There was a time when San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders was the ultimate clash of titans between the league’s best wide receiver and the league’s flashiest and top cornerback. Both men would either duke it out (literally), become teammates for one season, then become on-field rivals again.
“Primetime” has since established himself as a fast-rising head coach in the college football realm, turning Historic Black College University (HBCU) Jackson State into a recruiting hotbed that has lured in prized high school prospects like Travis Hunter and Kevin Coleman. Other prominent NFL names like Eddie George (Tennessee State) and Hue Jackson (Grambling State) have since followed in coaching at the HBCU ranks.
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But could one more legendary NFL name take the dive into coaching who happens to be an HBCU legend himself at Mississippi Valley State? And could this mean a renewed spark between old 90s rivals…this time as one tries to out-recruit and out-coach the other?
Head Coach Jerry Rice? ‘It Started to Cross my Mind’
In an interview on Wednesday, January 12 with Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation HBCU Legends writer Kyle T. Moseley, the NFL legend Rice got candid about the possibility of drawing plays and putting on the headset.
Moseley asked if Rice ever gave any thought of coaching.
“Not until Deion (Sanders), with Jackson State,” said Rice.
The Hall of Famer then added: “Because I felt like I played the game for such a long time. And I was so totally committed. And I just poured everything into my career, that I didn’t have anything left. Because, as a coach, you really don’t have a life. I mean, coaching. It is hard, man, it takes up the majority of your time. But yeah, it takes a total commitment. And you got to be all in. So, it started to cross my mind just a little bit, now.”
Should Rice get into coaching, many will believe that a return to the Delta Devils would be the trendy pick — considering Rice became an All-American and future No. 16 overall pick in the NFL Draft out of MVS. His college alma mater didn’t produce a season above .500 throughout the 2010 decade. Although, the Delta Devils’ four wins this past season under head coach Vincent Dansby was their most wins since 2012.
Rice did chime in on how his alma mater can improve on the recruiting trail, saying “It’s important to get those top recruits in there that you can put into your program to make your program so much better. So, I think they’re going to get better because of what’s happening at Jackson State University.”
Rice Returning to HBCU Level Would Continue its Rising Popularity
Should the 49ers‘ franchise and NFL receiving record holder Rice take a dive into the head coaching realm at an HBCU in the near future, it’ll continue the impressive popularity streak its had since Sanders’ arrival to coaching.
Again, JSU and Sanders managed to pilfer the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect by 247Sports in the wide receiver/cornerback Hunter — who turned down Sanders’ alma mater Florida State for the HBCU program. Recently at the 2022 Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio played on Saturday, January 8, the four-star wide receiver Coleman announced his commitment to the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Florida A&M earned a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs while George completed what he called a “gratifying” first year of coaching at TSU in an interview with Rich Eisen.
The HBCU venue has seen a spike in popularity. But no doubt that “coach” Jerry Rice would continue to get the product to trend upwards — while also potentially renewing an old rivalry with the head coach of Jackson State.