Jackson State head football coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders joined I Am Athlete with Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, Fred Taylor and Channing Crowder and discussed how he plans on competing with Power 5 schools on the recruiting trail (21:45 mark).
"You bring in a conduit for change," he said. "... First of all, I don't want to level [the playing field], I want to have the advantage. "
Sanders pointed to his own experience, suggesting he is the best option to guide players through the upcoming name, image and likeness changes that are on the horizon because he played professional baseball while playing football at Florida State.
He was also a Hall of Fame NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington and Baltimore Ravens and played in MLB for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants.
"If you're into the glamour and glitz, I want you to go over there [to a Power 5 school] where you want to go," he said. "But if you're into the real, if you're into the genuine, if you're into 'let's build this thing and let's get up out of this mess and never look back,' you need to ride with me."
Sanders also noted that people and players made certain programs into NFL factories, and the same can happen at Jackson State and other historically Black colleges and universities.
He considers himself a key asset in working to change the perceptions around programs at HBCUs.
"I gotta get it like that. I gotta make sure we're on the tube so you can be exposed," Sanders said. "Kids now, they wanna be on the 'gram, they wanna be seen, they wanna be known, they want followers. Cool, I can make that happen. But not only that, I'm gonna coach you and prepare you like you've never been prepared before."
Jackson State announced Sanders as its head coach in September 2020 and went 4-3 in his first season that was pushed back to spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It starts the 2021 campaign on Sept. 5 against Florida A&M.
While Sanders is not yet competing with the likes of Alabama and Ohio State on the recruiting trail, the Tigers' landed the No. 70 overall 2021 class with four 4-star commits, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
That was better than Illinois, Texas Tech, Purdue, Arizona, South Carolina and Oregon State.