Deion Sanders has drawn a lot of attention to his program at Jackson State, as well as other D1 HBCU schools. Some of the other notable coaches in the HBCU ranks include former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson at Grambling and former Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Bowl running back Eddie George at Tennesse State.

While “Prime Time” is always confident in his players’ abilities, he’s not about to take on the big dog of the FBS level in the Alabama Crimson Tide just yet, claiming that his team is “not ready” to take on Nick Saban‘s squad and doesn’t want to sacrifice his kids just for a check.

“He’s not gonna play us right now,” Sanders said at SWAC media day. “We’re not ready to that. We’re not into sacrificing our kids to get a check. He got to give me another year.”

Sanders is referring to the age-old practice by major college football and basketball programs paying teams from lower-tier schools to play them at their building, essentially using the game as a warmup for a bigger challenge or as an opportunity to take a look at some of your younger players.

Despite the benefits a large check could do for a program like JSU, Sanders is already donating half of his salary (he’s paid $300,000 annually) to help out the program’s facilities this season. He also notes that he has to beef up his line, pointing out that the size differential between FBS and FCS players is substantial.

“I got to beef up in the front. The difference between Power 5s and HBCUs right now is those big guys in the middle,” Sanders said. “It’s not the quarterbacks, it’s not the receivers and DBs or the skill positions. It’s those big dogs in the middle. We’ve got to beef up that to be able to compete with something like that.”

The Tigers are definitely on the right path. Last season, they were one of the best HBCU football teams in 2021, going 11-2 and making it to the Celebration Bowl before they lost to South Carolina State at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Sanders was able to pull off one of the biggest recruiting feats this past class, signing the No. 1 player in the country in five-star athlete Travis Hunter.

A trip to Tuscaloosa would be a great experience for his players, but Sanders ultimately thinks his team is not ready for the kind of pressure they will face playing at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

With that being said, the Crimson Tide has an opening on its schedule in the fall of 2023.


About Jasper Jones

A native east coaster via Connecticut, Jasper is a writer for The Comeback and Audacy Sports. He decided to head south for college, attending the University of Kentucky and graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. Prior to joining The Comeback, Jones spent a year writing for FanSided's college football blog, Saturday Blitz, covering news surrounding the sport and recruiting. He spent the same amount of time doing some freelance work for the tabloid/sports outlet BlackSportsOnline. In his free time, Jones loves to cheer on his Kentucky Wildcats, collect sneakers, read a good book, and get in some gains at the gym. You can follow him on Twitter @jonesj2342.