football Edit

Top prospects talk about being recruited by Coach Prime

Dylan Edwards
Dylan Edwards (

MORE UA GAME: Stock Report on offensive players | Stock Report on defensive players | Gorney Awards | Best OL vs DL battles | Team Speed takeaways Day 3 | Team Phantom takeaways Day 3 | Predictions for in-game commitments | Texas signees, targets talk Arch Manning | Cormani McClain is hot topic | Stock boosters | Rankings questions popping up after two days | Three-Point Stance from Day 2 | Signees share which programs came in second | Signees predict semifinal results | Team Phantom takeaways from Day 1 | Team Speed takeaways from Day 1 | Three-Point Stance from Day 1 | Rumor Mill | Interview videos with more than two dozen prospects | Survey - Is the transfer portal affecting recruiting? | Respect My Decision podcast


TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Message board | Transfer ranking | Transfer Tracker

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Sitting at the Under Armour Next All-America Game media day inside the Marriott World Center conference room with sunglasses on, Johntay Cook had a story about new Colorado coach Deion Sanders.

The high four-star receiver has been committed to Texas since June but ever since taking the job in Boulder, Sanders has been looking for some big fish.

“Funny story with Deion, coach (Andre’) Hart is like my uncle,” Cook said. “He was his DC at Jackson State and they got my mom on the phone the night they announced and was like, ‘How locked in is he?’ And my mom was like, ('No, no') and so it was really shut down from there.”

Colorado did not get Cook, but that effort was a sign that the new Buffaloes staff means business. They flipped high four-star all-purpose back Dylan Edwards from Notre Dame and used longstanding relationships to do it.

As a kid in the Dallas area, Edwards played for Sanders in youth leagues and that bond never was broken. First a commit at Kansas State and then Notre Dame, the intention was never to bounce around, but when Sanders landed the Colorado gig Edwards’ ears perked right up.

After a visit to Boulder, he flipped.

“We’re coming,” Edwards said. “You see what he’s adding, the players that want to compete and want to win.

“It’s exciting. It’s something new and fresh and I can be myself because I know the coaches that knew me when I didn’t have any of this when I first started, so I can’t wait.”

High three-star Adam Hopkins is also here at the Under Armour Game, and he committed to Colorado sight unseen.

The Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central standout loved the idea of playing for Sanders but he also new other staff members and hopes to mirror the turnaround at his high school in college.

“People are looking at it based off Coach Prime, but really there were three other coaches I built relationships with way before Coach Prime got to Colorado,” Hopkins said. “It’s not just that. It’s that I feel good and more comfortable with them. I feel like I know them.

“Rebuild the program, and I want to be a part of that. My high school years, it was never good throughout all the years and now last year we rebuilt the program. We went 13-1. For us to go from 5 to 6 to 13-1, it’s a good thing to be in. I just want to be in the presence of that happening.

“He’s the same way, a two-way guy. If I have any questions, he can give me anything I need and I just know I can get to be a better player like that.”

Colorado hired Richard Young’s high school coach, James Chaney, and there was speculation the high four-star running back would join his Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh mentor in Boulder, but it did not happen.

Still, Young sees the pathway Sanders is trying to utilize to quickly bolster Colorado’s roster and he’s interested in seeing it happen – but from afar.

“Just like he changed Jackson State around him, he’s going to change this around,” Young said. “I know it’s like two different conferences, but if I know one thing about Deion he keeps his word when he said, ‘We’re coming.’ He’s right about changing the program and it’s a good opportunity for him.

“Everybody thought on signing day I was going to Colorado with Deion Sanders but my heart was at Bama so I stuck with my word.”

So did Daylen Austin. On signing day, Austin flipped from LSU to Oregon, something that had been in the works for a little while. But before that happened the four-star cornerback from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly said he got a call from Prime.

“I talked to him a little bit, actually the morning I committed he ended up calling me,” Austin said. “I had to play it cool that I wasn’t committing anywhere.

“It’s Coach Prime. A lot of people know him as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - DBs to play in the NFL. A lot of kids want to learn from him, and I definitely took that into consideration and made sure I chopped it up with him a little bit.

“Once you learn the game it’s still the game, it’s football. He knows probably more than any other college football coach. Just being able to learn different techniques from other people, that would play a big role.”

So can Sanders win there? He’s talked a good game so far and has put some pieces together - a solid group of recruits, getting former No. 1 Travis Hunter to follow him from Jackson State - but this is a team that was 1-11 last season. Sixteen of 17 losing seasons. A Pac-12 that’s pretty strong at the top.

Can Prime do it?

“I don’t think instantly,” Cook said. “The competition level at HBCU and Colorado is tremendously different just because of the variety of kids that are able to go there. It’s Deion, though. Kids want to go play for Deion. He’s going to get some good recruits. I feel like Shedeur (Sanders) is going to go off. But win the Pac-12? It might take him a couple years for that.”

Not sure that’s Deion’s timeline.