Deion Sanders, Jackson State
Photo: Mandela Jones/HBCU Sports

For the second consecutive week, Jackson State will be without Deion Sanders as the head coach continues to recover from toe surgery.

Sanders was unavailable last Saturday for the team’s home game versus Bethune-Cookman due to medical directives.

No. 1 Jackson State (6-1) will travel to Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.

Also read: Five takeaways from Week 8 of the HBCU football season

Assistant Gary Harrell, who filled in for Sanders against Bethune-Cookman, will do so again this week.

Sanders on social media explained that doctors ordered him not to coach as to not compromise recovery from toe surgery he underwent more than a month ago. Prior to being shelved, Sanders has been seen in practice and during games operating a mobile scooter.

“Being able to step away and trust his staff that when he does step away, that everything stays the same and stays consistent,” Harrell said Monday in reference to Sanders trusting his veteran staff while he’s away. “I think it helps him out as far as being able to relax and take his time as far as coming back into the fold. We feel good about where we are right now.”

Harrell, who had stops at Howard, Alabama State, Morgan State and Florida Atlantic under Lane Kiffin, said that the experience of the assistants Sanders assembled has given the program comfort that the team will sustain its high level of play.

“We have a great staff that’s consistent, we have a great staff that’s committed and when you got someone like T.C. that’s been a part of Jackson State for a long time, you lean on him to get some feedback, to get some insight,” said Harrell, who logged five years as head coach at Howard University. “And you got veteran guys like Dennis Thurman, who’s very solid on defense. Some of these guys been around Coach Prime for a long time.

I’ve known Coach Prime maybe two years but I work with him on a daily basis when it comes to the schedule when it comes to how he sees things. We know what he wants, and we know when things are out of place, how he’s going to react.”


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