Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Alabama’s Nick Saban has ‘tremendous amount of respect’ for Deion Sanders amid Colorado’s historic turnaround

Colorado’s 3-0 start has been the top on-field story for college football this fall. The Buffaloes, in their first season under Deion Sanders, are the fourth team in FBS history to start 3-0 after winning one game the season before. If Colorado, ranked No. 19 in the latest AP Top 25, beats No. 10 Oregon in Week 4, it will eclipse its preseason win total of 3.5 before the end of the September. 

That kind of turnaround has caught the eye of Alabama’s Nick Saban, who complimented Sanders during his weekly press conference. Saban, who has appeared in a national run of commercials with Sanders for Aflac, said “Coach Prime” shows all the hallmarks of being leader in college football. 

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Deion Sanders,” Saban said, per 247Sports. “First, he’s a great person and he’s done a great job of marketing the program to create a lot of national interest. I see their team playing well on the field. They play with discipline, they do a good job of executing, they’ve been able to score points, playing decent on defense. All of those things, to me, are indicators he’s a really good coach.

“I’ve always thought that, and he’s always been successful, whether it was Jackson State, high school or now at Colorado,” Saban continued. “His teams have always been well-coached.”

Sanders remains one of the game’s biggest stories after leading the Buffaloes to an unlikely undefeated start featuring wins over TCU and Nebraska. Sanders has a 30-6 record overall between Jackson State and Colorado. 

Things haven’t always been publicly cordial between the two coaches, however. When No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter signed with Sanders at Jackson State in 2022, Saban claimed that Hunter was paid $1 million to sign with the Tigers. 

“We have a rule right now that said you cannot use name, image and likeness to entice a player to come to your school,” Saban said in 2022. “Hell, read about it in the paper. I mean, Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school. It was in the paper and they bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it.”

Sanders responded by calling the allegation a lie. However, the hatchet appears to be buried between the two; Sanders was highly complimentary of Saban during an appearance on “60 Minutes.”

“I’ll tell you this, I love and adore and I respect and every time I do a commercial Coach Saban, it’s a gift,” Sanders said. “Just sitting in his presence and hearing him and throwing something else out there so I can hear his viewpoint on it because he’s forgotten more things than I may ever accomplish.” 

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