When Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson told his Jackson State school president Thomas Hudson that he was going after Deion Sanders to as head football coach, Hudson was all-in. But many media pundits and shock jocks questioned the move. Many believing it wouldn’t work. Thus far that duo is looking like a match made in heaven. During his introductory press conference, Sanders stressed the importance of his commitment to excellence in any and everything he does.
“I have a commitment to excellence in each and everything I do.
“We’re going to win. We’re going to look good while we win, and we’re going to have a good time while we win.”
Those words seem to resonate through halls of the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. And throughout the bowels of the JSU Practice Pavilion and Walter Payton Health and Recreation Center.
They also excited Sanders’ boss, Robinson who never once questioned was it the right decision. In fact, Hudson during Sanders introductory both Robinson and Hudson talked about the power move to bring in Sanders. Hudson said it was a “grace of God” hiring.
“These things just come together. We’re so ver fortunate to really fortunate to be in this apace and to have a man someone like this joining us.”
While Robinson piggybacked Sanders’ sentiments on winning at a high-level.
“We expect to compete for and win championships at Jackson State, and coach Sanders will help us achieve our goals.”
Sanders Hasn’t Let Either Hudson Or Robinson Down:
After the 2020 fall SWAC season was canceled, Sanders began his first season during the SWAC’a abbreviated spring season. The Tigers went (4-3), but Sanders wasn’t satisfied and refused to use COVID-19 as an excuse. He just took the time to make his team better for the 2021 season, his first full season at the helm. The Tigers hit the road running winning their first SWAC championship since 2007. They also participated in the Celebration Bowl, a de facto Black College Football championship game played in Atlanta which features the SWAC champion vs MEAC champion.
Sanders is no dummy and he knows in order to compete at the level he envisions he must recruit at a high-level. That’s what he did with his 2021 and 2022 class. The Tigers 2021 ranked 55th nationally, the highest ranking ever for an HBCU or FCS program. But, 2021 was just an indication as to what Sanders could do on the recruiting trail. In 2022, he did the unthinkable by getting the nation’s top-ranked recruit Travis Hunter to flip from he alma mater, Florida State. The move sent shockwaves through the sport, but Sanders wasn’t done he then added another top-50 recruit in Kevin Coleman, plus 17 impact transfers including four former four-star recruits.
Heading Into Year 3 Sanders Has Helped Changed HBCU Football From A Visibility, Exposure And Revenue Accrued Standpoint
As HBCU football embarks on the 2022 college football season, there’s a myriad of things going on that are great for all parties involved. First in April there were four HBCU players drafted, and as today all four are in line to make their team’s roster. Plus there were a record 24 players who signed minicamp and training camp deals. As of today a handful of them are still vying to make an NFL roster. That’s a direct result of exposure and visibility, albeit on ESPN or media mogul Byron Allen’s new venture “HBCUGo,” a streaming service with nothing but HBCU football coverage.
Throw-in the endorsement deals with Pepsi, Gillette and Cricket, and that’s all a product of
Sanders work to bring visibility and exposure to all of HBCU football not just JSU.
While the outspoken and brash Sanders has been an opponent of the NIL, he’s also said on many occasions he’s for it if it’s done right. But he’s also quick to say players need to focus on playing at the next level and not so much on NIL deals.
Year three for Sanders in Jackson, Mississippi kicks off this weekend with a visit to South Florida to take on FAMU Rattlers in the “Orange Blossom Classic.”