To be clear, Deion Sanders’s message was strictly about what he has been and is building at Jackson State.
Let there be no misappropriation nor any quoting out of context.
As Sanders, Jackson State’s second-year head coach who’s generated a prodigious 14-2 ledger through his first two fall campaigns and catalyzed unprecedented attention on his and fellow HBCU football teams, elaborated Monday on his big-picture philosophy for building the Tigers’ program, it resonated that such an outlook likewise would be optimal at Arizona State.
The Sun Devils on Sunday fired Herm Edwards; a tenure that should already have ended at least a year ago finally, mercifully, found its end point.
“Because we’ve got a plethora of young people that just want to fit in with the crowd and cliques and whosoever wills,” Sanders said as to why he has focused on challenging his players to tap into their inner potential.
“They’re forgetting that there’s a level of commitment, there’s a level of dominance, level of perfection that you can claim if you desire. When they’re on Instagram and they start to follow people, they should watch the patterns. If they’re not leading you somewhere you want to go, you should unfollow them because it doesn’t make sense.”
There are no shortage of quality candidates for the Sun Devils’ head coaching post, and, in a year almost certain to carry less cache than the hit-on-16 blackjack-cycle of 2021, ASU likely is going to be one of the premium openings in this cycle.
And this carousel already features an opening in former college football mecca, Lincoln, Neb., and almost certainly will in major metropolitan areas from Atlanta to just north of Denver and more to come.
Who knows what might happen in the most dysfunctional little village on the plains, aka Auburn?
There’s an argument for all of them for Deion Sanders.
There are plenty strong points for Kendal Briles, Kenny Dillingham, Josh Gattis, Charles Huff; it’s not a stretch to say the Sun Devils need to examine Hugh Freeze, Bronco Mendenhall, former offensive coordinator Mike Norvell or even Bill O’Brien, who’s navigated scandal before and thus would not be daunted by Edwards’s left-behind trash heap in this situation.
Coach Prime, though, seemingly brings the total package.
To ASU, potentially in Atlanta and myriad other compass points. Sanders is a former standout-pro athlete in both Major League Baseball and the NFL.
The Arizona State campus is some dozen miles from downtown Phoenix, and entertainment options hardly are lacking in the Valley of the Sun.
But recruiting, because prep football is excellent in the area, also isn't exactly lacking in the region for the right coach.
Think Sanders couldn’t command interest? Jackson State presently is enjoying an attendance renaissance the likes of which the program has never seen, in a time in which butts on bleachers is a widespread concern throughout college football – and many other sports.
Think Sanders, already in a better position this cycle because of interest and interviews in the last one, doesn’t understand the marketing element, but also comprehend the need to curtail outside distractions in players?
“So many leaders that are truly not leaders … I’ll just say it like this, just because you’re walking in front don’t mean you’re leading,” Sanders said Monday, addressing the potential for social media to skew reality particularly amongst young people. “We got a lot of youngsters following people walking in the front, and they ain’t leaders.
“I pray to God we understand who, what, when, where, how in some form or fashion because young folks are our future. Truly our future. And I’m willing to invest everything I have in them.”
Already, Sanders is heavily active with transfer players via the NCAA Transfer Portal -- the Tigers' roster is dotted with Power-5 newcomers -- and also embraces the potential of Name, Image and Likeness opportunities.
Whatever is said about Deion Sanders’s outspoken opinions and outsized takes, his investment in young people is undeniable.
Which major college football program is going to make the ultimate investment in Coach Prime?