Last weekend, the Colorado Buffaloes football program made a giant splash by hiring Deion Sanders to serve their vacant head coaching position.
Sanders has been the head coach of the Jackson State Tigers since 2020, garnering a 27-5 record with the school up to this point. Sanders led the Tigers to back-to-back SWAC Championships in 2021 and 2022, and they’ll next play the North Carolina Central Eagles in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17.
Sanders’ arrival has Colorado sports fans buzzing, and for good reasons. But on the other side of the coin, his loss is a big blow for Jackson State. Sanders posted a video that has gone viral of himself informing Tigers players that he was taking the Buffaloes’ head coaching position.
Complex spoke to several Tigers players and asked them for their takes on the public backlash that Sanders has received from social media over his decision to leave. Several of those players defended “Prime Time”, with linebacker Jurriente Davis praising Sanders for changing the culture in Jackson State:
“I just know it’s pros and cons to everything. We knew as the team the world was gonna blow up. I know the culture is shocked right now especially Jackson State culture. Some people look at it like a hit to the face but some people look at it like a good thing. Even being here from January, he’s changed the culture a lot. A lot of people might look over that as far as the locker room. He used his whole salary to put that money into the locker room. Coach Prime didn’t use Jackson State, he had to elevate. If Coach Prime left 10 years from now, people would probably still bash him.”
Defensive lineman Jason Mercier also defended Sanders, saying he made “a great decision”, and that social media shouldn’t be critiquing the Pro Football Hall of Famer’s call:
“He did it for a good reason. From my opinion, it was a great decision he made. I feel like social media has been wrong to do that in the first place. They shouldn’t be bad-talking him, he did a lot to get this far. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen College Gameday at an HBCU. I don’t understand why people are bad-talking him. He did a good job. On top of that, people still have exposure because of him. Just because he left doesn’t mean they’re going to stop looking at guys here. He really just put more eyes on the guys and it’s on them to see what they wanna do with it. He opened the doors.”
“I don’t understand why people don’t see the positive,” added cornerback Isaiah Bolden. “Coach Prime came out of his pocket to built a great HBCU locker room, almost like a Power 5 locker room. The whole money thing didn’t make sense to me. Even right now, it’s not the money for him. It’s more to put his people on. That’s how I see it. He did what he said he was going to do. He put HBCUs on the map in my opinion.”
The once-proud Buffaloes are coming off one of the worst seasons in program history, having lost 11 of 12 games. Their 2022 season ended with a humiliating 63-21 loss to the No. 14 ranked Utah Utes on Nov. 26.
The former NFL and MLB star is being tasked with turning around the FBS program following a highly successful three-year tenure with Jackson State. His son, Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders, is also coming to Boulder to help save the franchise.
Only time will tell how this all plays out, but this much is clear: It’s been quite a while since there was this much hype and excitement around the Buffaloes football team.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.