Updated: Dec 4, 2022
There are reports that Coach Prime is preparing to leave to take the Colorado Buffaloes job.
According to ESPN senior writer, Pete Thamel reports, Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders is preparing to leave Jackson, Mississippi, and move to Boulder, Colorado. A deal has not been finalized, but Sanders has been preparing to accept an agreement from the university, per Thamel.
The Jackson State Tigers are set to play the Southern University Jaguars in the SWAC Championship later today. Coach Prime and his team have inquired with both on and off-field staff about moving to Colorado with him. According to someone close to the situation, he's told a prominent player currently in the transfer portal to wait until he decides because he wants to recruit him to Boulder.
What hiring Sanders means for Colorado:
If the reports are accurate and Coach Prime takes the job, it would be a windfall for the Buffaloes. Colorado has fallen on hard times since leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12. Colorado has six winning seasons and one bowl win in the last 22 seasons. The Buffs have not won a conference title since 2001 -they were still in the Big 12 and have played for just one Pac-12 conference title (2016).
Colorado hopes Sanders can do what he did at Jackson State for their football program. Coach Prime flipped Jackson State's roster and signed two top high school recruits in the country in the same cycle. Buffaloes' athletic director Rick George hopes Sanders' "if you built it, they will come" philosophy works in Boulder. Most importantly, he doesn't want egg on his face.
"They're not doing a great job of hiding this," said a staff source. "If he backs out of this deal, it would be a huge problem for Colorado."
What Sanders moving to Colorado means to Jackson State.
There is no one like Deion Sanders, and Jackson State should not try to find another coach like him. That said, Sanders showed all of the characteristics of what successful coaches do well. Coach Prime navigated the portal masterfully, flipped two top recruits, and put together arguably the best coaching staff in FCS football.
Sanders used the spring COVID season like a live-action spring practice. He kept players that would be successful in his system and allowed others to transfer. The growth and maturation of quarterback Shedeur Sanders and the defensive line proves he can run a program that develops players.
Those characteristics are what Jackson State needs to look for in a head coach. The Tigers need to find a coach that can keep the momentum Sanders began going. That hire does not have to be splashy. It could be a prudent, practical hire.
Only Coach Prime knows the definitive answer to that question. One word that has floated around since the rumors that he might move is legacy. While Sanders' early success at Jackson State could land him among the pantheon of HBCU coaches (if he could sustain that success), there has never been a black head coach to win a national title in major college football.
Colorado is an upgrade in the budget, facilities, and assistant coach salaries over Jackson State. The top prep players in the state have all said they would stay in the state if coach Sanders comes to Colorado. Hiring Sanders means the Buffaloes are ready to invest in the football program.
The Buffaloes had significantly upgraded its facilities before hiring Mel Tucker, and Folsom Field is one of the most beautiful stadiums to watch and play football. Colorado has to be getting its NIL war chest together as they look to compete in a Pac-12 Conference that will look different in a couple of years.