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Deion Sanders named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of Year

Jeffery A. Salter/Sports Illustrated

Deion Sanders was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. The 56-year-old NFL legend transformed the Colorado Buffaloes from a struggling 1-11 season to a team that sold out every home game in 2023.

The Buffaloes jumped out to a surprising 3-0 start before losing to Oregon on September 23.

10 million viewers tuned in, making the game the most-watched of the season through the first 11 weeks. Colorado had five of the 13 most-watched games of the season.

According to Sports Illustrated, it wasn’t just the celebrities who flocked to the games early on, it was the “Prime Effect” that transformed a city.

Chris Gardner/Getty Images

“I think he’s the best thing that’s happened to Boulder since I’ve lived here, by far,” said Annett James, president of the Boulder County branch of the NAACP. “The stuff I’ve been doing over 40 years, Deion comes in and does in six months.”

James described attending a campus function with a friend at a bar before a home game.

“We walked in, and there’s like 30 Black people. My friend said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never seen that many Black people at a bar in Boulder!’ We started talking to people, and there were some who said they came here from Atlanta for Prime. I think the Black people who live here also have more of a sense of community – not that we didn’t have community before, but we feel free to be more above ground.”

Colorado’s season ended with a disappointing 23-17 loss to Utah on Saturday.

High school three-star running back Jamarice Wilder decommited from the Buffaloes on Monday, according to On3 Recruits.

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Sanders also lost his top recruit, quarterback Antwann Hill Jr., class of 2025. And 2024 QB Danny O’Neil abandoned Sanders and the Buffaloes in the past week.

Sanders called on the NCAA to force high school recruits to stick to their commitments.

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“A kid ain’t even faithful to his girlfriend,” Sanders said. “You think [he’s] gonna be faithful to a school? Come on man. That’s an emotional thing.”




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