Just in case anyone needed a reminder that Deion Sanders is now "Coach Prime," Jackson State's newly-minted football coach wore a gold whistle around his neck Tuesday during his first full press conference as the leader of the Tigers. The day after he gave an impassioned speech during a celebratory introduction ceremony, Sanders' press conference yielded more insight into how he wants to approach the job.
Though he plans to return to Texas soon to finish out the season as the offensive coordinator for his son's high school team, Sanders is already working the recruiting trail. He's offered scholarships to several high school prospects and made it clear he will have no fear in pursuing elite talent.
"Confidence is my natural odor," Sanders said.
Let's understand that.
"I can have the best staff ever assembled, but if we don't get the players, that dream and that vision won't happen," Sanders said. "I do plan on securing the right talent and proper talent so we could fulfill all those dreams, desires and wishes of the wonderful fan base we have."
Here are the top takeaways from Sanders' Tuesday press conference:
Recruiting is everything
Asked if he would be recruiting players for the SWAC's scheduled spring season, Sanders wasted no time in responding and confirming he's already offered some scholarships.
"We're recruiting players, period," he said. "That's why those offers went out. Period. With an exclamation mark."
The ability to recruit at a higher level than Jackson State's peer institutions in the SWAC and FCS level is likely to be Sanders' best chance at early success, and he knows it. The Hall of Famer has the star power and NFL connections to make an attractive recruiting pitch to players with professional aspirations.
"The guys that we're targeting are playmakers, are players that can possibly play on Sundays," Sanders said. "That's what we're looking for. If your dream is not to play on Sunday, you're in the wrong place."
He also expressed a desire to recruit the state of Mississippi well, calling the talent in the state "unbelievable." But he also somewhat ambiguously expressed that he does not expect to compete with Mississippi State and Ole Miss for players.
"I'm not recruiting against Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin," Sanders said. "Read into that."
Coaching staff 'established'
Jackson State's coaching staff has not been announced yet, but Sanders said it has "been established for quite some time." Jackson, Mississippi-based TV reporter Joe Cook reported in a since-deleted Twitter post on Tuesday that former NFL stars Terrell Owens and Warren Sapp will be members of the JSU coaching staff. But Sanders refuted that in a tweet that also been deleted.
Sanders explained in his press conference why his staff has not been announced even though he says it is established.
"Some of those coaches are still employed at various colleges," Sanders said. "So we're just trying to secure them to make sure they don't ruffle any feathers. But that staff has been completed for quite some time, probably for the last several months it's been done. So everybody can stop texting, calling, tweeting and DM'ing trying to get your uncle, nephew and cousin a job because it's already done. That staff, like I alluded to yesterday, has 84 years combined of NFL coaching and playing experience."
Sanders joined Barstool Sports recently and launched a podcast. He's also got a high school coaching season to finish before he relocates full-time to Mississippi. But as a former multi-sport star, he seems to be unfazed about juggling multiple interests.
"Being a head coach is really having the ability to do multiple things simultaneously and maintain the main thing being the main thing," Sanders said. "This is the main thing. I'm doing several things as a human being, as a man, as an entity. But this is the main thing and it will always be that."