Deion Sanders Is Leading Jackson State In A Soccer Title Game

JACKSON, ma’am. – Greasy brown paper bags filled the counter at Stamps Super Burgers, a small burger joint near the Jackson State campus, and orders kept coming.

But it was not a change in the formula that brought about a spike in orders.

Since the arrival of the famous college football head coach, Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, in September 2020, local businesses like Stamps, which Sanders highlighted in a post posted on Instagram, has seen an increase in viewership and business.

Jackson State’s on-field change since Sanders’ arrival has been equally swift. The program, which plays at the Football Championship Division level in the Southwest Athletic Conference, has been a longtime powerhouse among Black colleges and universities in history. It has been in decline over the past decade but has returned to prominence nationally this past season, largely thanks to Sanders.

After coaching the team through a packed spring schedule after the convention canceled the 2020 fall season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sanders guided the Tigers (10-1, 8-0 in congress) their first win record and first collegiate championship game. appeared since 2013.

Still, almost as much as the difference in wins and losses, Sanders’ impact on Jackson State has been felt around the university and across the state. Local commerce has spiked as the school gains widespread attention. Walk of Fame racer and TV personality Michael Strahan, who played college football at Texas Southern, an HBCU, There are custom made clothes for the team ahead of the Tigers’ season opener. And Jackson State, like other black colleges and universities in history, has received more national broadcast coverage.

Eight of Jackson State’s 11 regular games this fall have aired on ESPN’s networks and streaming services. That’s what Sanders, who’s nicknamed “Prime Time,” promised after arriving in Jackson, not just for his school, but for HBCUs across the country.

“We’re going to expose these kids to us,” Sanders, who the university declined to interview, said at an introductory press conference in September. “We’re going to shed light on the kids. this. We will allow them to shine. “

Four hours before Jackson State kicks off against Alcorn State in November, Tigers fans lined up in a long line around the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

For a long time, the main attraction of a ball game in Jackson State was the back gate or marching band, known as the “Sonic Boom of the South”. People would come to see the show after the band’s break, then tapered off in the third quarter.

That Saturday afternoon was different. An hour before the game started, nearly every seat in the stadium, which has a capacity of more than 60,000, was filled by what the school said was the biggest home audience of the season. Very few fans left at the end of the match.

“I call it the Prime effect,” said C. Daryl Neely, a Jackson State graduate student and enhancer.

He added: “There is at least one generation of college or two of those who are in seventh grade and graduating from high school, and there is no telling what happens when there are 50,000 people standing in the stands of a game. JSU either doesn’t know what it’s like to want to join a Jackson State game. ”

The Tigers won 11 regular game titles during the 1980-98 season, sharing the crown with Grambling State twice. Since the convention split into East and West divisions after the 1998 season and held a championship game, Jackson State has attended the convention’s title games five times before this fall, winning in 2007. The school was once a pipeline to professionals, sending nearly 90 players to the AFL and NFL from the early 1960s to the early 2000s, including the Hall of Fame managed by Walter Payton.

Jackson State has a famous legacy (it has spawned four Hall of Famers) but, like many HBCUs, it has few resources to compete in talent and facilities with other major powers.

In the years before Sanders arrived, the Tigers had nine losing seasons from 2003-19. They haven’t made an NFL draft pick since 2008 and have changed head coach four times since 2015. Ashley Robinson is the school’s third director of athletics since 2012 following. turbulent tenure of his two predecessors. Bringing in Sanders, an uncertain but profitable lease on a four-year, $1.2 million deal, was the biggest achievement in Robinson’s relatively short time at Jackson State.

Although Sanders has no prior college football coaching experience, Neely said he’s not surprised by the rapid change the school has given Sanders’ status and professional football career.

He made the #1 recruiting class among the College Football League Division schools in 2021, including 19 transfers and 11 of the highest-rated rookies in program history.

Sanders has set a “non-negotiable” standard at Jackson State, Neely said, emphasizing small details like making sure players are disciplined, punctual and professional and by measuring success beyond the results. fruit on the field.

“What is victory for us at Jackson State?” Sanders told reporters after the Tigers defeated Alcorn State. He has made it clear his goal is to send HBCU players to the NFL (no players drafted in 2021). “If nobody’s playing professionally, I don’t feel like we’ve won. If our graduation rate didn’t increase, did we win? My thought process for victory embodies a multitude of things. It’s not just a game. ”

Sanders is well known for Gandy, the bubbly personality and self-marketing ability he had during his explosive 14-season NFL career, during which he also played in Major League Baseball. He was a defensive linebacker and return to football, winning Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.

In retirement, Sanders worked as an analyst for the NFL Network and CBS Sports. In 2012, he co-founded Prime Prep Academy, a charter school in Texas that was supposed to become a powerhouse but was instead mired in financial missteps and academic strife and collapsed after nearly three years.

Sanders at the time accused the media of racist coverage and a street vendor but his current thinking is unknown because he was not available for an interview.

Before coming to Jackson State, Sanders was offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas, where he coached his sons, Shedeur and Shilo, who both played for the Tigers.

Even before Sanders moved to Mississippi in 2020, public opinion swirled around Jackson, which has a population of about 160,000 people, 82% of whom are black or African-American, according to 2019 census estimates, has far-reaching influence. Billboards with his face were placed all over the city soon after the school announced his recruitment, and the excitement extended to the crowds who come to the stadium each week.

“This program has to be, and has a historical connection to the city,” Neely said. “And when you have 60,000 people in the stands, that’s when you know you’re back on the city’s show,” he added.

Sanders’ rapid success at Jackson gave a glimpse of how a famous face can provide both exposure and opportunities for programs at historically Black colleges and universities. same resources as their Power 5 counterparts.

Less than a year after Sanders arrived in Jackson State, Tennessee State, another HBCU, announced the hiring of former Titans rerun Eddie George, who consulted with Sanders before taking the head coach job. .

Neely said while he expects other HBCUs to seek out celebrity coaches who can take the job for reasons other than salary, it’s not the only path to success.

“There are so many famous, highly motivated, capable coaches who may not be NFL players but have the same drive and determination and vision as a Coach Deion Sanders has, ” I said.

Sanders’ success at Jackson State has fueled rumors that he may be a candidate for the Power 5 coach position, but he insists Jackson’s success this season has not been confirmed. must be the end.

“We’re not done by any means,” Sanders said at a news conference. “We want to dominate. We want to finish. Right now we are in the middle of a sentence. We’re trying to get to the exclamation point, slowly but surely. “ Deion Sanders Is Leading Jackson State In A Soccer Title Game

Olly Dawes

Olly Dawes is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Olly Dawes joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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