The Rod Wave: Deion Sanders is an example of what is wrong with recruiting

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When football legend and former Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders signed to join the University of Colorado, he made waves with the following statement:  

“We got a few positions taken care of so I’m bringing my baggage with me and it’s Louis [Vuitton],” Sanders told the current Colorado football program. 

However, that’s not my problem with Sanders. I too would’ve taken the money to go from Jackson State to Colorado and may be in the minority in saying that I encourage this statement that many would agree is a heartless and cruel diss at this group of players. Football players in 2022 should know that absolutely nothing in this game will be handed to you and there is always another hungry player looking to take your spot.  

If Coach Prime says that his son Shedeur Sanders has more talent than you and is going to start over you, why should a player on the current roster be dissuaded by the challenge given to them? It’s up to them to accept the test from their new coach and train to take the starting job over Sanders’ “baggage”. If you’re not up for that challenge, enter the portal, but you should know the possible outcome of that player heading to an FCS program or, at the very worst, out of college football altogether. 

As I expressed at the beginning of my article, my problem goes back to his former program at Jackson State. Sure, there are going to be players like Travis Hunter Jr. who will enter the portal and find a home relatively easily because of his complete skill set. He already had numerous power five offers, and even if he did commit to the Tigers due in large part to the efforts of Sanders, he would’ve found a home thanks to what he’s been able to accomplish thus far in his college football career. While Trevonte Rucker is not as great of a talent as Hunter, he could still remain at Jackson State or enter the portal as well to find a new home. 

While this argument may seem obvious to many, it becomes evident after Sanders opted to move schools. The argument is that coaches should not be the primary factor to recruits as they commit to schools. There are many factors as to why this is, but Sanders makes it more obvious.  

For Hunter, sure, a large part of his commitment came down to the impact he would make by committing to an HBCU. Another part of that commitment comes down to Sanders himself, as being able to learn under one of, if not the greatest DBs in football is an opportunity that is incredibly difficult to pass up on. 

Despite this, I offer a different perspective. Is a recruit going to commit when their coach isn’t fully committed to the longevity of the program? The personality of Coach Prime has been widely publicized, and the ability for him to take a job with the Pac 12 to rebuild a program coming off of a 1-11 season is just too difficult to pass up and practically inevitable. From a recruiting standpoint alone, Sanders is incredibly valuable to an FBS program that is looking to compete for high level players. Therefore, when those higher offers came in, it felt almost inevitable that coach Prime was ready to take one of those opportunities to leave Jackson State. 

This brings me back to Hunter, who now has a dilemma with one of his first priorities being to make an impact by joining an HBCU. Do I fault Hunter by transferring when Sanders jumped ship to Colorado? No, but it does go against why he committed in the first place, by simply ditching the program and potentially heading with coach Prime to Colorado. It hurts the message that Hunter aimed to make and communicates the idea that it was truly all about Sanders in the first place. From a career standpoint, Hunter and Sanders are going to do what is best for the both of them, but for all of Jackson State who were committed to building something even bigger than their undefeated season in 2022, it’s a wakeup call.  

Therefore, what every recruit should learn from these events is that no recruit should commit to programs primarily because of a coach. Many college recruits fall into this hole, which is not somewhere you want to be in the hectic world of college football, where pieces that were once envisioned to be a huge part of the program can elect to transfer or leave in an instant. The focus should not only be on the entire staff, but also the entire team in general. They should want long term success for themselves, especially if they foresee themselves staying with the program for multiple years.  

If recruits all follow the path that Sanders and potentially Hunter are going down with Colorado, they immediately have to rebuild culture and hurt the bond that the current players in Colorado had prior to the arrival of coach Prime. Sanders is going to make Colorado better and even with the rise in competition from an FBS team, if he sticks true to his promise of bringing luxurious “baggage,” they should very well be able to exceed one win. 

Nevertheless, it’s still a bad message and one that high level recruits should take to heart. Many won’t be as lucky as Hunter and if a player fails to live up to the lofty expectations that recruiters put on them, they too may be in trouble when their coach opts for greener pastures and they’ll be thrown to the curb. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Give me a break…the Oklahoma coach Riley bailed to usc and took the star quarterback with him just last year…Jackson MS made $$$ from Prime time…and Jackson state 7games in one season on espn..GameDay…2championship in 3yrs..how many did Jackson state have in their history before he got there?? 0….Colorado will now get athletes at every position that will rival Alabama and Georgia..showtime is about to begin…year 1 Colorado will be a good team..yr 2 will be the beginning era of Colorado dominance..it’s not gonna be fair the athletes rushing to play for the icon ..

  2. Why is everyone so upset about coach Prime leaving JSU the school President is stealing money from the football program and wants the Headcoach to pay his staff out of his pocket and raises they keep lying to coach Prime and stealing from him and they don’t want to pay to feed the athletes on the football team 350.000 or 5mill you have to be crazy not to entertain the offer as far as the players following the coach he’s the reason those players chose to come to JSU in the first place so don’t hate be happy for the coach and players to be able to go 2 season without a loss 2 championship back to back he deserved the offer and took what he worked for as a Coach

  3. A coach announcing his son is the new ordained king of the time is outrageous. A fair coach will start the best player and encouraging competition for a first string position.

    To announce nepotism is the rule of law is revealing the incompetence of a new unprofessional coach.

    Colorado should save embarrassment and have Sanders pack those expensive bags!! Enough said!!

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