Deion Sander talks about JSU football and the Power 5
Jackson State Football Coach Deion Sanders talks about Southern, Texas Southern and the Power 5.
Barbara Gauntt, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Deion Sanders said last Saturday he will entertain Power 5 coaching opportunities, and already he is a trendy talking point after the Auburn football job opened Monday with the firing of Bryan Harsin.
Sanders is leaning into the craze and hysteria of the college coaching carousel.
“Yeah I’ve heard from the Tigers,” Sanders said Tuesday. “The Jackson State Tigers.”
“Oh I thought you meant Jackson State, ” he added. “My bad, fraudulent (sic) slip.”
Jackson State (8-0, 5-0 SWAC) is off to its first 8-0 start in program history and continues its march toward a second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference championship when the Tigers travel to play Texas Southern on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN+). Last week, JSU romped rival Southern 35-0 after hosting ESPN’s “College GameDay” for the first time in program history.
“My name has been attached to many things in life,” Sanders said. “Also, a whole lot of headlines. This ain’t new to me. I’m good. I just got to make sure our coaches stay locked in and focus as well as the kids. But with attention and exposure, I’m not new to this.”
Sanders being linked to open jobs is nothing new. He reportedly interviewed for jobs last offseason, including Texas Christian, and saw his name thrown around when the Georgia Tech job opened earlier this season.
But Auburn could present a different attraction. The Alabama-based university hired athletics director John Cohen away from Mississippi State this week, creating a clear tie with AD who knows the impact Sanders can make. And coaching at Auburn would give Sanders a chance to go head-to-head each year with Nick Saban, who Sanders calls the greatest of all time.
The attraction could make sense. Sanders is a dynamite recruiter, hauling in the highest-rated signing class in FCS history and signing No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter during the last cycle.
And most importantly his team is winning.
Sanders led Jackson State to its first SWAC Championship since 2014 last season and again has the Tigers in position to contend for the Celebration Bowl, the de facto Black college national championship.
Sanders made headlines last Saturday when he admitted on “College GameDay” he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t entertaining bigger job offers. On Tuesday, he said it’s important for an HBCU coach to have the opportunity to move to a Power 5 school.
“I don’t think too many African American coaches from an HBCU has ever been attached to anything in the Power 5,” Sanders said. “That’s truly a blessing. We love to do the things that haven’t been done around here in Jackson State. This is another prevalent thing that hadn’t been done that we’re doing.”
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