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Deion Sanders: Walk-on tight end Michael Harrison "didn't flinch" during Colorado roster overhaul

Coach Prime: Walk-on Mikey Harrison "didn't flinch" during roster overhaul
Coach Prime: Walk-on Mikey Harrison "didn't flinch" during roster overhaul 03:57

When Deion Sanders completely retooled his roster after getting hired as Colorado's football coach, lots of athletes on scholarship wound up leaving to play for other colleges. As Coach Prime brought in players from other schools, it made it even harder for the CU students who were the walk-ons on the roster to find a place. Yet, there are a few players who overcame this adversity. One is tight end Michael Harrison.

Colorado State v Colorado
Tight end Michael Harrison of the Colorado Buffaloes runs the ball after a catch for a touchdown in the second overtime period against the Colorado State Rams at Folsom Field on September 17, 2023 in Boulder. Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

"Being a walk-on is always about just consistently betting on yourself," said Harrison, a special guest on this week's Coach Prime's Playbook with Romi Bean show. 

Every week it seems like a new player on the No. 19 Buffaloes steps up to the spotlight, and against the Colorado State Rams last weekend it was Harrison's turn to shine.

"He has been consistent. He works his butt off and he's tough," said Sanders on his show, which airs at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays on CBS News Colorado.

"Mikey" had 7 catches for 76 yards in CU's 43-35 win, including his first two touchdowns. He also was the receiver who caught the pass on a two-point conversion that tied the game and sent it to overtime.

"It was just a play that we've come back to a lot of times in fall camp," said Harrison. "We haven't ran it in a couple weeks, in the last two games. But we ran it so many times during camp that it was fluid right when Coach (Sean) Lewis called it at the goal line.

"Everyone on the field knew how to execute it. We'd done it 100 times. We'd been in that situation multiple times in practice. It just felt like practice."

Harrison spent his first two seasons with the Buffs primarily as a special teams player. He originally played wide receiver but after Sanders took over the 6-foot-3 junior made the switch to tight end. He also says he made a point of trying to impress Sanders and the new coaching staff he brought in.

"People told me, you've got an opportunity to play for the greatest to do it, so why would you turn that down," he said. "I listened to that, and just fully embraced all of it."

After Sanders began to restructure the program he says Harrison "didn't flinch."

"It's a few of those guys that's still on the team now. They didn't flinch," said Sanders. "They weren't going to let me run them off. They weren't going to just let me talk them out of it."

Colorado Buffaloes vs Colorado State Rams
Colorado Buffaloes tight end Michael Harrison celebrates with the fans on the field after winning the Rocky Mountain Showdown against the Colorado State Rams 43-35 in double over time at Folsom Field September 16, 2023. Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Sanders says players like Harrison from last year who remain on the roster are special.

"The thing was the consistency. They come to practice every day and they compete with a level of consistency and productivity that you cannot ignore. Sooner or later you're going to say 'Okay, tell me about this guy right here.'"

Harrison stood out. Sanders says tight ends coach Tim Brewser was "selling him like a hotcake." He says Brewster and the wide receivers coach were "fighting over him."

Harrison has clearly established a trust with quarterback Shadeur Sanders.

"It's good, because you're going to see a lot more of Harrison," said Coach Prime. "(Shadeur) trusts him."

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