The second year of the Prime Time era is underway at Jackson State University, kicking off the season with a victory in the Orange Blossom Classic verse Florida A&M. Headlined by Coach Deion Sanders son, Shedeur Sanders, who led the Tigers to the victory with a TD and 221 yards passing. It was a great start to the bigger picture Coach Sanders has in mind.
Before Coach Sanders stepped foot on campus, not many folks were aware of Jackson State University, located in Mississippi. It's the alma mater of the legendary "Man of the Year", Hall of Famer Walter Payton, but besides that, it wasn't on people's radars.
Between the Barstool Sports Documentary, the visits by Troy Aikman, Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens, and the retweets from SportsCenter, JSU has been put on the map again, all thanks to Prime Time. All of this is great, but Coach Sanders is providing something so much more to the athletes of the football team and the school. He is providing them opportunities.
Football outside the FBS has its hardships. Although D1, most of the time they are hindered by stricter budgets. The network of Sanders has opened a new door for the HBCU. Uniforms by Under Armour, helmets by Riddell, partnerships, and donations from Aflac and others, and a new field by Walmart are just some of the new things that the university has received.
Coach Sanders preaches the motto "if you look good, you feel good" — which is now plastered on the walls inside Jackson State's football facilities. He teamed up with fellow Hall-of-Famer and HBCU alumni, Michael Strahan, to ensure his athletes were dressed to the nines for their travel attire. The entire team was gifted custom suits that dawn the JSU logo. This gesture is more than just a thoughtful gift. A new suit to a young man is an important life step.
Coach Sanders hopes for other opportunities for his players, opportunities past college. On his podcast last year, he made it a goal to shed light on the talented players at Jackson State and guide them to a future in professional football and beyond.
"When you go to Alabama, Georgia or one of those powerhouses, you know if you got it, you're going to make it in the pros. Why can't that be us? Why can't we think like that? Why can't that be our reality? To know, if you're a baller you will get drafted by the NFL. Why can’t the same be true for these kids in business? Why can’t they go to the workforce and make six figures right away? Because they’re smart and they’re going to work their butts off for you." - Deion Sanders on "21st and Prime"
Every player, athlete, and student wishes to have a mentor like Deion Sanders. An individual who will guide them to success, help them prepare for the future, push them to new heights, and open the door for new opportunities. Will other opportunities present themselves to Deion Sanders? Probably. But in the meantime, Prime Time is making his mark on HBCU's and being the coach every athlete dreams of.