Interest in TCU considering Deion Sanders as its next head coach is “real,” according to the reporter who has knowledge of the school’s hiring process.
Drew Davison, the TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, wrote Tuesday that Sanders interviewed for the position which has been vacated since the university parted ways with legendary coach Gary Patterson.
Through sources close to the TCU search committee, Sanders spoke with officials by phone on Monday and was reportedly impressive, the newspaper reported.
“I would say it’s real, it’s genuine,” Davison told HBCU Sports about the level of interest in Sanders during a phone interview on Wednesday.
Sanders, said Davison, does have support on the TCU selection committee through a close relationship with former Horned Frogs running back and NFL Network colleague LaDainian Tomlinson.
“He’s got a strong relationship with LT. They both were NFL Network analysts and both live (in the Dallas-Forth Worth) metroplex,” he said. “You would certainly think he has some guys in his corner from TCU’s standpoint.”
Sanders, who is in the middle of his second season at Jackson State, became an attractive candidate due to ties to DFW and his immediate and successful transformation of the Tigers’ football program upon his arrival.
TCU, said Davison, was particularly drawn to Sanders assembling a top-60 recruiting class that rivaled or exceed many Power 5 conference schools.
“He can get into those (recruiting) doors so to speak. He hasn’t played for 15 or 16 years now … and still has that aura and that household name and people still know Primetime,” Davison said. “From a NIL, transfer portal standpoint nobody knows how to build a brand better than Deion.”
In addition to Sanders, the current reported candidate pool includes Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Louisiana’s Billy Napier, SMU’s Sonny Dykes, and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
According to high-level sources, TCU wanted to cast a wide net for its search — identifying diverse candidates throughout college football. Sanders, with his success and notoriety, fit those criteria.
“In the college football world, it’s only been a few years and he’s turned some heads,” said Davison. “What he’s been able to do at Jackson State from a recruiting perspective … obviously they’re winning. That has not gone unnoticed.”
So what chance does Sanders actually have landing the job considering some of the prominent names involved?
“He’s in the mix,” said Davison, who was unable to confirm whether Sanders or TCU representatives expressed mutual interest. “Odds-wise or percentage-wise I don’t know. I think Deion brings something unique that those other guys don’t from a recruiting and name standpoint.”
Sanders hasn’t publicly commented on the report or rumors about his commitment to Jackson State.
However, he tweeted Wednesday morning that he had been released from the hospital after recovering from what he described as complications from recent foot surgery.
Sanders has missed the last three games — all wins by Jackson State — while he has been recovering.
“Tiger Nation!! Your non stop love and support through these past few weeks have been a tremendous blessing and I cannot thank you enough,” Sanders wrote. “As you know there have been some complications following my foot surgery, but it brings me so much joy to tell you that I’m now out of the hospital and on my path that we started together.”
But speculation that Sanders interviewed with TCU was denied, according to Thee Pregame Show which has knowledge of the situation as it’s the only media outlet embedded with the football program.
“There is not an ounce of reality over at 1400 Lynch Street at T.B. Ellis Annex that somehow Coach Prime is leaving and leaving for anywhere,” said Thee Pregame Show co-host Neely. “He has made his commitment to this program.”