Ever since Deion Sanders arrived at Jackson State in 2020, he’s let it be known that some things are just unacceptable. From the lack of exposure and visibility to the downtrodden facilities to the lack of revenue being used to make viable upgrades.
His goal has been to make changes to all of that, and so far he’s doing a great job. Soon after Sanders took over the legendary HBCU program, a field-turf practice field was installed.
The team received new uniforms, helmets, and suits to wear to road games. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what Coach Prime has in store as the leader of the JSU Tigers program.
Deion wrote, “Us … we did this,” on his IG last Wednesday along with a video of himself taking some of his players through the Walter Payton Center to show them how the school plans to upgrade the facility for the football team. Deion has a saying that dates back to his NFL days:
“If you look good you feel good. If you feel good you play good. If you play good they pay good.”
Sanders Arrival A Huge Deal To The HBCU World
The arrival of Sanders hasn’t just benefitted JSU, but the entire HBCU football landscape has seen quality changes. That’s in large part due to Coach Prime using his celebrity platform and being that respected mouthpiece HBCU sports hasn’t had.
Sanders understands that enhanced facilities helps in the recruiting game. He knew upon his arrival there was no way he could compete on the recruiting trail with the JSU facilities being so underwhelming.
Here’s what he said to the Clarion-Ledger.
“The playing field is horrible. It’s not a level playing field, it’s unacceptable. Thank God that God called me to change the game, to open their eyes, to open the door. Not just for Jackson State, but for everybody. Some of the things I’ve seen in my tenure are truly unacceptable. It causes a kid not to dream. It causes a kid to not have passion because he don’t see no end result that’s promising for him.”
JSU Is Breakout FCS Program Following Banner Season: Sanders Used That To Land Legendary Recruiting Class
Upgrading the school’s athletic facilities comes on the heels of a historic season for the Tigers. Sanders was hired at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SWAC opted for a spring season instead of a fall season, and the Tigers finished 4-3. After that Sanders put everyone on notice that it wouldn’t happen again.
He began by taking his respect at SWAC media day when a reporter tried to call him Deion and not coach. Prime was having none of it and exited the interview following the strange interaction.
"You don’t call Nick Saban ‘Nick.’ … Don’t call me ‘Deion.’"
Coach Prime wants his respect
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) July 21, 2021
Following that he let everyone know that JSU would no longer be pushovers in the SWAC or FCS football. Along the way he landed the 55th ranked recruiting class in the nation, the highest-ranked class ever for an HBCU, which included Shedeur Sanders, a four-star quarterback from Texas and the youngest son of Coach Prime.
With Shedeur at the helm, the Tigers secured the program’s first 11-win season and it’s first SWAC title in 14 seasons.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) March 31, 2022
In December, just three days prior to playing in the Celebrating Bowl in Atlanta, where Sanders began his NFL playing career, Sanders and JSU shook up the world of college football recruiting, by flipping the nation’s No.1 overall recruit, Travis Hunter.
Hunter was a long-standing Florida State commit, which just happens to be Coach Prime’s alma mater. Sanders wasn’t done, as he then added Kevin Coleman, another top-50 recruit. The game was officially changed as JSU became the first FCS to not only land the top overall recruit, but two in the top-50 of the same recruiting class.
With the transfer portal as hot as fish grease, Sanders added 14 quality and proven transfers (including four former four-star recruits) who are ready to contribute to the Tigers. As more additions to JSU’s facilities take place across all of its athletic programs, the school’s appeal and standing will continue to rise in an unprecedented fashion.