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SWAC Football Championship Game Jackson State V. Southern U.

Source: Jackson State University / Getty

Jackson State University has a new head football coach. 

As the school moves on from the Deion Sanders era, they have hired T.C. Taylor, the wide receiver’s coach for the Tigers during their undefeated regular season, and a recommendation of Sanders. 

According to Sports Illustrated, Jackson State interviewed several candidates, including two former NFL players. An offer was extended but declined before evaluating Taylor’s candidacy and subsequently offering him the job.

“God always told me I’ll have an opportunity to come back here and be a part of this program. But to have this opportunity to be the head coach and the guy up front leading the charge, it’s an unbelievable moment right now,” Taylor told Andscape. “I’m seriously still kind of taking [it] all in, but I am excited about it, geared up ready to go.”

The new hire comes at a time when Jackson State and the HBCU community are adjusting back to life without Sanders. The hire comes as one of the last imprints Sanders will likely have on the Jackson State Program. 

“My recommendation goes to T.C.,” Sanders said in a postgame meeting with his team after the SWAC Championship. “They know how I feel about T.C. I want T.C., and several of the staff members here will be retained. I would not be here if it weren’t for this man.”

Taylor was not expecting the endorsement from Sanders but was appreciative of the NFL Hall of Famer turned PAC12 coach for the kind words. 

“That meant a lot, but it’s just a testament to how hard I work on a day-to-day basis. I just go about my business on a day-to-day basis. I practice consistency, and I just know when he said that it didn’t go unnoticed,” Taylor said. “I was doing [everything] for the players on this football team in order for us to be better, so I appreciate it. I told him that.”

As the new era for Jackson State athletics gets underway, Taylor will have to create his own blueprint for success at the Mississippi HBCU. For the fans down in Jackson, they hope that Taylor will create a legacy of his own. 

“The thing about Jackson State is there’s an expectation to win,” Taylor stated. “That’s one thing I remember coming up as a fan and as a player here. There’s an expectation to win, and that’s the type of football players we want on the field every day – guys that understand, want to bleed the blue, protect the block and guard the yard.”

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