Ever since Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders made the decision to accept the head coaching job at the University of Colorado, the reaction has been polarized, to say the least.
Some love it, seeing it as Sanders going to be a better opportunity with more money and more resources. Others hate it, viewing the move as a betrayal of HBCUs and accusing him of being disingenuous in his intentions.
However, several Jackson State players have gone on the record about how they feel about the move and the criticism that followed. The players — Isaiah Bolden, Jurriente Davis and Jason Mercier — spoke to Complex Sports about Sanders’ decision and reaction to it.
None of them had an issue with Sanders leaving for Colorado because they understand that sought a better opportunity.
“Some young guys were hurt by it but the older guys, we already know what it is,” Mercier said.
As it pertains to the polarized reaction, Bolden explained that critics should put things in perspective.
“I don’t understand why people don’t see the positive,” Bolden said. “Coach Prime came out of his pocket to build a great HBCU locker room, almost like a Power Five locker room. The whole money thing didn’t make sense to me. Even right now, it’s not the money for him. It’s more to put his people on. That’s how I see it. He did what he said he was going to do. He put HBCUs on the map in my opinion.
“Every time on social media, you see Jackson State and now everybody wants to come to Jackson State,” Bolden said. “It’s time for him to elevate and go to Colorado.”
Sanders bolting to Colorado, the players said, led some to weigh whether to remain with the program or head elsewhere, including declaring for the NFL draft.
Mercier declared for the draft but said that if he had the opportunity, he would transfer to Colorado to be with Sanders
“Right now, my thought process is getting everybody right for this game [Celebration Bowl] because we have to win this,” Davis said.
Sanders’ final game as the head coach will be on Dec. 17 in the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta versus MEAC champion NC Central.