‘Folks are screaming, ‘I believe!’ now’: Coach Prime graces Sports Illustrated cover
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “It’s Prime Time for Jackson State—and all HBCU football programs,” Sports Illustrated tweeted Thursday, teasing fans to delve into their newest cover.
You guessed it - Deion Sanders appears on the SI cover alongside his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and five-star cornerback Travis Hunter.
The glossy sports magazine talked to the NFL Hall of Famer about how he, “Rebuilt Jackson State - and Why an HBCU Revival is next on his list.”
“It hasn’t even been two years since the Hall of Fame cornerback uprooted his life to revive a moribund small-school program,” the magazine article said. “But after a record-setting first full season at Jackson State, followed by the unprecedented arrival of a five-star recruit (and a public quarrel with Nick Saban), he’s ushering in a new era for JSU football—and for all HBCU programs.”
“Last year, in his first full season, Sanders led the Tigers to a school-record 11 wins and their first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship since 2007. He did it while missing time after complications following foot surgery led to the amputation of two toes. He earned FCS Coach of the Year honors,” an excerpt from the article reads.
SI says his five-star recruit of Travis Hunter, from Suwanee, Georgia, should be proof that big things are coming to JSU. Hunter had originally committed to play cornerback at Florida State, but Prime changed everything - not just with recruiting, but at Jackson State University.
“Folks are screaming, ‘I believe!’ now—but they didn’t [before],” Sanders says. “It’s easy to scream now. But I meant that on Day 1.”
“Jackson State is on the precipice of becoming a powerhouse,” the article goes on to say. But Prime’s presence is leading to a rebirth for HBCU programs alike, SI claims.
“In April, four HBCU prospects were taken in the NFL draft. There are programs looking for their version of Coach Prime and aspiring coaches who look at Sanders and wonder whether they can do the same. Would Tennessee State have hired Tennessee Titans great Eddie George, who had no previous coaching experience, if not for Sanders’s early success? Would Hall of Famers Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Marshall Faulk have flirted with HBCU programs if Sanders hadn’t created a buzz?”
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