Former NFL sensation and current college football head coach Deion Sanders has always been ready for “prime time.” Now, he expects his players to be ready for “prime time” too.
Earlier this week, Sanders, 55, the head coach of the Jackson State University Tigers football team, stood before his players and gave them explicit instructions about how they should dress and prepare for class. Sanders told them that they must:
- Wear shoes that cover their feet
- Wear shirts that cover their underarms
- Sit in the front of the class
- Act like “the perfect gentleman”
Players may not wear “slider” flip-flop shoes, wife beater tank tops, or other shirts that expose their armpits; neglect their personal hygiene; or conduct themselves in any way unbefitting a member of the JSU football team.
“Now, make sure you shower before you go to class,” Sanders warned them. “I don’t want to get a report that you was in some bull-junk in our apparel, representing us. ‘Kids in the back of class making noise, he’s free-styling to the whole class while I was trying to teach it’ with a Jackson State football shirt on. Not going to happen.”
Proper student-athlete behavior is necessary, Sanders insisted because “if you need help from that professor,” Sanders told his players, “they gonna recall your character.”
Sanders made the speech while standing in front of a presentation slide which discusses the importance of consistency. Sanders verbally reiterated the importance of consistency during his speech as well.
Last year under Sanders’ leadership, the Tigers certainly demonstrated consistency on the field. They finished 11-1 and a perfect 8-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In the COVID 2020 season, Sanders’ first year as head coach, the team went 4-3.
Since his arrival at JSU, Sanders has also made waves in the college football recruiting world. He famously convinced a Georgia commit to flip to JSU back in 2020, and then in December, he officially brought in the highest-ranked college football prospect in the nation, Travis Hunter, who had previously committed to Florida State, where Sanders played college ball in the mid 1980s.
All twelve members of the SWAC are either public or private historically black universities. Jackson State is scheduled to kick off the 2022 season on September 4 against Florida A&M.