Former Colorado Buffaloes safety Xavier Smith shared some insight on his departure from the program as Deion Sanders came into Boulder and took over as head coach.

Smith took issue with the way Sanders dealt with the players who were around after Karl Dorrell was fired and Mike Sanders wasn’t retained. Sanders came over from Jackson State in a high-profile move that changed the attention around the football program.


Deion Sanders at a UFL game

University of Colorado Coach Deion Sanders talks with people on the field before  a UFL game between the Birmingham Stallions and the Arlington Renegades on March 30, 2024 at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

But Smith said the way Sanders handled things could’ve been better.

“He was destroying guys’ confidence and belief in themselves,” Smith told The Athletic in a story published Monday. “The way he did it, it could’ve been done with a little more compassion.”

Smith, who entered the 2022 season trying to get healthy from a broken leg he suffered in his senior season and then a hamstring injury during the season, told the outlet he was optimistic going into a meeting with Sanders, thinking that Coach Prime would work with the younger players. He was only a redshirt freshman at the time.

He said he was brought into the office with safety Oakie Salave’a and heard from defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and Sanders.


Deion Sanders and Shedeur Sanders

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders speaks with Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) between plays during the home opener game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO.  (Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He told The Athletic that Sanders told him he should “probably hit the portal” and didn’t want him to “waste a year thinking I could earn a spot.”

“I was actually getting mad, like tears coming to my eyes. Because, bro, you never even tried to get to know me,” Smith added.

Smith was eventually able to transfer to UTEP.

Sanders was pretty blunt when he took the program over, especially after the team’s first spring game.

“You all know that we’re going to move on from some of the team members, and we’re going to reload and get some kids that we really identify with,” Sanders said after the spring game, according to The Athletic. “So, this process is going to be quick, it’s going to be fast, but we’re going to get it done.”

He also preached “hope” after last year’s National Signing Day.

Deion Sanders in September 2023

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders watches the run of play during the home opener game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO.  (Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“We’re not recruiting just no ordinary Tom, Dick and Harry,” Sanders said on National Signing Day. “We recruited some guys that can light up the scoreboard and prevent touchdowns from occurring. We’re coming. We’re serious about that.


“Hope is in the house. Hope is in the air. Hope is in the city. Hope is in the community.”

Fox News’ Joe Morgan contributed to this report.

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