One year after Colorado went 1-11 with what many regarded as the worst roster in Power 5 college football, new head coach Deion Sanders has made Boulder the epicenter of the sports world.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer has the Buffaloes off to a 2-0 start in his first season at the helm, injecting new life into the program as “Coach Prime” after dramatically overhauling the team’s personnel via the transfer portal in the offseason.

And while Sanders has already upgraded the Buffaloes at several skill positions, such as with his son Shedeur Sanders at quarterback, two-way phenom Travis Hunter at wide receiver and cornerback, and speedy true freshman Dylan Edwards at running back, he has publicly acknowledged he still has work to do among the linemen. But those reinforcements may soon be on the way, as Sanders said Colorado has seen a massive spike in interest among recruits.

“We’re receiving so many calls at this point right now it is absurd, just inquiring about what we do and how we do what we do and desiring to come on an unofficial or official visit,” Sanders told reporters this week.

Sanders has not only boosted Colorado’s image on the field but off it as well. Merchandise sales have increased roughly 525% from 2021. September is already the second-biggest month ever on the school store’s website. The biggest was in December when Sanders first joined Colorado from Jackson State.

What’s more, Colorado’s following on its main athletics account on Instagram has increased by 59% since Sept. 1. There have been 29.3 million total impressions on Facebook between the school’s main and football accounts.

And star power is flocking to Folsom Field to catch a glimpse of Sanders leading Colorado back to prominence. Hall of Fame receivers Terrell Owens and Michael Irvin made their way to the field last weekend. Irvin, one of the new co-hosts of “Undisputed“, has also interviewed his good friend Sanders on the show with Skip Bayless in each of the past two weeks. Even the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan showed up in Boulder last week.

This Saturday, FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff” will be back in Boulder for a second straight weekend as Colorado hosts Colorado State in the “Rocky Mountain Showdown.”

Sanders and his overhauled roster have transformed the Buffaloes into one of the hottest tickets around. The Buffs have sold out four games — including Colorado State — with another (Oregon State, Nov. 4) close to being a full house. Should the Arizona game on Nov. 11 reach capacity, it would mark the first time in school history that all six home games were sellouts.

“The atmosphere was astonishing, impeccable. It’s grand,” Sanders said of the 53,241 fans at Folsom to see a 36-14 win over longtime rival Nebraska for his home debut last weekend. “First time ever, truly, experiencing that at the college level. Tremendous to see all the celebs … and alumni. It was tremendous. And seeing the kids take the field at the conclusion of the game was unbelievable.”

Yet his team is taking it all in stride — even if it seems almost surreal at times. Shedeur warmed up with Owens on the sideline last weekend.

“They all have been level-headed, down-to-earth people,” receiver Xavier Weaver said when asked about having NFL greats hanging around. “You think: ‘Oh, he’s in the Hall of Fame. He thinks he’s better.’ But he’s just like us. He’s coming to teach us, coach us up, and stuff like that. You can ask any question you want. So it’s a blessing.”

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The spotlight doesn’t seem too big for the team, either. Then again, they’re used to being followed by cameras for TV and YouTube content.

“I’ve been training and practicing for moments like these pretty much my whole life,” said Weaver, who has 16 catches for 288 yards this season. “Now that we’re on the stage that I want to be on, it’s starting to come to light.”

Coach Prime joins “Undisputed” to talk Colorado’s win vs. Nebraska

The mentality of the Buffaloes remains the same, he said, no matter if they’re a big underdog (in a 45-42 win at TCU) or a slight favorite (Nebraska) or this week as heavy favorites.

“Every game we’re going to have a big target on our back, no matter who we play,” Weaver said. “It could be Alabama we’ve got to play — we’ve got to come out strong.

“It’s everybody’s Super Bowl when they play CU. They want to get this ‘W’ because they know the stage they’re going to be on as well.”

And is Deion Sanders able to take a moment and soak all of this in? Is he enjoying the moment?

“Santa don’t have time. He’s got to deliver the gifts. He ain’t got time to enjoy his cookies. That’s all he gets,” he said. “I’ve got to keep it going. I’ve got to keep this machine going and make sure we stay on the right path and make sure we’re locked in, and we’re focused on the right things.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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