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Deion Sanders coaching options: Georgia Tech, Auburn and what it will take to stay at Jackson State

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Since Georgia Tech is firing Jeff Collins on Sunday (the move will become official on Monday), it is my understanding that there is a Jackson State head coach tab in the program. Deion Sanders as its main goal.

This makes a lot of sense. Is there anyone more popular in Atlanta than the former Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons star? It’s a natural place to hire in a city where Sanders is revered and one of the most fertile places for top-level football talent in the country. The move will stir up a fan base that yearns for Georgia Tech to become a player in the mainstream college football scene.

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This is how I currently rate Sanders’ landscape. Keep this in mind: Sanders is already a very wealthy man. He will not make decisions because of money. He will make decisions on inheritance. I will talk about all this today in The Block. (13:00 ET, 247Sports YouTube page).

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But there are issues and drawbacks. Is Georgia Tech committed to — I mean, Indeed wants to play football at the highest level? Sanders is not up for second place, and he will look to be able to compete with all the blue bloods in infrastructure, recruiting, zero revenue and player amenities. From an academic standpoint, Georgia Tech is hard to get into. Being just an academic classifier will not be enough. You have to be serious about being an elite student if you want to play at Georgia Tech. There are many famous players with excellent grades, but not all of them want to compete at such an academic level when pursuing their dreams in the NFL. This is what Sanders will have in mind as he weighs this job.

Despite the natural fit between Coach Prime and the city of Atlanta and the desire to reunite them, there are important details that need to be worked out. Georgia Tech’s power brokers must decide what its identity as a college football program will look like, because location in Atlanta alone is not enough to compete at the highest level. You need an elite staff, a recruiting and staffing department, you need the commitment and capability of NIL, and you certainly need an academic support staff for football to make sure the players have all the resources to complete the course load you require as university. Clemson and Miami, for example, are in full force. Is Georgia Tech ready to compete with them?


As the carousel continues to spin, Sanders will have other options. As Auburn and Brian Harsin’s breakup seems almost inevitable, Sanders will be someone Auburn is seriously considering. Wheelers and dealers in Auburn are always making moves behind the scenes; I do not exclude the possibility that someone in the Auburn through an intermediary will assess the interest of Sanders even before the move is made regarding Harsin.

Auburn is a much better fit for Sanders, and with Florida State not reopening any time soon (Mike Norvell has fixed the ship and is preparing the Seminoles), it will also be the best opening in the 2022 cycle. Sanders has the recruiting skills to compete with the best in the SEC West, and Auburn is willing to spend whatever he needs in terms of hiring. The Tigers will instantly become top contenders in every recruiting class. Auburn is an Under Armor school, and Sanders is also affiliated with Under Armor – this will be a huge recruiting factor given the number of top players who attend the camps organized by UA and its staff. Nike/Oregon-esque influences here.

With 4 to 12 teams in the college football playoffs in the near future, you also don’t need to win the SEC every year to get into it. Consistent wins in 10 games will be enough for Auburn to always be there at the end with a chance to hold the trophy.


Let’s not discount the fact that staying in Jackson State is a very real option, and one that many in the HBCU community hope will work. Sanders knows part of his legacy can be to help grow HBCU football across the board. And his mission is to take Jackson State (and HBCU with it) to a national level that hasn’t been there before. Deep down, I think that’s what Sanders would have preferred to do.

However, like Georgia Tech, Sanders needs to know that Jackson State intends to reinvest in its football program. Sanders wants Jackson State to consider moving to the FBS level. He made it clear to the administration of Jackson State. Otherwise, Sanders will feel cornered, stuck in a place that isn’t big enough for the vision he has. It’s a difficult move and will take a long time, but Sanders is leaving these logistical issues up to the administration; at this point, the ball is still in Jackson State’s side.

Carl Reed is a 247Sports college football analyst and former head coach at St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North where he won the 2019 state championship. He played American football at Austin Peay.


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