Since joining the Jackson State University Tigers as the head coach of the football team, Deion Sanders has been the talk of the NCAA. Sanders was met with scrutiny, skepticism, and the question of “why?” before and after he finished his first season 4-3 with the Mississippi-based HBCU due to lack of previous experience. But the NCAA’s perception of Primetime’s coaching ability shifted once the 2021 football season kicked off.
The Jackson State Tigers, equipped with Sander’s son Shedeur Sanders and 4-star recruit Travis Hunter, came out swinging and finished the season 11-2 overall, 9-0 in their conference. On top of that success, Jackson State would then cap their season with a SWAC championship win over Prairie View A&M. Now, with the doubters behind him, Deion Sanders—alongside his son and Hunter— graces the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s July 2022 issue.
In the cover story, he shares why he decided to coach at the collegiate level, more specifically at JSU. “Primetime” discussed his reasoning for taking the job and revealed it was about Black excellence and “restoring Jackson State to its prominence,” something he always knew he could do.
“Folks are screaming, ‘I believe!’ now—but they didn’t [before],” Sanders said in a conversation with Jean-Jacques Taylor for SI. “It’s easy to scream now. But I meant that on Day 1.”
The legend further elaborated on his confidence in himself and why it was crucial for him to do it big for the HBCU or not do it at all. His success at an HBCU is success for all HBCUs across the nation. “Anything you touch, you have to affect if you’re that kind of person,” Sanders stated. “It is my objective not to just come to Jackson State and touch Jackson State, but to touch everything nearby.”
Jackson State Univerisity and Coach Deion Sanders are hoping to keep the momentum going forward as they gear up for their third season together as they kick off the year on September 4, 2022, against Florida A&M.
Sports Illustrated‘s July 2022 issue hit newsstands on June 16.