Jackson State head football coach Deion Sanders confirmed Monday that he has received an offer from Colorado to become the next head coach of the Buffaloes.
Last week, Adam Munsterteiger of 247Sports.com reported that CU has made an offer to Sanders. Over the weekend, national outlets picked up on that report, as well.
“The report is true,” Sanders said Monday during the SWAC championship game press conference. “They’re not the only ones, but the report is true. I’m not going to sit here and tell all my business, but they’re not the only ones. I would be a liar if I told you they didn’t. You know they did, I know they did; everybody there know they did, so it is what it is. That’s not my focus right now.”
Colorado (1-11, 1-8 Pac-12) completed its season with a 63-21 loss to No. 12 Utah on Saturday. The Buffs are seeking a full-time replacement for Karl Dorrell, who was fired on Oct. 2. Mike Sanford has served as the interim head coach since Dorrell was fired.
Sanders will lead Jackson State (11-0) into the SWAC championship game against Southern (7-4) on Saturday in Jackson, Miss. JSU defeated Southern 35-0 on Oct. 29.
“My focus is to win and to be dominant,” Sanders said. “My focus is right here in this beloved stadium to be dominant on Saturday. That’s my focus and I keeps the main thing the main thing. Everybody who knows me knows that about me. I have an innate ability to focus and keep the main thing the main thing.”
A Pro Football Hall of Famer, Sanders, 55, is considered one of the best cornerbacks to in NFL history. Nicknamed “Prime Time,” he’s been referred to as “Coach Prime” during his time at Jackson State.
Hired in 2020 for his first-ever coaching opportunity in college, Sanders has gone 26-5 with the Tigers, including 22-2 the last two seasons.
Sanders won the Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision, last year. He is a finalist for the award this year and could become just the second back-to-back winner, joining Craig Bohl of North Dakota State in 2012-13. Bohl is now the head coach at Wyoming.
As he prepares to lead his team into the SWAC title game, Sanders was asked how he’s able to avoid the distraction of rumors about CU or other schools coming after him. It has also been reported that South Florida is looking at Sanders.
Sanders laughed and said, “To someone else that hasn’t been that dude, it’s intoxicating. I’ve been Prime for a long time, dawg. Attention ain’t nothing new to me, come on. I’m not being braggadocious; this ain’t new to me. Being in the spotlight ain’t new to me. I’ve got to just turn that light and channel it to my kids, channel it to my coaching staff, channel it to the support staff.”
Colorado athletic director Rick George told BuffZone last week CU has always planned to have an announcement of a new head coach before Dec. 5. If Sanders accepts CU’s offer, an announcement would likely not come before Saturday’s SWAC title game.
Following Saturday’s game a few players were asked about the Sanders rumors.
Guard Casey Roddick said the players haven’t talked much about the rumors. Quarterback Maddox Kopp said he works out with Shadeur Sanders, Deion’s son and JSU’s starting quarterback, during the offseason in Houston.
“We work out with the same QB coach,” Kopp said. “I’m sure I may see him when I’m back (in Houston) over Christmas break. But, I have no idea (about the coaching rumors). If it happens, it happens and we just kind of go from there. Just kind of playing it by ear and kind of react when the ball comes flying.”
Freshman running back Anthony Hankerson smiled when asked about Sanders and said, “Whoever comes in here, I know they’re gonna have great leadership. And whoever comes here, I hope they know that they’ve got a locker room full of men that’s willing to fight in the toughest battle because that’s all we faced this year.”
Senior outside linebacker Guy Thomas won’t be at CU for the next coaching regime, but said he feels the Buffs simply need a great leader, regardless of who gets hired.
“That’s pretty much what I would like to see out of the new staff – a coaching staff that will bring the guys together as one unit,” Thomas said.