Since 2020 thesudden rise of the Jackson State Tigers, can be attributed to one move. When athletic director Ashley Robinson went against the grain and decided to reachout to Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders about becoming the head football coach of a once proud, but struggling football program. Sanders hit the road running in 2020, and even with COVID-19 forcing the postponement of the 2020 fall season to an abbreviated spring season, you could see what Sanders was about and what he wanted to accomplish.
Fast forward to 2021, and Sanders landing the 55th-ranked recruiting class the highest-ever for an FCS program. A recruiting class that featured son Shedeur, a four-star recruit. In 2022, Sanders took it to another level, by our-recruiting Power Fives to land the nation’s top-ranked recruit in five-star recruit Travis Hunter. This doesn’t include all the other highly rated recruits and transfers he’s secured. And to think he’s done this with limited resources and facilities that have been upgraded since his arrival. But the one thing lacking is an on-campus stadium that Sanders and his Tigers can call home. That’s the type thing that sways recruits, and it’s vital in the cutthroat world of recruiting.
This week the Jackson City Council approved the forward movement of having a new stadium built. It’s being done with the hope that Coach Prime will stay for the long term.
In a presser, Ward 3 councilman Kenneth Stokes had this to say.
“We’ve had so much success with our coach, Deion Sanders Prime Time, and it’s just the perfect time, if we’re going to get a new stadium, to start talking … and let’s try to make it a reality. We’re all hoping that Coach Prime stays in the city for a long period of time, but a lot of colleges and universities are trying to get his talents.”
Stokes continued ….
“Maybe if we can show, as a state, that we are committed to him staying, and to the new stadium, maybe it would encourage him to stay.”
Sanders name has been mentioned in a handful of Power Five openings, like Georgia Tech, Arizona State and even Auburn who hasn’t relieved their current coach of bis duties. Last season Sanders interviewed for two Power Five gigs while he was in the hospital recovering from toe/foot surgery. His name resonates the minute an opening comes available, and JSU is trying to be proactive.
Tigers Need A New On-Campus Facility: Sanders Mentioned That In February
The Tigers have played at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium since the 1970, and while it holds over 60,000 fans, it’s outdated compared to today’s new state-of-the-art facilities. Plus it’s also a few miles away from campus, which in turn can hurt recruiting and fan support as it pertains to students.
In February Sanders said he wanted a stadium built on campus and he wanted it to be built with state funds. In fact, in February Mississippi lawmakers approved $250K to begin the study of building a new stadium at JSU. One which Sanders says should be built with stats funds. In his statement then Sanders talks about the money the JSU program has made for the city and state.
“It is for the city. Our Mayor is here. We are not paying for it. I’m letting you know. It’s going to be free because we made a lot of money for this city and we want some of it back.”
Sanders Impact Has Been Huge For Revenue:
Sanders arrival saw the city of Jackson revenue double from 2020 to 2021. And those decision-makers wanna continue to capitalize on his presence.
Councilman Vernon Harley, had this to say about it.
“We’re talking economic impact in the millions. If and when he decides to move on, it’s going to be a loss. We need to go ahead and take advantage of all these things we can do right now.”
While all that sounds good, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves isn’t too keen on building a stadium with tax dollars.
“I don’t even like the state building stadiums with general fund tax dollars. I’m not really excited about Jackson State building a football stadium.”