Jackson State head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has taken the college football world by storm since his arrival on the Jackson, Mississippi, campus in September 2020.
Sanders has had an impact on HBCU and college football in many areas, including visibility, exposure, notoriety and revenue. He’s also made his presence felt on the recruiting trail. In fact, he did the unthinkable by landing Travis Hunter, a two-way sensation and the No.1 ranked player in the class of 2022.
The move sent shock waves through the sport and even made Alabama head coach Nick Saban accuse Sanders of buying Hunter using NIL money. Sanders rebutted the notion and demanded an apology from Saban, who’s someone he patterns his coaching style after.
Saban did apologize and the two seem to have buried the hatchet, but Saban’s remarks set the stage for how Power Five coaches who used to have the game on lock now perceive a nuisance brewing over at Jackson State, which is throwing kinks in their game.
The Scouts keep coming out to see our guys practice pic.twitter.com/3gyiSb3QCB
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) August 21, 2022
During a recent interview with Complex, Sanders talked about that very subject.
“They see us as a threat to take players they would normally get. So I’m pretty sure they have had that private conversation.”
The Power Five schools aren’t used to an FCS school — an HBCU program at that — grabbing a top recruit, or let alone two in the top 50, as Sanders did in his first full recruiting class of 2022. So maybe Sanders is correct, he is a threat to them. As much as these coaches don’t want to admit it.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) August 10, 2022
Sanders Has Said He Doesn’t Care Before: Nothing’s Changed On That Home Front
For Sanders to reiterate that he doesn’t care what folks think of his coaching or recruiting methods shouldn’t be all that shocking. In fact, Sanders is on record saying he doesn’t care what people say about him when he’s done with sports. Being a great father is all he’s concerned with.
“I don’t care what they say about me when I’m through with sports,” Sanders told reporters recently. “I don’t want to be known as anything else in life but a great father.”
That’s exactly what he’s doing at a high level with sons Shedeur and Shilo playing for him, and daughter Shelomi playing for the women’s basketball team at Jackson State. He even has his two oldest children Deion Jr. and Deiondra both working with and for the program in some form or fashion.
His brash and at times unconventional in-your-face approach to coaching has been well received by most of the college football community. Coach Prime’s business hustle also has its detractors who always feel the need to find something to complain about. Most of the time these haters are threatened by Deion’s impact on changing the game to empower and bring visibility to schools that at one time couldn’t compete with PWI’s for top players.
In a result-driven business, Sanders is getting top-notch results at Jackson State. In his first full season stalking the sidelines, the Tigers won their first SWAC championship since 2007. They also participated in the Celebration Bowl for the first time. Not to mention Sanders and star quarterback Shedeur Sanders, his youngest, taking home the prestigious Eddie Robinson and Jerry Rice awards last season.
Sanders says it’s too much of a focus on the NIL money before they pick a school. They’re totally disregarding fit and scheme, which could in turn ultimately derail their hopes of playing at the NFL level. He wants that to change and players to get that focus back to where the NFL was everything, not some NIL money you’re receiving while in college.