Florida Football: Colorado writer gives insight if Cormani McClain can turn it around

The former five-star prospect is transferring to the Gators after a season with Colorado
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Napier has landed a big time transfer out of the portal for Florida Football as former five-star defensive back Cormani McClain has announced he is coming to Gainesville for the 2024 season.

McClain's time with Colorado wasn't the smoothest and there are reasons to be skeptical on whether or not the Lakeland native can be a contributor for the Gators.

So we teamed up with our Fansided sister site Glory Colorado, and asked their site expert Andrew Hughes talked about McClain's time in Boulder and what needs to be improved in Gainesville.

Florida Football: Take Two

Hail Florida Hail:

Cormani McClain’s recruitment was a whirlwind where Colorado, at least outwardly, swooped in at the end. Given how swiftly it went down, was there anyone within the fanbase raising red flags, or was everyone just like, “Yeah, look at Coach Sanders work”

Andrew Hughes:

Due to Colorado’s lack of success recruiting-wise in the Karl Dorrell era, and in the decade prior, there wasn’t much skepticism for the McClain flip. If anything, landing a 5-star out of high school at the time was seen as a major win since most of Colorado’s 2023 class was made up of transfers.


In September, Sanders commented at a press conference that McClain wasn’t ready. Was that the first time you had heard something was amiss, or were there rumblings before that it wasn’t going well for McClain?


McClain hadn’t seen the field for the first month of the season during the Buffs’ winning streak, but there were questions as to why until Sanders made those comments ahead of the USC game. Since then, there have been rumblings in media circles that McClain had habits off the field that Sanders didn’t approve of. But Sanders’ rant was the first outward sign that his tenure in Boulder wasn’t going as planned.


Regardless of what may or may not have happened off the field, Pro Football Focus graded McClain 474th out of 488 cornerbacks nationally who took at least 200 snaps. Obviously, their grades are subjective, so how accurate or inaccurate was their assessment?


McClain didn’t look the part of a 5-star lockdown corner he was touted as on the field at Colorado. Granted, he didn’t receive consistent opportunities until the season’s final month, but mental lapses, perhaps yips feeling the pressure of Coach Prime’s judgement, were evident when he took the field.


Ultimately, why do you think it didn’t work out for McClain in Colorado and do you see it working out for him at Florida?


Things didn’t work out for McClain in Colorado because he made mistakes in Sanders’ eyes that the head coach was never going to forgive. Even though Sanders admitted McClain made him proud in November, he was back to picking on the 20 year old in the offseason. Their relationship was irreconcilable.

As for if he will work out at UF, it’s tough to say. Austin Armstrong and Co. need to keep him on a tight leash and make sure he’s dedicating his time to the right things. He’ll be challenged by all the great offenses on the Gators’ schedule, but that’s if he passes the challenge of earning snaps, which is no guarantee if he doesn’t buy into Billy Napier’s culture.

We thank Andrew for his time and you can check out his coverage of Colorado at Glory Colorado.