Cormani McClain, the No. 1 ranked cornerback and No. 12 overall player in the 2023 college football recruiting class, flipped to Deion Sanders and Colorado after initially pledging to Miami.
The bombshell move comes after weeks of speculation that McClain could join Sanders and the Buffaloes dating back to the early signing period and once again highlights Sanders’ burgeoning reputation as a recruiter.
Here’s what you need to know about the move, what it means for McClain and for Colorado coming into the 2023 college football season.
Cormani McClain flips to Colorado: What it all means
Need to know: McClain hails from Lakeland, Fla., stands at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, and is a consensus five-star recruit, ranking as the No. 1 cornerback and the No. 3 player in Florida, according to the 247Sports Composite. The service also rates McClain as the No. 12 overall players
Another win for Prime: McClain’s decision further establishes Deion Sanders’ reputation on the recruiting trail not long after he pulled off a similar coup by getting No. 1 2022 cornerback Travis Hunter to flip from Florida State to Jackson State when Sanders was coach there. Whatever Sanders is saying and doing, it clearly works on some of the nation’s most elite players. No unsigned recruit appears to be safe for any other school if Sanders is interested.
A former Miami pledge: McClain had initially committed to hometown Miami over Alabama and Florida back in October, but notably didn’t sign his National Letter of Intent on the Early Signing Day, leading to speculation that he may have had second thoughts, with Deion and Colorado emerging immediately as the motivation behind McClain thinking again about his commitment.
Colorado then in contact: Those rumors were confirmed after recruiting insiders reported that Colorado was in official contact with the player about joining its program instead.
Miami coaches paid a visit: Additional reporting revealed that Hurricanes coaches went to see McClain in person about joining their program recently, but that the player wasn’t home. He was in Colorado on a visit.
What adding Cormani McClain means for Colorado
By adding McClain in addition to Travis Hunter, it’s safe to say the Buffaloes’ secondary pass defense will improve dramatically this coming season.
The numbers weren’t great: Colorado fielded one of the worst defenses in college football last fall, surrendering an average of 44.5 points per game and more than seven total yards per play against FBS opposition.
Who’s coming in: CU’s most experienced incoming defender is cornerback Nikko Reed, who started in 13 games, and Jackson State transfer Tayvion Beasley started two games as a true freshman.
Myles Slusher comes in at safety from Arkansas after starting 15 games for the Razorbacks the past three years, totaling 93 stops, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, and seven pass breakups.
Cormani McClain highlights
Cormani McClain scouting report
247Sports recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins heralds McClain as 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.”
McClain boasts elite recovery speed on the perimeter, intercepting nine passes as a sophomore and 10 as a junior at Lakeland.
Analysts agree that McClain still has progress to make from a technical perspective, but at this stage in his career has enough raw athleticism to help him transition to the Division I level.
McClain “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,” according to Ivins.