Deion Sanders is set to be a college football head coach.
After multiple reports emerged in recent days, FCS-level Jackson State confirmed Monday that it has hired Sanders, the Hall of Fame defensive back. Sanders, 53, has never been on a college football coaching staff.
Most of Sanders’ coaching experience came when was the head coach at his Prime Prep Academy charter school in Texas for three seasons until it closed because of financial issues in 2015. Most recently, he has been an assistant at Trinity Christian Cedar Hill High School in Texas.
While Sanders has far less coaching time under his belt than most any other person Jackson State could have hired for the job, it’s clear why JSU would want to hire him.
"I am thrilled to welcome Deion Sanders to Jackson State University, the city of Jackson, and Mississippi," said Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson. "Coach Sanders is student-athlete centered and cares about young men and their well-being beyond the football field. We expect to compete for and win championships at Jackson State, and Coach Sanders will help us achieve those goals."
Bringing Sanders on board immediately makes JSU one of the most recognizable schools in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and boosts its profile. Plus it’s never a bad thing to have one of the most famous defensive backs of all time recruiting on your behalf. Sanders’ profile should immediately provide a recruiting boost.
"I am truly blessed to be the 21st head football coach of Jackson State University," Sanders said in a university statement. "This amazing HBCU has always enjoyed a high level of commitment academically and athletically. It's my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and HBCUs in general. I am TRULY proud to be a part of the JSU Tiger family. 'I BELIEVE.'"
Sanders’ son is a 3-star recruit
Could he even get his son to come to Jackson State? Shedeur Sanders is a QB in the class of 2021 and verbally committed to Florida Atlantic in July. Shedeur is a three-star recruit and has 23 scholarship offers, according to Rivals. Deion Sanders is currently his son’s offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian Cedar Hill High School.
Deion Sanders’ hire is able to happen in September because the SWAC isn’t playing football in the fall of 2020. The school fired John Hendrick at the end of August.
"In consultation with President Hudson and after a thorough review and evaluation of all aspects of our football program, I have decided that a change in leadership is in the best interest of our program and university,” Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson said when announcing Hendrick’s firing on Aug. 31. “I want to thank Coach Hendrick for the hard work he has done with our football program. I wish John much success in the future.”
Sanders said he’d be a CFB coach in January
Sanders’ reported hire also comes months after he said he would be a college football coach this season. He’s made his college coaching desires no secret.
“I’m going to be a head coach in college football next year,” he told Dan Patrick in January.
Sanders made that comment after his name had been linked with Florida State’s coaching opening that went to Mike Norvell.
“I’m that definite. I’m that assured that I am,” he said.
Sanders left his analyst post at the NFL Network in August and currently hosts a podcast. The fifth pick in the 1989 NFL draft played from 1989-2000 in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football Team before returning for a two-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 and 2005.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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