Football Team

Williams says Deion Sanders joining Jackson State is a 'big deal' for HBCUs

Football Team

Monday was a monumental day for Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), as NFL Hall of Famer and larger than life personality Deion Sanders was introduced as the newest head coach of Jackson State University's football program.

In typical "Primetime" fashion, his arrival on campus featured a marching band, car service and other theatrics.

Washington senior vice president of player development and former Grambling State quarterback and head coach Doug Williams saw Sanders' first day as head coach and was a little jealous he didn't get the same treatment back in the day.

“I envied Deion, because I didn’t have an entrance like that to Grambling State, they didn’t do me like that," Williams said on the Huddle and Flow podcast. "Police siren, get out of an escalade. Man, that was off the charts.”

Williams admitted that Sanders's arrival wasn't really his style anyway, and the main feeling he had about the day was one of pride and excitement.

As a former player and coach of HBCUs, Williams understood the gravity of the decision made by Sanders to take the head coaching job. Not only was "Coach Prime" a dominant defensive back in the NFL, but he also became a successful analyst and media personality with NFL Network and most recently Barstool Sports.

Sanders didn't need to be a head coach at Jackson State, he had other options. 

 

"For a guy like Deion, a guy who did not have to go to an HBCU to do what he’s doing. He could have kept on working with the telecast and doing other things," Williams said. "For him to say 'I’m going to Jackson State and feeling good about it.' That’s the most important thing, he realized he could do some good things at Jackson State.”

With Sanders' arrival comes plenty of benefits for Jackson State. The first is an improvement in the recruiting game. As Williams noted, the location of the university in Mississippi will allow Sanders to create a pipeline of talent from all areas of the south.

In the past, the program may have struggled to keep some of the top talent local, as bigger schools had a larger appeal. But if "Primetime" is offering a young player a chance to play for -- and learn -- from him and a reported coaching staff filled with NFL experience, Williams believes it will be hard to say no.

“I think what we got to do as an HBCU is wrap our arm around a guy like Deion Sanders because what he can do for us is bring some of these guys back home that might not want to go places, what have you," Williams said. "They can look at Deoin and say 'you know what, he’s a Hall of Famer.'”

“I know if I was a defensive back today coming out. Man, I’m going to Jackson State, cause you know why? I want to be like Prime," Williams said.

Beyond his school, Sanders' influence is one Williams knows will spread to other HBCUs. The programs Jackson State plays will consider the game to be a big one on the schedule, and national attention will follow. From there, other players and teams will bring in viewers and sponsors that were not part of the picture before.

With Sanders now involved, HBCUs will become a bigger part of the conversation.

“The swag credibility just went up," Williams said. "You talk about the possibility of having tv contracts, shoe contracts and a lot more visibility to the whole league."

Sanders' decision and introduction were more than just a head coaching change by a college football program. It was a move that starts a domino effect of positivity for HBCUs across the nation. 

Williams sees that, and knows the future is brighter with "Coach Prime" included.

"Deion has done a big job today by accepting the job at Jackson State University, man," Williams said. "I’m proud of him.”