Call him “Coach Prime” from now on. NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has been announced as the new head coach for the Jackson State University Tigers football team.
Jackson State University is an HBCU located in Jackson, Mississippi. The announcement, per Clarion-Ledger, was first made on his podcast “21st & Prime”, before being announced Monday by the school. “God called me to Jackson State,” Sanders stated.
Becoming “Coach Prime”
When asked why take a head coaching position here Sanders retorted, “When they pulled up today, I said ‘you know for me to leave this, it has to be God, right?'” Sanders said. “A lot of people are going to say ‘why?’ Honestly, man, I’ve been offered pro jobs, just so people know. I could be an assistant at any college, or a head coach at any college, but at such a time as this, God called me to Jackson State, and me to these men.”
Monday following at the press conference Jackson State’s Athletic Director Ashley Robinson spoke about expectations for Sanders and what he brings to the program, “Coach Sanders is student-athlete centered and cares about young men and their wellbeing beyond the football field. We expect to compete for and win championships at Jackson State, and Coach Sanders will help us achieve those goals.”
Previously, Sanders coached at Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hills, Texas as their offensive coordinator. He will be bringing his experience as a 14-year NFL veteran to the school and hopes that it will help to open doors for his players to become professionals.
“The guys that we’re targeting are play-makers, are players that can possibly play on Sundays. That’s what we’re looking for. If your dream is not to play on Sundays, you’re in the wrong place.”
A Victory for HBCUs
This hiring is also a big win for HBCUs overall. Earlier this year, top basketball recruit Makur Maker announced his commitment to Howard University and elaborated on that decision with ESPN’s Undefeated stating ”I want to change the current culture and climate that has kept five-star athletes like myself from viewing HBCUs as a viable choice. I have no idea why it’s been over 40 years that not even one five-star basketball player in the United States has decided to play basketball at an HBCU. But I do know that, in this Black Lives Matter movement that’s empowered and assembled many different people across the country and the world, that it won’t be another 40 years until it happens again.”
Sanders hopes to “level the playing field” for HBCUs in a similar fashion with his presence and ambitions for the team’s future.
“Playing on ESPN2 and not ESPN, not being invited to bowl games when some teams are 6-5 and some teams that are really not worthy. I want to know why that is not on the table for HBCUs to use,” Sanders said. “When I say level the playing field, I want to level it in every aspect of the word.”
Already Getting Recruits
The news of Sanders becoming a head coach is already beginning to make shock waves within the recruitment process for Jackson State.
Following up on his intentions of bringing “play-makers” who can “play on Sundays”, JSU and Sanders have already offered 2021 JUCO cornerback De’Jahn Warren a scholarship to the team. Warren is the #1 JUCO corner in the class of 2021 and the #2 overall prospect per 247Sports rankings.
Additionally, the JSU Tigers have received a commitment from former Mississippi state cornerback Javorrius Selmon as he announced on Twitter his intentions to leave MSU and play for Sanders.