With the addition of NFL greats Deon Sanders and Eddie George as head coaches, Southern Heritage Classic No 32 is expected to be even more of a draw this year. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

For multiple reasons, the 2021 Southern Heritage Classic will be a groundbreaker.

Presented by FedEx, the 32nd annual Southern Heritage Classic pits long-time rivals Tennessee State University and Jackson State University on Sept. 11, 2021 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

Tickets went on sale May 21.

This year’s Classic features two retired NFL greats as head coaches. Tennessee State’s coach Eddie George and Jackson State’s coach Deion Sanders have added a new layer of enthusiasm to the highly-anticipated annual affair.

Southern Heritage Classic (SHC) Founder Fred Jones says the new coaches are a win-win for everyone.

“Coach Eddie George and Coach Deion Sanders leading two HBCU football teams is a wonderful boost for the universities and HBCUs everywhere, but it’s also great for the Classic,” said Jones, who is busy making the rounds pitching this year’s Classic. 

“After COVID-19 caused us to cancel last year, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to return in 2021. It’s an unexpected but welcome surprise and we are going to make sure everything is epic,” Jones said, referring to NFL greats Sanders and George as coaches.

“I look forward to safely seeing familiar faces and new ones too. This is going to be the hottest ticket in town!”

Speaking Tuesday ( May 25) at the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association, Southern Heritage Classic Founder Fred Jones encountered a ready audience of supporters. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

SHC will be adhering to the safety recommendations of the Shelby County Health Department and the City of Memphis regarding COVID-19.

Heavy thunderstorms forced the cancellation of the Classic in 2018. Factoring for the game and its associated events, including Tiger Lane tailgating, the Orange Mound parade and the Classic Gala, the annual event reportedly attracts 75,000 attendees. 

Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or charged by phone at 1-800-745-3000. For tickets and more information, visit https://southernheritageclassic.com/.