Deion Sanders is one of the most compelling commodities in college football coaching, turning HBCU program Jackson State into one of the nation’s best FCS programs in just one year, and battling top Power Five programs for recruits. Naturally, he has the attention of some of the top programs in the country already.
Last fall, the NFL legend was connected to the TCU job. His name is already being bandied about for Auburn, with the assumption that Bryan Harsin’s time on the plains is running out. Perhaps the most logical fit floated so far is Georgia Tech, which fired Geoff Collins after he posted a 10–28 record dating back to 2019.
Sanders is an Atlanta legend, having played for both the Falcons and Braves during his dual-sport career. Georgia Tech is the only Power Five program in the college football-crazed city, a hotbed for talent that has gone untapped by Collins and triple-option coach Paul Johnson before him.
The Jackson State coach says he’s flattered to come up for jobs like Georgia Tech. However, he sees a double standard between the constant rumors about his coaching future and the struggles for top HBCU talent—the players ultimately putting him in that position—to make it to the NFL.
“It’s nice to be mentioned,” Sanders said during a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. “… So you’re saying a guy can come from HBCUs and coach at a higher level, but a quarterback shouldn’t be considered at the next level. I don’t know how that works.
“…If I were to go to the next level, you don’t think the quarterback is going to the next level? … What I’m saying is that it is just funny you say I’m good enough and my name is being tossed and hit around like a fastball to [Aaron] Judge. I like that, though. I like that thought process.”
The quarterback that Sanders is most directly discussing is, of course, his son Shedeur Sanders, quarterback at Jackson State, who he is now actively promoting as a Heisman candidate.
Through four games, it is hard to argue with the young Sanders’s production. He is completing 75.5% of his passes for 1,381 yards (8.7 yards per attempt), with 14 touchdowns and one interception, adding two touchdowns on the ground.
“They didn’t mention what Shedeur is doing,” Sanders said of the ongoing Heisman conversation after JSU’s most recent win. “Forget that he’s my son and his last name is Sanders; any other man doing what he’s doing and accomplishing what he’s accomplishing, this far, this early on, deserves the recognition.”
If Sanders is drafted out of Jackson State, he’ll break a 17-year drought for quarterbacks out of the HBCU ranks. In fact, only 13 quarterbacks have ever been drafted from HBCUs, the most recent being Alabama State’s Tarvaris Jackson in 2006. That small group includes some very impressive names, however, including Doug Williams, Steve McNair and James Harris.
Should his father land a big job like Georgia Tech, however, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the sophomore transfer and continue his career with him.
More CFB Coverage:
- Jackson State’s Deion Sanders Touts Son As Heisman Candidate
- What We Know—and Don’t Know—About CFP Expansion
- UCF-SMU Game Delayed Due to Hurricane Ian
- HBCU Legends: Jackson State Climbs into Top-10 of FCS Coaches, Stats Perform Polls
For more HBCU coverage, go to HBCU Legends.