total tackles – one for a loss – in two appearances so far this season. Colorado is 3-1.
Coach Prime's reply was blunt.
"Study and prepare. Be on time for meetings, show up to meetings. Understand what we’re doing as a scheme. Want to play this game. Desire to play this game. Desire to be the best in this game, at practice, in film room and on your own," Sanders told reporters as Colorado prepares to take on USC.
DEION SANDERS' SON HOSPITALIZED FOR 'PEEING BLOOD' AFTER COLORADO'S BRUTAL LOSS TO OREGON
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deon Sanders walks on the field during their game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 23, 2023 in Eugene, Oregon. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
"You do know, I check film time for each player upon the week. Thursday, I need film time from the whole staff so I can see who’s been preparing. And that’s just not about Cormani. That’s about a multitude of things.
"So if I don’t see that you would be a fool to put somebody out there and they’re unprepared."
Colorado’s defense will have a tough task trying to defend Caleb Williams and the USC offense. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has 1,200 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions through the Trojans’ first four games of the season.
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders walks on the field for pre-game during a PAC-12 conference football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon Ducks on Sept. 23, 2023 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. (Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The Buffaloes allowed 42 points to Oregon last week and 35 points to Colorado State the week before.
Ryan Gaydos is a senior editor for Fox News Digital.