Deion Sanders should be the No. 1 college coaching candidate.  1 in the country … starting with Arizona State

Deion Sanders should be the No. 1 college coaching candidate. 1 in the country … starting with Arizona State

Deion Sanders is the only player to play in both the Super Bowl and the World Series, not to mention the only player to ever hit an MLB home run and record an NFL interception in the same week.

On October 11, 1992, he played in an NFL game and suited up for an MLB game … on the same day … in two different cities. That probably beats the time at Florida State when he won the 100 and 200 meters in morning track and then started as a center fielder for the Seminoles baseball team that night.

There are more, of course. A lot more, mostly in football. How many players can count both a Super Bowl reception and interception? Just two.

How about six different ways to score on an NFL touchdown (rush, reception, punt return, kick return, interception, fumble recovery)? Just Deion and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Dudley, who retired in 1953.

Is Sanders another world athlete? Hardly. As Jackson State’s head football coach, he is not only 14-2 in his last 16 games (including 3-0 this season), he is the only person to sign the No. 1 recruit. 1 in America ever (cornerback Travis Hunter) to an FCS school.

And this is no part-time, celebrity coach. Watch Hunter, who put his faith and his future in Sanders, cry gratefully on his coach’s shoulder before their first game together.

Perhaps the biggest conundrum in major college football is the rarity of Arizona State — with its resources, location, weather and so on. The Sun Devils have posted one top-10 finish in 35 years (back in 1996). He fired Herm Edwards on Sunday after being beaten by Eastern Michigan.

So here we have a possible situation — the program that seems to be capable of everything but inexplicably can’t get out of its own way and the man and coach who spent his life redefining what’s possible .

Deion Sanders to Arizona State? Now there would be something.

Sanders, of course, is coaching Jackson State and has said in the past that he wants to continue his work there, specifically, and for HBCUs in general. If so, good. It’s been an incredible story so far.

That said, Sanders has interviewed for major conference coaching jobs, including TCU and Arkansas. “I should have them,” Deion said – in classic Deion style – on “The Dan Le Batard Show” last winter.

He should get the next one for sure. Deion Sanders should be the No. 1 coaching candidate. 1 in the country that Urban Meyer is not named this year. And even then, Meyer comes with baggage and the promise of a potentially rough ending.

Sanders? He will arrive with flair, drive and a whole new mindset, with goals that seem unlikely when first told.

That should be especially enticing for ASU, which many agree just needs the right guy to become a juggernaut. It’s a city school, a fun school, a cool school. Almost everyone (athlete or not) who ever set foot in Tempe looked around with the same reaction – this is incredible.

The right man can finally do it. Attendance, fan excitement, media, booster donations, business support and so on.

Sanders, the son of a colorful drum major, is the hype king. Once known as “Neon Deion” and “Primetime,” he now refers to himself as “Coach Prime” … at least when he’s not responding to “GOAT” in Aflac advertising.

Deion Sanders is 18-5 so far at Jackson State, including a 3-0 record to start this season.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Deion Sanders is 18-5 so far at Jackson State, including a 3-0 record to start this season. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Sanders can probably be a successful coach anywhere, but that doesn’t mean he should try.

Nebraska is open, after all, but Deion in the cold fields of Lincoln seems out of place. Auburn should be available, and that would be very tempting — and putting him up in the Iron Bowl across from fellow Aflac star Nick Saban. Would it work well with the historically toxic boosters and in a small town setting? Maybe. Maybe not.

Sure Sanders would be back at his huge alma mater, but Mike Norvell’s Seminoles are 3-0, so that might not happen.

Arizona State is a sleeping giant for the right person and Sanders seems to check all the boxes.

If nothing else, it would immediately change recruiting success. Arizona State hasn’t signed a four- or five-star in-state recruit since 2017 – missing 32 players ranked as such by Rivals.com. Almost all of them were from the Phoenix area.

This would be national, however. Sanders can lure prospects to a palm tree-lined campus that sits minutes from one of the country’s largest airports. And don’t forget the transition market, where Sanders is unapologetically aggressive — “we live in the watershed,” he once said.

He could also join a half-dozen young stars from Jackson State, including, perhaps, his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders (10 TDs, 0 interceptions this season).

Perhaps best of all, Sanders has shown that he is more than a showman. This isn’t about one flashy recruiting win or arriving at a press conference with a marching band and an Escalade.

Jackson State is well organized, well run and well coached. It’s the little stuff that former NFL star players or coaches usually wear on campus when they return. Not Sanders. Despite dealing with a terrible water failure across the city, JSU is outscoring opponents 141-30 this season.

So, would it all make it to the desert, where the promise of a powerhouse has remained like a mirage for years?

Could we get Coach Prime rolling up to PHX and picking up some five-star recruits in a Bentley as the rest of the country starts to worry that the giant has finally woken up?

Maybe only Deion Sanders knows, but the perennially beaten Sun Devils better call and find out.

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