Malachi Wideman
Jackson State

Deion Sanders offers assessment of Malachi Wideman

A NFL scout recently quizzed Sanders about his former player.

Former Jackson State wide receiver Malachi Wideman could be on the verge of achieving his NFL dream with Tuesday’s NFL Supplemental Draft. His former coach Deion Sanders knows he has the physical talent but says other areas may still need some work.

During a zoom conference call hosted by Thee Pregame Show, Sanders said an unnamed NFL team called him personally inquiring about Wideman. Published reports indicate half of the teams in the NFL have expressed some form of interest in the JSU receiver.

“I’m not going to tell you the team, but it’s a team who just called me yesterday about Malachi, and I told him the truth about Malachi, (He’s) a Florida boy, so you know he’s one of my favorites. There are certain things that Malachi has to work on as a young man to develop himself to being a professional. A lot of these guys think when you go pro, you go pro. So you got to be a pro before you’re pro. You don’t get to the pros and say, I’m a pro. Malachi just has to work on some personal things that constitutes that he’s a pro even before he makes it to the pro,” said Sanders.

Malachi Wideman
Jackson State receiver Malachi Wideman goes up to catch a pass in warmups. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)

Wideman’s time at Jackson State was up and down, a reflection of Sanders’ assessment. In 2021 he led the SWAC with 12 touchdown catches, but in 2022 he only appeared in six of the 13 games. Doing everything that is necessary to stay on the field definitely a part of the professionalism Sanders referred to.

But when it comes to the talent, Sanders is blown away by Malachi Wideman.

“Oh my God, Malachi, that kid probably should be in the darn NBA. Let’s just get this straight. And that’s what I told the gentleman who called me, one of the scouts, I said go watch his basketball tape from high school and then call me back. He said oh my God. I said yeah, that’s the type of athlete he is. But life has to match up to the smart, tough, fast, disciplined, it has to match up with who he’s trying to be.”

Deion Sanders says the money can make you act funny

And Deion Sanders is well aware of the trappings that a NFL payday can bring to a young athlete right out of college. It’s something he has long warned others of.

“Money is only going to exemplify the weaknesses and the shortcomings that we have. Money don’t cover those things, it don’t shield us from those things. I’ve always said money makes you more of who you really are. So my prayer is that Malachi understands how serious this is and the talent that he has.”

Tuesday’s supplemental draft won’t have the fanfare of the regular NFL Draft. There are only two players in the draft pool, Wideman and Purdue wide receiver Milton Wright. Teams will bid future draft picks if they desire either of the two players. It’s an auction format and the winning bid is determined by which team surrenders the best draft pick. If there is a tie, the team ranked higher in draft order, determined by a three-group lottery, will receive priority.

Sanders added that his phone is always open for Wideman if his former player needs him.

“I love him to life, man. I really do. I’m praying for him and he knows that he could call me anytime. Malachi knows that, all my kids that played for me at Jackson know that.”

Deion Sanders offers assessment of Malachi Wideman
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