‘That’s Not the Way It’s Meant to Be’: Pat Narduzzi Sounds Off on Deion Sanders’ Recruiting Approach
If any college football coach in the country has had the courage to vocalize his thoughts on the transfer portal and NIL deals, it’s Pat Narduzzi.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when 247Sports asked Narduzzi at the ACC spring meetings last week about the way new Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has gone about completely revamping the Buffaloes’ roster since arriving in early December, he didn’t hold back.
“That’s not the way it’s meant to be,” Narduzzi told 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello. “That’s not what the rule intended to be. It was not to overhaul your roster. We’ll see how it works out but that, to me, looks bad on college football coaches across the country. The reflection is on one guy right now but when you look at it overall — those kids that have moms and dads and brothers and sisters and goals in life — I don’t know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out.”
Sanders was hired at Colorado on Dec. 3, and in the nearly six months since, 70 players have left the program — including 44 since the spring game in April. And he’s added 48 transfers to the roster from the portal, which includes his son Shadeur and former No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter from Jackson State.
The roster overhaul has been made possible largely due to a new NCAA rule that allows first-year coaches to remove players from the roster as long as their scholarships are honored. So, like Sanders said he would upon arriving, he gutted the roster to ensure he was able to add the players he handpicked from Jackson State and other programs around the country.
It’s that sort of roster pruning from Sanders and the Colorado coaching staff that Narduzzi took issue with.
“I grew up in a profession that you can’t tell a guy that he has to leave based on athletic ability,” Narduzzi said. “I think he’ll be shocked that he probably had some pretty good football players in that room. When I got to Pitt back in 2015, I didn’t kick anybody off. Zero. Those are your guys. When you become a head coach you inherit that team and you coach that team. If someone wants to leave, that’s great. You don’t kick them out. I disagree with that whole process. That’s not why I got in the game.”
Sanders’ unconventional approach to building the Colorado roster has certainly drawn ruffled feathers across the college football landscape, and especially in the media, but not many coaches have actually been as direct as Narduzzi.
Narduzzi does have a history of speaking his mind, however, as he did — and has continued to do — when Jordan Addison left Pitt for USC in the transfer portal last year.
Tell ’em like it is, Coach Duzz!