Deion Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers just completed an historic season of college football. The program recorded its first 11-win season, won the SWAC title for the first time since 2007, and competed in the Celebration Bowl, also known as the de facto Black College National Championship.
Sanders was named the Eddie Robinson Award winner, given to the top coach in Football Championship Subdivision. His son Shedeur was named SWAC Freshman of the Year, and he was named the Jerry Rice Award winner, which is given to the top freshman in FCS football.
— Jackson State Football (@GoJSUTigersFB) January 7, 2022
But throughout the season there were some trials and tribulations, none bigger than the hospitalization of Coach Prime following foot/toe surgery. The hospitalization caused Sanders to miss three full games as he battled for his life and leg.
Deion Almost Loses Leg
According to a six-part Bar Stool series which chronicles Deion’s health challenges throughout the magical season, the doctor warns Coach Prime that “Alot is still to be determined, but he’s gonna have to have a procedure done a little later today.”
During the conversation, doctors told Sanders that “You could lose your leg” from complications he suffered after the surgery.
That’s just one of the many nuggets revealed in the documentary which drops a new episode on Feb 22.
Sanders missed games against conference foes Bethune-Cookman, Mississippi Valley State and Texas Southern following the September surgery. Sanders and his team were pretty vague on all that was going on with his lengthy recovery. There were reports that it was very serious, but few details were released. The procedure stemmed from a toe he’d injured during his days as a player in the NFL.
In a video posted prior to the surgery Deion said the following:
“I’ve been in excruciating pain. I’ve been barefooted during games and during practices all the time, because of the pain.”
Sanders Was Expected To Ride Scooter For A Few Weeks: Ended Up Being A Lot Longer
The procedure was pretty serious, and upon completion the 1994 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was relegated to a scooter.
Prime’s doctor talked about the complicated and difficult procedure.
“She’s going to shorten that second toe a little by cutting through the bone. It’s kind of reattaching it, lengthening one of the tendons and then straightening out first toe to give you more room for that second toe.”
Following the procedure and release from the hospital Sanders had this to say:
“I promise you I’m going to be smart and continue to adhere to my wonderful team of doctors’ orders. I want you to continue to be tough on us challenge us to get to the level of excellence that we’re capable of. Oh, and don’t be surprised to see me back on the field in a new whip.”
Deion Sanders on his way to steal your No. 1 recruit AND your girl pic.twitter.com/vfSaxpXtHw
— Grayson Weir (@GsonJW) December 18, 2021
Sanders Has Accolades As Player And Coach: He Gets It Done
After an All-America career at Florida State, Sanders was the No. 5 overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft, playing 17 seasons until 2005. Sanders was an eight-time Pro Bowl player and six-time first team All-Pro during his illustrious Hall of Fame career.
He was a part of back-to-back Super Bowl wins with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. Sanders played the game with extreme swag, and he’s arguably the greatest cover corner to ever play the game. During those two Super Bowl wins his presence dictated who won on Super Sunday, as he covered the best receiver on every team.
PRIME ! pic.twitter.com/dJ5uvAX6fS
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) February 13, 2022
Sanders has taken his winning ways to the coaching side. During his first season at Jackson State he led the Tigers to the No. 55 recruiting class in the nation, and the highest ranking ever in HBCU and FCS history. For the current recruiting class Sanders flipped the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Travis Hunter, from his alma mater Florida State. He also added another top 50 recruit in wide receiver Kevin Coleman, making JSU the only non-Power five school with multiple top-50 recruits.
— Jackson State Football (@GoJSUTigersFB) January 8, 2022
The success of the Tigers helped Sanders gain interest from several Power Five vacancies, with TCU interviewing Sanders as he was being nursed back to health in the hospital.
Sanders is said to be walking without the assistance of transportation and continues to make HBCU football cool and relevant.
Jackson State Football HC Deion Sanders Will Be Honored With The Lifetime Of Inspiration Award At The 2022 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration! 🔥
Tune Into Bounce TV On February 12th At 7:00 PM CT To Support Coach Prime.
📸: @SuperBowlGospel @DeionSanders pic.twitter.com/t7kKWnFIug
— LIGHT ON COLLEGE SPORTS (@LightOnSports) February 9, 2022
The accolades keep coming, and Coach Prime is deserving as he battled serious health problems and still provided Jackson State with the wisdom, energy and celebrity to make them a main attraction in college football this season.
All this was accomplished while downplaying the severity of his injury in order to keep the focus on the Jackson State Tigers. On Saturday night, Sanders received the Lifetime of Inspiration Award at the 2022 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.
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