Colorado football is primed (no pun intended) to undergo a remarkable transformation this season, following a disappointing 1-11 record last year. And really, they already have. After the arrival of Deion Sanders back in December, everything has changed in Boulder. The Buffaloes team now, whether through cosmetic alterations or an infusion of new talent, has been completely overhauled.

Coach Prime and his staff have been making waves with their impressive use of the transfer portal for the upcoming season, but it's important to recognize the breakout candidates who may not be in the spotlight just yet. These players have the potential to make a significant impact and contribute to Colorado's football team in 2023.

Xavier Weaver, WR

A former three-star recruit in 2019, Weaver had initially displayed glimpses of potential in his first two seasons at South Florida. Just last season for the Bulls he accounted for 53 receptions, 718 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns, closely matching his impressive totals from impressive 2021 with 715 yards and two touchdowns. Underrated and often overlooked, Weaver is undoubtedly one of the best route runners on the current Colorado roster, and could be a force for the Buffaloes this season. He'll likely be one of quarterback Shedeur Sanders favorite targets this fall.

Sav’ell Smalls, EDGE

Sav'ell Smalls is one of the plethora of commits Sanders has signed out of the transfer portal this season. He comes from Washington, where he was behind group of talented pass rushers. Averaging 15-20 snaps as an edge defender last season, Smalls only logged 14 tackles and 12 pressures last season as a reserve player. However, Sav'ell Smalls now has the opportunity to come to Colorado to rediscover his five-star form.

Having committed to Colorado after entering the transfer portal, Smalls brings his undeniable athleticism, size, and speed to the Buffs that can surely be utilized. Despite lackluster performances as a Washington Husky, with the right guidance and development, Sav'ell Smalls could become one of the standout commitments from the 2023 transfer portal cycle.

Cormani McClain, CB

One of Coach Prime's biggest steals in this year's recruiting class was Cormani McClain. McClain surprised everybody with his commit to the Miami Hurricanes early on, and then surprised everybody all over again when he flipped to Colorado later. The five-star prospect McClain is expected to play a significant role in the team's secondary this season, alongside the talented Travis Hunter. If he can put up solid performances against some of the talented wide receivers in the Pac-12 conference, he'll be a strong candidate for Freshman of the Year and one of the breakout players on this Colorado roster.

With McClain's arrival, Colorado gains a valuable asset in their defensive backfield. As he integrates into the team, all eyes will be on him as he faces off against the dynamic wide receivers that the Pac-12 boasts. His ability to match up and perform against these formidable opponents will undoubtedly be an exciting storyline to follow throughout the season.

Jack Bailey, OL

Bailey, a transfer from Kent State, brings valuable experience and understanding of the expectations at the offensive line position. Although the starting left guard position may be locked down, the center and right guard spots are seemingly up for grabs. Bailey's physicality and power make him a strong contender for significant playing time this season. That, along with his familiarity with coaching staff members Sean Lewis and Bill O'Boyle, give Bailey a good chance of being a breakout on this Colorado roster.

Javon Antonio, WR

Standing tall at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 220 pounds, Antonio could be the big, tall receiver the Buffaloes are looking for this season. Coming from Northwestern State, Antonio amassed an impressive 684 receiving yards on 64 catches while leading the Demon, touching the endzone six times. His height and physicality make him an exciting prospect, particularly in the red zone, where his size advantage can mismatch against defenders, giving quarterback Shedeur Sanders an easy target to find.

Vito Tisdale, S

Despite missing the 2022 season due to injury, Tisdale's commitment to Colorado brings valuable SEC experience to the safety position. While the Buffaloes already have impressive depth at this position, Tisdale's skills and previous playing time at Kentucky could make him a playmaker on the field.

Bishop Thomas, DL

Thomas may not be receiving much attention, but his potential impact on the defensive line should not be underestimated. With his size and versatility, Thomas has the opportunity to contribute to Coach Prime's goal of building size and depth along the defensive line. Alongside other young defensive linemen, he has the potential to break out and make a significant impact for the Buffaloes.

A season to remember this year for Colorado football

In what will turn out to be a monumental season for the 2023 Colorado football team, there will be tons of intrigue going from the top to bottom of their roster. Every week they will be displayed with the country watch in anticipation to see who will standout and who will fall.