I was VERY pumped to learn of Jackson State hiring the one — and only — Deion Sanders to lead its football program.
The news of an historically black college and/or university (HBCU) hiring a big name who, in addition of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, bring lots of credibility to blue-chip high school athletes looking to take their game to the next level.
Imagine Sanders, aka ‘Prime Time’, coming into a kid’s living room to talk ball. Think that kid — and more importantly his parents — wouldn’t like that? What better coach to learn how to make to the NFL? And if the rumors of his coaching staff are true (Terrell Owens as a wide receivers coach!), it would be hard for a kid to turn that down — even with big time in-state competition such as Ole Miss and Mississippi State laying in the weeds.
And yes, I think this would be a game-changer for Jackson State in terms of big-time recruiting. Recruiting successfully against fellow SWAC foes such as Grambling, Southern, Florida A&M and Alcorn State is one thing. Luring three- and four-star talent from SEC, Big 12 and ACC programs is not far fetched with Sanders on board.
All that would be possible if — and ONLY IF — Jackson State’s administration returns the favor by investing in its football program. That means doing whatever it can to help Sanders do his job, whether it’s by raising money for a upgrades in the football facilities and the weight room or, dare I say, renovation to the current stadium?
We’ve seen upgrades to HBCUs’ football stadium such as my beloved Aggie Stadium (now known as Truist Stadium) and FAMU’s Bragg Memorial Stadium, as well as build new stadiums like Prairie View A&M’s Panther Stadium. All it takes is commitment from the administration, alumni and donors. As we all know that college football is an arms race: the more resources and fancy shit a football program has, the higher the chances of it being successful.
All and all, this has the potential to be not only great for Jackson State, but to HBCUs everywhere. We’ve already seen a blue chip basketball player choose Howard over blue-blood basketball programs. Maybe the Sanders hire will usher in the era of HBCUs competing with big-time football programs?
It’s all on Jackson State — and other HBCUs — now…