Deion Sanders is unarguably one of the hottest head coaching names in the college football ranks. Currently, Sanders is in his first season as the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffaloes have been a struggling power five program that hasn’t been relevant on the national landscape since the mid 1990’s having amassed just two 10-plus win seasons since 1997.
The Buffs are trying to change their misfortunes by hiring Sanders, and rightfully so. Sanders has the Buffs currently at 4-6 for a team that many had projected not to win more than two or three. This comes after a 1-11 campaign that saw a mass exodus of players entering the 2023 season in which Sanders had to totally rebuild.
While Sanders only has a year under his belt in FBS, he achieved much success in the FCS ranks during his time as head coach at Jackson State University that was part of the SWAC conference. Sanders arrived in Jackson to coach the Tigers in 2020 and went 27-6 in three seasons with the school, turning them into a SWAC power by 2022. Sanders also landed some impressive recruits at the FCS level including former ESPN five star, Travis Hunter. Hunter along with Sanders’ sons, Shedeur and Shilo, followed Sanders to Colorado when he made the move.
Although at this point Sanders doesn’t have a super long track record of success in turning around programs, the argument by his supporters is that he’s done so once on the FCS level, and is doing so again based on projections in Boulder for the Buffaloes.
This begs the question – does Sanders deserve a shot at an SEC head coaching job? And if so, where?
Here are my thoughts on which schools would make the most sense for Sanders in the SEC – whether they have a current opening or not.
Potential future SEC landing spots for Deion Sanders
Ole Miss – If Kiffin eventually leaves Oxford and the job opens, the fact that this storied program sits in Oxford, Mississippi bodes well for Sanders due to his time at Jackson State where he built recruiting ties throughout the state, and is familiar with the regional geographic footprint. Ole Miss also has great tradition and history and has seen a lot of success recently under head coaches Lane Kiffin and Hugh Freeze. Being on the cusp of separating themselves as a top tier SEC team could be a draw for Sanders to Oxford if given the chance.
Mississippi State – Arguably not as much history and success as their in-state rival Ole Miss. However, this is what could draw Sanders to the Bulldogs in Starkville after all. Who wouldn’t want to be “the coach” that got the program amongst the SEC’s elite. And possibly take them to a new year’s six bowl, their first college football playoff, or more?
Texas A&M – The Aggies have always been a team that desires to be amongst the leagues elite – whether it was during their years in the Big 12 or during their time in the SEC. However, they’re never actually just that. Sanders could put them over the top. Realizing this could be a big motivator for Sanders to test his luck in College Station. The Aggies also have an endless amount of resources and cash to go around, so it wouldn’t be difficult for Sanders to get anything he needs to ensure the best players come to and stay in College Station.
If and when a school does decide to offer Sanders, they’ll more than likely have to put up a good amount of money to get him. Sanders is currently the 32nd highest paid coach in FBS with a five-year $29.5 million contract. This salary would actually be third lowest amongst 2023 SEC head coaches according to Maroon & White Nation. However, Sanders is building a very strong and positive reputation. And he’s building it fast. More than likely whichever school hires him would have to put up way more than the amount that would make him the third least paid coach in the SEC, which would be more than the $5.9 million annually he’s making at Colorado right now.