Deion Sander’s decision to coach football at Jackson State University has added to the mounting profile of HBCU’s (historically Black colleges and universities) on multiple fronts. (Screen capture)

Deion Sanders had long wanted to be a college football head coach. 

He wanted the job at Florida State University (his alma mater) when it opened two years ago.

Now “Neon Deion” is at Jackson (Mississippi) State University, bringing his “Prime-Time” persona with him.

Sanders has done an excellent job of raising the profile of Jackson State. Since his arrival as the head coach, his team frequently has been featured on several ESPN sports platforms.

He also has been seen in many commercials. 

Sanders has a behind the scenes show, “Coach Prime” on Barstool Sports and You Tube.

In Saturday’s (Sept.11) Southern Heritage Classic, Sanders goes head-to-head with NFL Hall of Famer and new TSU head coach Eddie George. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN-plus.

“Coach George has complied a great staff,” said Sanders. 

“He is a great friend.  He is going to provoke change each and every day he is on campus. They are going to play tough and take on the personality of their coach.”

The 32nd Southern Heritage Classic, which has become a staple event for JSU’s Tigers and their legion of fans, will be Sanders’ first.

“It is going to tough to compete against what they did with the Orange Blossom Classic. I have heard the SHC is a wonderful thing.  It is close proximity for our fans. I look forward to it,” Sanders said.

Due to COVID-19, the Southwestern Athletic Conference postponed its fall football schedule from September 2020 until the spring of 2021.  

Sanders got his first win as a coach over Edward Waters College 53-0. Sanders finished his first season with a 4-3 record.  

He has amassed a great recruiting class and wants to compete for a conference championship this season.

He got off to a good start winning their first conference game of the season 7-6 over Florida A&M.

Memphis area players on the JSU roster are running back Greg Williams (White Station), Javien Adams (Olive Branch), Aubrey Miller Jr. (Whitehaven) and Justin Ragin (Collierville).

Miller was named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Florida A&M win.

Sanders has used the transfer portal to attract talent and he is not afraid to go after some of the same players recruited by the major universities.

His thought process is that he and his coaching staff have the knowledge and connectivity to help players get to the next level.

Sanders was one of the best defensive backs to ever play in the NFL. He played for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49’ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Football Team and the Baltimore Ravens.

He was a fixture on the NFL Network as an analyst, before leaving to become the head coach of Jackson State.

JSU (1-0) defeated Tennessee State 49-44 in the last Southern Heritage Classic.  JSU wants to build upon what was learned in the spring and put Jackson State back on top of the SWAC ladder.