Deion Sanders, love him or hate him, has done a lot in just three months as a college head coach to raise the profile of Jackson State football and the SWAC.
The spring season afforded Sanders the perfect platform to amplify his personal brand, JSU, and his coaching ability with no interference from major college football or the NFL to take up broadcast time and print space.
The results of his first full season in Jackson on the field were a mixed bag, though.
The Tigers started 3-0 and jumped into the FCS Top 25 before a three-game losing streak knocked them from the rankings and out of competition for the SWAC East title and a shot to play in the SWAC Championship Game.
Along the way, Sanders — a Pro Football Hall of Famer — used all the national attention he received to elevate issues within the sport and those that specifically impacted Black college football.
We all knew people were watching and had a great interest in how this experiment would work.
Now, just seven months after being named head coach, one ESPN writer gauged the prospect of Sanders being sought by an FBS school.
“The big question about Deion: Is he going to get bored,” a college football industry source told ESPN senior writer Adam Rittenberg.
An unnamed FBS athletic director also told Rittenberg that he would be interested in observing how long Sanders wanted to coach.
“It’s a grind and at some point it stops being fun,” the athletic director said. This will tell you how locked in he is at Jackson State, if his sons come and play. But with the one-time transfer, boom, they can go from FCS to FBS.”
Another industry source in the article suggested that if Sanders, who interviewed for jobs at Arkansas and Florida State before landing at Jackson State, would do well at a school near his native Florida.
“Could you imagine Deion Sanders in Tampa with a couple of good coordinators,” the source said.
Another athletic director said Sanders could “own” Dallas if he were to take a college job in that area because of his ties in Texas high school coaching circles.
A non-Deion Sanders coach on the radar of FBS school was current Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons.
How realistic is his candidacy?
Rittenberg wrote that “Another strong season at FAMU should put him in the mix for a Group of 5 job.”