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#pounditFriday, June 9, 2023

Deion Sanders has brutally honest take on playing Alabama

Jackson State University head football coach Deion Sanders speaks to media during a press conference at JSU’s Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Photo Credit: Eric Shelton/Clarion Ledger via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Alabama coach Nick Saban signaled a willingness to face HBCUs like Jackson State, but Deion Sanders is not accepting the invitation just yet.

After Saban said earlier in the week that he would like to schedule HBCUs, particularly in-state ones, Sanders was asked about that at SWAC media day on Thursday. The Jackson State coach was brutally honest about his team’s readiness to take on such a challenge.

“He’s not gonna play us right now,” Sanders said, via Mike Rodak of “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 added that he does think he could match his skill players up reasonably with Alabama. Where Jackson State would run into problems, however, is in the trenches.

“I got to beef up in the front,” Sanders added. “The difference in Power 5s and HBCUs right now is those big guys in the middle. 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.”

Sanders brought in some star recruits at Jackson State, including consensus No. 1 Travis Hunter. He is correct, however, that Alabama gets so much of its success from having pro-level players on both lines. Sanders is still trying to get there.

The good news is no personal grudge would seemingly get in the way of an Alabama-Jackson State matchup. Perhaps it is something we will see in a few years.

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