In early 2021, Jackson State University (JSU), a small Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Jackson, Mississippi, hired hall-of-fame cornerback Deion Sanders (Coach Prime) as their head coach. Coach Sanders began his coaching career at JSU, and during his tenure, he completely turned around the JSU football program as well as making a big name for himself in the sports media world. Sanders shocked the world landing five-star recruit, wide receiver and cornerback Travis Hunter, gaining major publicity for himself as well as the school. In his final season at JSU, Sanders and Hunter led the Tigers to an undefeated regular season, but would ultimately lose to North Carolina Central 41-34 in the Cricket Celebration Bowl.
Following his impressive season at JSU, Coach Prime signed a new contract with a struggling Pacific-12 Conference team, the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). Upon his arrival, Coach Sanders completely changed what CU Boulder football looked like. Using the transfer portal, he brought many of his former players as well as other top athletes from across the United States to Colorado to come play for his team. “We got a few positions already taken care of because I’m bringing my own luggage with me, and it’s Louis, OK?” Sanders brought two of his top players from JSU with him, Hunter and quarterback Shedeur Sanders. Both have been making media headlines since before their arrival to CU Boulder.
Coach Prime began his Buffalo career off to a hot start, defeating the 2022-2023 National Championship runner-ups, Texas Christian University, in a 45-42 shootout. The Buffs would go on to dominate Nebraska in their home opener and defeat in-state rival Colorado State. The Buffs would have a major setback their next two games though, losing to top ranked Oregon and University of Southern California. Through thick and thin, Sanders continues to make a strong media presence, letting fans and opponents know about his team and his coaching style.
Sanders has made such a strong impact on the college football community due to his extremely unique coaching style. Sanders emphasizes not only the physical aspects of the football but also the spiritual and emotional development of his players. He is known for inspiring and motivating his players through his spiritual beliefs and the media which he integrates into his coaching style as well as a basis for creating strong relationships with his players. He encourages his players to have faith in God and themselves and to give max effort not just in football but in all aspects of their lives. Prime’s coaching style has benefited him in future recruitments: Isaiah Arriaza, a top ranked quarterback in the Class of 2026, said “The reason I would love to play for CU is because of Coach Prime. He is not only a great coach and one of the greatest football players of all time, he is also a man I would like to be like when I grow up.” Sanders has transformed these players and the program from young athletes to self sustaining men who can make a life for themselves outside of football, creating a lasting impact on college football while doing so.