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Top CB Cormani McClain signs with Colorado on National Signing Day 2023, ending whirlwind recruitment

Five-star cornerback Cormani McClain officially signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday during National Signing Day 2023, capping off a dramatic recruitment that ends with first-year coach Deion Sanders. 

McClain was committed to Miami for nearly two months before the early signing period, but Colorado made a strong push after hiring Sanders from Jackson State. Sanders has brought major excitement into the program and has a special knack for luring star defensive backs. He landed the top cornerback in the nation for the second straight season after attracting Travis Hunter to Jackson State in 2022. Hunter transferred to Colorado with Sanders. 

With a rating of .9921 in the 247Sports Composite, McClain immediately becomes one of Colorado’s top three signees of all time, and the top defender ever. He is considered the No. 14 overall player in the class by 247Sports and ranked No. 13 in the 247Sports Composite. Only running backs Darrell Scott and Marcus Houston rated higher as high school recruits before joining Colorado. 

Colorado is coming off a 1-11 season, and McClain should have a chance at early playing time as Sanders’ tenure begins.

News of a potential change in plans for McClain initially surfaced on the first day of the early signing period in December when his mother shared on social media that her son would not be signing with Miami as expected. Shortly after, Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports director of recruiting, revealed that Colorado had contacted McClain.

Here is the scouting report on McClain from 247Sports Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins:

A new-age cornerback prospect that has a chance to be a difference maker at football’s highest levels given his rare blend of size, length and speed. Started prep career off playing primarily wide receiver before being thrust into action on the defensive side of the ball. Excelled right away as a perimeter defender against top Sunshine State competition picking off nine passes as a sophomore and 10 more as a junior. Still very raw from a technical standpoint, but is athletic enough to carry and cover most vertical routes. Leggy transitions aren’t exactly ideal, but has a knack for putting himself in position to make a play at the catch point and can quickly close gaps with an elite burst.

Seeing Sanders have significant early success on the recruiting trail is no surprise, especially with a prospect like McClain who plays the position Sanders specialized in during his Hall of Fame career. Like Sanders, McClain also starred as an offensive weapon during his high school career.

With McClain in the fold, Colorado officially has the No. 29 high school recruiting class in the nation, its best class since 2008. The Buffaloes also have a top-five transfer class headlined by Hunter and quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son. 

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