BOULDER, Colo. — Deion Sanders said Monday that a report that Colorado had offered him his head coaching job was true and that he had also attracted interest from other schools.
The Jackson State football coach didn’t say if he’s considering any of the opportunities, including trying to turn around the Buffaloes’ beleaguered program.
Sanders didn’t elaborate on a conference call for Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game attendees who reached out in addition to Colorado, saying, “I’m not going to sit here and tell all my stuff. , But they are not the only ones. “
The university has not commented on candidates to replace Karl Dorrell, who was fired in October. Interim coach Mike Sanford finished the Buffaloes 1-11 season.
On Saturday, Fox Sports reported without citing sources that Colorado had offered the job to Sanders.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer guided Jackson State, a historically black university that plays in NCAA Division I football’s second tier, to an 11-0 mark this season. The Tigers host Southern in the SWAC Championship on Saturday.
Known as “Prime Time” during his playing career, the magnetic Sanders prefers “Coach Prime” these days. He said the offer to coach the Buffaloes is not a distraction.
“For anyone else who hasn’t been that guy, it’s intoxicating. I’ve been ‘Prime’ for a long time, man,” Sanders said with a laugh. “Attention is nothing new to me. Like, come on. I’m not bragging – it’s a wonderful word, isn’t it? I just made it up – but it doesn’t isn’t new to me. Being in the spotlight isn’t new to me.”
Whoever takes over at Boulder has his work cut out for him. The Buffs went 1-8 in the Pac-12 and capped off their dismal season with a blowout 63-21 loss to No. 12 Utah at Folsom Field on Saturday.
Before the season, Colorado lost several starters through the transfer portal, an area Sanders could surely shore up if he accepted the job from the Buffaloes.
Hired by Jackson State in September 2020 after coaching his sons at a Texas high school, Sanders called the adjustment a “match made in heaven.” He quickly elevated the Mississippi Capital School to SWAC Champion in one calendar year.
The Tigers followed a 4-3 finish in a pandemic-delayed spring season with an 11-2 showing last fall, a remarkable leap led by Sanders’ son Shedeur Sanders at quarterback. They lost to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl.
Jackson State’s performance was significant beyond securing its first conference title since 2007. A program that produced Hall of Famers such as Walter Payton, Lem Barney, Jackie Slater and Robert Brazile was again relevant among historically black colleges and universities, and Sanders was determined to keep it that way.
Sanders also scored on the recruiting track, landing five-star defensive back Travis Hunter and four-star receiver Kevin Coleman for this year’s undefeated team. Sanders told The Associated Press in an October podcast that both players chose JSU because he and his team would prepare them for NFL careers.
Still, Sanders noted that schools such as Jackson State remain inherently disadvantaged when it comes to recruiting.
“So now it becomes an option,” Sanders said of the top rookies picking HBCUs. “But it’s not really a balanced option because of the facilities, because of the housing. Because of the whole aesthetic of HBCUs. We’re underfunded and neglected. So it’s not the same thing. “
Sanders’ success in raising the profile of the championship subdivision program — not to mention bringing attention to black college football and the challenges JSU and other programs face in the field programs — has sparked speculation about Power 5 schools pursuing him for coaching vacancies.
Even before Sanders took the Jackson State job, he met with Power 5 school officials about their coaching vacancies and was impressed with his preparation.
Sanders was an All-American at Florida State before a stellar NFL career with five teams that included the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. He won a Super Bowl each with the Niners and Cowboys.
The 55-year-old – or whoever the new coach is – would enter a Colorado program that is far from its glory days under Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney, who led CU to a national championship after the 1990 season.
The Buffaloes have only had one full winning season since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
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