Deion Sanders is in talks with Colorado and South Florida
As we enter a key phase of the coaching merry-go-round, Deion Sanders’ future promises to become clearer.
Jackson State’s surprisingly successful coach — at 11-0, the Tigers had the first perfect regular season in school history — has made no secret of his desire to coach college football at the FBS level. While the quiet carousel will limit his options, sources close to Sanders say he has been in discussions with power brokers in Colorado and South Florida about their coaching vacancies. A cycle ago, Sanders interviewed at TCU and Colorado State.
Sanders has not spoken with anyone from Auburn as the program’s search is headed in a different direction.
Colorado and South Florida, each vying for former glory, offer matching perks for the 55-year-old Sanders.
Buffalo may not fit the bill for Sanders, but as a Pac-12 school, they may offer Sanders the best chance to pay his assistants well and build the personnel infrastructure he believes he needs (two points he doesn’t come close to satisfying in Jackson State). Armed with the resources Colorado had to offer, Sanders developed a national recruiting plan for Boulder.
South Florida, a member of the American Athletic Conference, isn’t as cash-rich, but is in Sanders’ sights. At 1-10 overall and with conference rivals UCF, Cincinnati and Houston all out of the Big 12 before the 2023 football season, Sanders will have an opportunity at South Florida to make an immediate splash similar to what he did at Jackson State (26-5 overall, 4-8 the year before Sanders arrived).
In early October, the Buffaloes fired Carl Dorrell after an 0-5 start. The Bulls fired Jeff Scott with one win in early November.
Sanders carries weight in families across the country because of his success and fame as a two-time Florida State All-American, a 14-year NFL veteran and a nine-year MLB player. Sanders won two Super Bowls and played in the 1992 World Series, making him the first and only athlete to play in both. Sanders is a key endorser of Under Armor and previously coached in the Under Armor All-America Game.
His “Premier Coach” fame allowed him to turn the college football world upside down last December when he flipped the No. 1 overall Travis Hunter from Florida State to Jackson State in the biggest surprise of Signing Day. Sanders was also a top 100 recruit Kevin Coleman and a host of talented transfers from the FBS level. Hunter has been coming off a season-long injury to make it work in recent weeks with a pick-6 and an offensive touchdown in Saturday’s win over Jackson State. Also starring for Jackson State is linebacker Shader Sanders, son of Deion. Masterpiece threw for over 3,000 yards with 32 touchdowns.
Sanders helped revitalize HBCU football — Jackson State even hosted ESPN’s College GameDay this season — and interested FBS schools raved about his abilities as a coach, recruiter and unsurpassed program initiator.
Jackson State will play in the SWAC Championship on Dec. 3. If the Tigers win, they will play in the Celebration Bowl (SWAC vs. MEAC winner) for the second straight season.
Carl Reed is a college football analyst for 247Sports and the former head coach at St. Louis (MO) Lutheran North, where he won the 2019 state championship. He played college football at Austin Peay.
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