TC Taylor, HBCU Gameday
2023 Football

Deion Sanders era in the rearview as Jackson State football moves on

With Deion Sanders gone, Jackson State football is taking TC Taylor’s image moving forward.

Perhaps the biggest question this HBCU football season is how different will Jackson State football be different under T.C. Taylor compared to Deion Sanders.

It’s a question that Taylor has been answering since December, including several times this week as he made the rounds at SWAC Media Day in Birmingham on Tuesday and at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge press conference in Atlanta on Wednesday. 

The former Jackson State wide receiver and assistant under Deion Sanders for the past several seasons says he’s picked up a lot from the former head coach, as well as others that have preceded him in that chair. 

“Being with Coach Prime the last few years, seeing how he did things as a first-time head coach — he was a first-time head coach when he came here,” Taylor said at SWAC Media Day. “ The expectations and the things he instilled in the players on a day-to-day basis were good. And you talk about the other coaches I’ve been around here as a player, just growing up around James “Big Daddy” Carson, Robert Hughes — the things they brought to the game here as great coaches.”

That being said, Taylor let it be known that this program will have its own personal stamp — on the field as well as the internet.
‘You look at what we did this spring. Under Armor came in and did a mini-documentary for us, and it was more about the players,” Taylor said Wednesday in Atlanta at the MEAC/SWAC press conference. “No knock on Coach Prime. Great career here at Jackson State. You know I learned a lot from him.”

Jackson State football head coach T.C. Taylor.
Jackson State head coach TC Taylor. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)

“I’m not a big talker. You won’t see a lot of the social media stuff that you’ve seen in the past,” Taylor said. “A lot of it’ll be a lot more about the players because I’m all about them elevating. Coach Prime did that previously also. So it’s just a little bit different. Different era, different things going on moving forward.”

Numbers themselves dictate that this will be a different era. Taylor says there will be 60 to 70 players on this year’s squad that weren’t a part of the 2023 run. That includes 11 of the 12 All-SWAC players Jackson State had at the end of last season.

“Another thing is to a lot of those kids that was there for him (Deion Sanders) are not here anymore,” Taylor said. “They playing for TC, and that’s the thing going forward. So they’re going to kind of take on more of my image and the way I approach things.”

Jackson State football was picked to finish second in the SWAC East behind Florida A&M and had just one player selected to the preseason All-SWAC team. 

“I’m excited about the support that we’ve received as a program. And not just from Jackson State fans — just everybody in the country now,” Taylor said. “A lot of that is because of what Coach Prime did for this program the last couple of years as a head coach. You talk about undefeated in the SWAC, two-time Celebration Bowl appearances and stuff like that…I just want to continue that blueprint. And at the same time put little tweaks here or there to my football team, but I’m excited about it.”

Deion Sanders era in the rearview as Jackson State football moves on
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