Jackson State hosted a joint pro day with Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State to give the student-athletes a chance to show off their skills in front of NFL scouts. Twenty-two teams showed up. Jackson State coach Deion Sanders put on blast the 10 who didn’t.
In a video on Twitter from reporter Jeff Lightsy Jr., Sanders said he appreciated the teams that came to watch the student-athletes from the three HBCU schools, but said there are “32 teams in this Crayola box.” He said the Dolphins, Broncos, Texans, Bills, Buccaneers, Ravens, Panthers, Browns, Vikings and Eagles were not in attendance.
“Where art thou? You could’ve sent somebody man. You could’ve shown up just a little bit,” Sanders said. “But I guarantee you that you’re going to go to Mississippi State and Ole Miss. I guarantee you you’re going to show up there. I understand. I understand you’re saying they have more talent, I understand. Guess what? We coming. We coming. We coming. And when we arrive, you better be here. You better be here. Because our kids deserve it. You could’ve sent a scout. You could’ve sent somebody. It’s all I’m saying. We won’t forget.”
— Jeff Lightsy Jr. (@jlightsy7) March 22, 2022
According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, the three teams held a joint pro day, in part, to give more HBCU players a chance to show off their skills in front of NFL scouts. The joint pro day came a year after there were no HBCU players selected in the draft, something Sanders said he hopes never happens again.
“That’s not going to happen again. It’ll never happen again,” Sanders said, per the Clarion Ledger. “I know during the pandemic year we had an excuse, but that’s never going to happen again. My desire is 7-10 players this year. Then we’re going to try to double that.”
The Clarion Ledger reported that Jackson State linebacker James Houston did not receive an invite to the NFL Combine despite recording the second-most sacks in FCS at 16.5. It reported that he posted a 4.6 in the 40, a 39-inch vertical and a 10.6 foot broad jump.
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Sanders has overseen a major turnaround at Jackson State. The Tigers had not won a conference title since 2007 and had gone 21-40 since 2014. In 2021, his first fall season with the team after the pandemic pushed the 2020 campaign to spring 2021, Sanders led the team to a Southwestern Athletic Conference title behind a program-best 11-1 regular-season record.
The Tigers reached the Black national championship, Cricket Celebration Bowl, but lost to South Carolina State 31-10.
Sanders has already landed plenty of top talent in his short time with the Tigers. His 2021 recruiting class ranked 55th in the nation and featured five four-star recruits, according to 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.
And he’s already made a major splash in the next recruiting cycle, flipping the commitment of 247Sports’ top 2022 recruit, Travis Hunter, from Florida State. 247Sports’ Composite Rankings currently list Jackson State’s 2022 class as the No. 118 class in the nation.