Alabama Assistant To Join Deion Sanders' Colorado Staff: Report

By Jason Hall

December 8, 2022

Deion Coach Prime Sanders named head football coach at University of Colorado, Boulder.
Photo: Getty Images

Alabama associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach Charles Kelly will reportedly join Deion Sanders' Colorado staff as the team's new defensive coordinator, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN's Chris Low Wednesday (December 7) night.

Kelly, 55, spent the past four seasons with the Crimson Tide, which included the team's undefeated national championship run in 2020.

The Auburn graduate had previously worked as a defensive coordinator at Florida State from 2014-17 -- having initially joined the program as a special teams and linebackers coach during the Seminoles' 2013 national championship season -- and a special teams and safeties coach at Tennessee prior to joining Nick Saban's Alabama staff in 2019.

Sanders, who was officially introduced as the Buffaloes' new head coach last Sunday (December 4), had already hired former Kent State head coach Sean Lewis as the team's offensive coordinator prior to news of Kelly joining the staff.

On Sunday, Alabama running back Trey Sanders publicly expressed interest in transferring to Colorado amid the school's announced hiring of Sanders.

"You got room for me Unc..?" Trey Sanders tweeted to Deion, who he has no reported relation to, despite the shared last name.

Trey Sanders rated as a five-star prospect and ranked as the No. 1 running back, No. 2 player from the state of Florida and No. 6 overall prospect for the 2019 national recruiting cycle, but has seen limited playing time since enrolling at Alabama.

Deion Sanders, who spent the past three seasons at Jackson State, a historically Black college, publicly acknowledged his plans to use the NCAA transfer portal during his introductory press conference on Sunday.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer announced that his son, Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders, planned to transfer to Colorado, referring to him as "your quarterback," and was also seen in a video telling Buffaloes players that he was "bringing my luggage with me, and it's Louis [Vuitton]," implying that several other Tigers starters would also be joining the program.

Sanders reportedly has a five-year, $29.5 million offer to join Colorado, which will make him the highest-paid coach in the school's history, though athletic director Rick George publicly admitted the program doesn't "have the money yet, but I know we'll have I'm not worried about that piece" as of Monday (December 5).

Sanders' hiring comes days after he acknowledged a FOX Sports report that he received an offer for the Colorado job.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback led Jackson State to its second consecutive SWAC championship on Saturday (December 3), defeating Southern, 43-24, hours before being introduced by Colorado and one week ahead of the Tigers' second consecutive Celebration Bowl appearance.

Sanders, known as "Prime Time" throughout his legendary playing career and "Coach Prime" since taking over the Tigers, said he didn't view the job offer as a distraction ahead of his team's two biggest games of the year.

"To someone else that hasn't been that dude, it's intoxicating. I've been 'Prime' for a long time, dawg," Sanders said with a laugh via 247Sports. "Attention ain't nothing new to me. Like, come on. I'm not being braggadocious -- that's a wonderful word, isn't it? I just came up with that -- but this isn't new to me. Being in the spotlight isn't new to me."

Colorado finished the 2022 season with a 1-11 overall record (1-8 Pac-12), which included a 63-21 blowout home loss to No. 12 Utah in its final game.

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