After losing four games in a row, Auburn decided it was time for a big change. The Tigers decided to fire head coach Bryan Harsin on Monday morning. The program also said via a statement that it will begin an “immediate search for a coach that will return the Auburn program to a place where it is consistently competing at the highest levels and representing the winning tradition that is Auburn football.”
Under Harsin, who was in the middle of his second season with the team, Auburn went 9-12 and 4-9 in SEC play. Additionally, the Tigers lost 10 of their last 13 games and went 1-9 in their previous 10 contests against Power Five schools.
Many names popped up as potential candidates for the Auburn job. One of the most popular was Jackson State’s, Deion Sanders. The former NFL star has been considered a future Power Five coach, and this is perhaps his biggest opportunity to take a job at a notable FBS school.
Here are three reasons why Deion Sanders is the perfect fit for the Auburn football head coach job.
3. His history at Jackson State is too good to ignore
Deion Sanders is currently in his third season with the Jackson State Tigers. He is 23-5 overall and 14-2 in SWAC play. So far in 2022, his Tigers are undefeated at 8-0 and ranked No. 9 in the FCS.
Although he is commanding a lower-level school and playing against FCS teams, his record is too good to ignore. Prior to his hiring in 2020, the last winning season by Jackson State was in 2013. It shows how he inherited a program that did not have a positive recent history, yet he turned things around right away. For example, the 2021 SWAC title was the team’s first since 2007. Also, this championship was during his first full season with the team as 2020 was shortened due to COVID-19.
Prior to Jackson State, Sanders only had head coaching experience in high schools. It shows how quickly he can adapt and lead teams to big things. A jump to the SEC might seem a bit too much, but Sanders could surprise everyone once again.
2. His versatile NFL experience
Another aspect that helps Sanders’ case as the next Auburn football HC is his time as a professional player. He played 14 seasons in the NFL, winning back-to-back Super Bowls, one with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the Dallas Cowboys. Individually, he won Defensive Player of the Year and made the Pro Bowl eight times.
Most importantly, his versatility as a player is what sets him apart from other candidates. In the NFL, Sanders played significant roles in the offense, defense, and special teams. As a cornerback, he registered 512 total tackles and 53 interceptions for nine touchdowns. As a wide receiver, he caught 60 passes for 784 yards and three scores. Playing in special teams, he was mainly a return specialist with nine return touchdowns.
That means that, at the very least, Sanders is familiar with all areas of the game. This makes him a coach who can be more involved with all players since he understands their roles. He can also notice things that other coaches would not do due to his on-field experience.
Sanders would certainly be a big voice in the locker room. Offense, defense and special teams would have someone to look up to, which could create a bigger bond among the players.
1. His name could impact the program in multiple areas
Perhaps the main reason why Deion Sanders would be the perfect fit for Auburn football is his name. A program with a Pro Football Hall of Famer as its head coach would certainly put it in the spotlight. The Tigers would gain more attention and respect across the nation, which would result in some benefits.
The hiring of Sanders could impact recruiting in Auburn. Prospects would recognize his name, and it could affect their decisions. Playing for Sanders would give them more visibility and learning opportunities. Also, now that they can profit under the NIL agreement, it could financially be a good option to join the Tigers.
Regarding money, the Auburn program could also benefit from hiring Sanders. Football fans in general could buy more tickets and merchandise just because they want to see and represent Sanders’ team. This could result in more nationally and prime-time televised games. Consequently, it could attract more sponsors and new fans to Auburn Athletic Department.
At the end of the day, hiring Sanders would impact the Tigers’ program both on and off the field. It could make Auburn a better team, such as an SEC and College Football Playoff contender while bringing more revenue and fans as well. Most importantly, Sanders could bring back the respect and power that Auburn football had just some years ago.