Deion Sanders has been formally in place as Jackson State's head football coach for roughly 72 hours now and, no surprise, it's been an eventful 72 hours.
Let's break it down on all fronts.
More or less Coach Prime's first public act as Jackson State's head coach was to offer Maason Smith.
For those unfamiliar, Smith is 5-star defensive tackle out of Houma, La. Rated the No. 19 player in the Class of 2021 and the No. 3 defensive tackle, Smith would be the biggest fish landed by an HBCU since the sport was integrated decades ago. (It would also not be totally without recent precedent. 5-star center Makur Maker committed to Howard's basketball program in July.)
Smith is almost certainly not going to sign with Jackson State; industry insiders have becoming an LSU Tiger, with Alabama, Florida and Georgia in hot pursuit. Deion's offering of Smith is more about sending a message to all recruits, not Smith specifically.
"Just talking to me about changing the culture," Smith told 247Sports.
"He was saying how they wanted things to change. So to do that they had to take hard hits and try and start getting quality four- and five-star dudes."
While he likely won't land Smith, Deion has successfully intercepted his first player from an SEC neighbor. Mississippi State cornerback Javorrius Selmon announced on his Twitter account Tuesday that he is "coming home to play for Coach Prime."
A 3-star freshman, Selmon opted out of the season on Sept. 13.
“You’ve got to believe that we can accomplish the unattainable," Sanders said Monday. "If you don’t believe you can make it to the NFL, you picked the wrong school. We need some dogs that truly believe."
Local news reporter Joe Cook reported Tuesday that Deion's staff would include fellow Pro Football Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Terrell Owens, among others.
While FootballScoop could not confirm Sapp and Owens, sources have said Sanders is targeting established college coaches like Dennis Thurman, Mario Edwards and Jason Phillips, in addition to staff holdovers TC Taylor and Otis Riddley.
“We’ve met twice a week on Zoom for quite some time. We’ve already had installs, offensive and defensively, as well as special teams. The reluctancy is just to secure people. Some of those people are still employed at various colleges,” Sanders said Tuesday. “We’re just trying to secure them to make sure they don’t ruffle any feathers, but that staff has been completed for quite some time. Probably for the last several months, it’s been done.
That staff, like I alluded to yesterday, has 84 years combined of NFL coaching and playing experience.”
Sanders responded to Cook's since-deleted tweet saying this.
Coach Prime also re-tweeted this message saying the full staff will be announced next month.
Moving to Jackson
How does a guy worth a reported $40 million find a suitable place to live in Jackson, Mississippi? Great question. Apparently he hires Twitter as his realtor.
His other job
The most pressing question upon Deion's hiring was if the new Jackson State head coach would continue his side gig as a podcaster for Barstool Sports.
Deion formally announced he'd taken the Jackson State job on his new show, 21st and Prime, in the show's premier episode on Sunday. Episode 2 dropped this morning.
And, yeah, this is going to be a thing. Here's Barstool CEO Erika Nardini.
And while Deion was out recruiting players like Smith to join his football team, he was also recruiting Jackson State to help his other employer. (Note the golden whistle. That is a nice touch.)
Look, we're in a new age in college football. Players spend all their free time on their phones and, when you're an FCS school, maybe it's not the worst way to stay top of mind to have your celebrity coach remain with the top digital sports media company on the market. Particularly when you're not playing this fall.
In addition to his own podcast, Deion also appeared on Barstool's Sunday morning NFL preview show in its first two weeks on the air. Presumably that will continue this Sunday and beyond as well.
It's no wonder why Barstool wanted Deion to continue working for them when he took the Jackson State job. It's a slightly more puzzling conundrum why Jackson State allowed the arrangement to continue.
The most likely explanation is that they didn't have any choice. If Jackson State wanted Coach Prime, they probably had to take 21st and Prime along for the ride.