Could Deion Sanders Turn Jackson St. into an HBCU Notre Dame?

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What Deion Sanders has done in and for HBCU football in under three years is remarkable.

Named Jackson State’s 21st head football coach in September 2020, Sanders had to navigate through Covid and begin play in February 2021. In his first, pandemic-shortened season, he led the Tigers to a 4-3 record, an improvement over the team’s 4-8 record in 2019.

That fall, Deion had a full season to prove his worth, and he didn’t disappoint.

The Tigers went 11-1 with Sanders at the helm, eventually falling to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl.

But what Deion Sanders did for Jackson State and HBCU football as a whole was undeniable.

After his hiring, other traditional powerhouses tapped into NFL bloodlines for their new head coaches.

Tennessee State hired former Oilers/Titans star running back, Eddie George and Grambling tapped former Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

Other institutions fell in behind the powerful draft created by Sanders and expanded their athletic offerings.

Virginia State added men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer.

Fisk added women’s gymnastics and Tennessee State is exploring adding an ice hockey program.

While Sanders was not directly responsible for these developments, he was a major catalyst for the rejuvenated attention and financial support that HBCU athletics programs have experienced over the last two years.

But then Sanders turned the heat up on the world of college football.

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