Skip to main content

Kiffin, Leach, Coach Prime keep eyeballs on the 'Sip

Deion Sanders is tweeting. Offering his own thoughts, retweeting those of others or he and one of his myriad endeavors is the focus of tweets -- 110 times in an hour.

On a nondescript Wednesday.

Days removed from perhaps his biggest win as head coach and among the grander victories in Mississippi State history, Mike Leach wants his 376,000 Twitter followers to know about a unique business opportunity on a frigid, tiny island between Norway and the North Pole.

There’s a bar for sale. In Svalbard, according to the link Leach shares. Polar bears sometimes frequent the establishment.

Lane Kiffin isn’t basking in the afterglow of a Florida upset in his first year at Ole Miss, but his offense appears rather formidable.

And Kiffin is sharing a “What can I say?” Emoji in a retweet noting it’s been 12 years since Kiffin asked Sebastian Janikowski to attempt a 76-yard field goal.

Theme? Courtesy social media, and their undeniable football chops, the trio of college coaches – Sanders just hired at Jackson State last month; Kiffin and Leach in their first years at their latest programs -- have put the state of Mississippi football in perhaps its biggest spotlight in years — digitally speaking.

Combined, the group tallies nearly 2 million Twitter followers and growing; they use the platform for virtually any message.

Sanders spreads encouraging notes, recruiting pitches, hawks his neckties and promotes his 21st and Prime podcast.

Tuesday evening, one tweet suggested that Sanders should moderate a debate between Kiffin and Leach as alternative to the President Trump-Joe Biden back-and-forth.

Took Sanders all of three minutes to reply.

“That's hilarious but I like it. Lolol I love both guys,” Sanders tweets.

A month ago, in a video posted to Twitter, Leach sits in his Starkville office and discusses his anti-pineapple pizza stance with only the understated eloquence the Pirate can muster.

“I love pineapple; I eat more pineapple than most people do,” says Leach, in a Trumpian statement grandiose in nature. “Actually, and not because I planned to eat it, really; I've actually grown pineapple. Because it turns out you just twist the top off and stick it in the ground and it will grow for you.

“But mixed metaphor; you're either eating pineapple or eating a pizza. Make up your mind.”

At times a reluctant fixture in the spotlight, Kiffin nonetheless is sublime using Twitter as a recruiting platform. During his Florida Atlantic days, his “#CometotheFAU” tweets oftentimes got celebrity engagement.

Now in Oxford, Kiffin retweets compliments about Ole Miss' new powder blue uniforms and commitments of stud prospects, such as four-star safety Tysheem Johnson's decision to commit to the Rebels instead of Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, among others.

Kiffin also doesn't mind speaking his mind; it's usually simply accompanied by his omnipresent smirk. This week it's about the SEC's initial stance of holding up intraconference transfers who already gain NCAA clearance; a rule the SEC is amending – for at least this pandemic season.

“I don't think there should be a rule,” Kiffin said in his weekly presser. “That's not just for Otis (Reese) but in general. You have the rule in place that you have to sit, but if you win an NCAA waiver for things, I don't know why you wouldn't [be immediately eligible to play]. Then just having to go over an SEC hurdle, that doesn't make sense to me.

“I obviously know why it was. People didn't want people transferring in conference, but that's not what it's supposed to be. It supposed to be about the student-athlete. There are circumstances where a kid wins an NCAA waiver. The SEC, in my opinion, shouldn't be blocking that. I just think it's because it was set in stone years ago to block kids. That's why they are reviewing it, since there's obviously people that feel the same."

Five-star prospect Maason Smith's most popular tweet is the one from Sanders' first day on the job as Jackson State's new head coach; the one where Smith shares he's received a football scholarship offer from 'Coach Prime' and JSU. It's received 1.4 thousand likes and more than 150 retweets, Smith's most popular message by far on his account.

Sanders has said he is not recruiting against the state's two SEC programs, nor its head coaches.

“Read into that what you will,” he said in a press conference.

Merely 160 miles separate Ole Miss from JSU; it's less than 130 between JSU and Mississippi State. The two SEC rivals are separated by a hundred miles.

There's going to be competition for recruits, eyeballs and more. It's the early stages of this new Pirate-Prime-LaneTrain era of Mississippi football.

The digital viewing already is must-see entertainment.