Sports

Deion Sanders leads Jackson State to SWAC championship

JACKSON, Miss. — Deion Sanders checked the first goal off his teaching to-do record with a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship, main Jackson State to a 27-10 victory over Prairie View A&M on Saturday.

And Sanders’ Tigers captured the title with a efficiency befitting his Hall of Fame versatility as a cornerback, receiver and returner: scoring touchdowns on offense, protection and particular groups.

The victory capped off a formidable season for ‘Coach Prime,” who earned SWAC coach of the year honors, shared the national spotlight with Alabama’s Nick Saban and noticed his son, Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders named SWAC freshman of the year.

Not dangerous contemplating Sanders is just below 15 months into his first head teaching job. This is his first full season after a 4-3 spring marketing campaign shortened by COVID-19 and regardless of lacking three video games following toe surgical procedure. He navigated the sidelines along with his left leg propped on a scooter that he generally sat on.

“This is unbelievable,” Sanders mentioned. “We didn’t play best, but all our kids gave it our best. It’s one thing to win, but to win without me? Lord, I thank you.”

Deion Sanders
AP

Sanders has additionally raised the profile of HBCU soccer and generated Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) alternatives for gamers. That’s as well as to rising his personal model by way of nationwide advertisements with Alabama coach Nick Saban and being talked about as a candidate for FBS teaching vacancies.

After capturing its first league title since 2007, Jackson State’s subsequent cease is the Celebration Bowl in opposition to MEAC champ South Carolina State on Dec. 18 in Atlanta for the Black school nationwide championship.

“We’ve got to finish what we’ve started,” Sanders mentioned. “This journey that we’re on, we’ve got to finish it.” Sanders’ enthusiastic embrace of NIL alternatives has helped JSU and SWAC gamers money in with endorsements. The convention ranks seventeenth within the nation in NIL compensation in accordance to Opendorse.com, a platform that goals to assist athletes monetize their model.

They’re the one HBCU convention to crack the highest 20 NIL endorsement rankings.

Sanders is getting an excellent run by way of entertaining business spots for Aflac insurance coverage with Saban and the enduring Duck. Former Dallas Cowboys teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Troy Aikman has appeared at JSU together with just lately deceased Memphis rapper Young Dolph and social media mannequin and former JSU pupil Brittany Renner, who talked with gamers about social conditions.

The gamers had been apparently paying consideration.

There was notoriety about new uniforms with gamers’ names and rumblings of FBS teaching openings.

Through all of it, Sanders’ remained centered on shining a lightweight on HBCU soccer and its gamers. SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland believes he succeeded in that endeavor.

“He’s put additional eyes on HBCUs,” McClelland mentioned earlier than the sport. “Make no mistake about it, I don’t assume Eddie George is the coach at Tennessee State if Coach Prime wouldn’t have taken that step first.

That influence is critical. It transcends followers, it transcends sponsorships. It goes to the center and soul and tradition of who we’re.”

Prairie View A&M didn’t make it straightforward for Jackson State.

The Panthers (7-5) led twice, together with 10-7, earlier than Isaiah Bolden returned a kickoff 91 yards for the go-ahead rating within the second quarter. James Houston pulled in a nifty deflection for an interception and 5-yard return for a TD earlier than Peytton Pickett rushed for a 5-yard TD late within the third quarter to give the Tigers some respiration room.

When it was all mentioned and completed Saturday, Sanders had as soon as once more taken middle stage and put Jackson State, the SWAC and HBCU soccer within the highlight.

“They just need the opportunity,” the coach mentioned. “At least give us a mention. Give us some type of respect. It’s for us to stand up for that. We must. The kids deserve it.”

Back to top button