Where did deion sanders play college football ? He bathes in it, enjoying the way it glimmers across his skin. Prime Time has long embraced stardom, from his gridiron days to the studio and now on the sidelines. Sanders prances along the edge of the field like an A-lister. That’s because he is.
But it hasn’t always been that way. No, the most exciting coach in college football wasn’t always a marquee name. Before the glitz and the glamor, all the diamonds and flashbulbs, Sanders was once a scrawny cornerback prospect with dreams of making the grade in football, baseball and track and field.
When his college career started, he was an underutilized threat in nickel and zone packages. By the time he was done, he was one of the most exciting players to ever suit up in the college ranks.
Where did Deion Sanders play college football?
A hometown boy through and through, Sanders — a Fort Myers, Florida, native — chose to take his talents to Florida State. Tallahassee offered him an opportunity to persist with not one, not two, but three of his favorite pastimes: football, baseball and track and field.
As a freshman, Sanders saw precious little field time. He only made four starts, filling in mostly as an extra cover man in zone and nickel sets. He still showed signs of home run potential, however, reeling in an interception and batting away four passes in limited minutes.
The 1986 season — Sanders’ second year on campus — saw him fully earn the trust of FSU coach Bobby Bowden. The future Hall-of-Famer was placed straight into the fire and handed a starting job on opening day. He proceeded to shine under the glow of the Tallahassee sun, netting four picks, eight pass deflections and 61 total tackles (34 solo, 27 assisted) as a sophomore. For his efforts, he was named third-team All-American, status that cemented his place in the annals of 1980s college football.
If 1986 was Sanders’ spark, 1987 was the kindling that let his reputation burn brightly. Sanders followed up his stunning sophomore campaign with a nearly identical junior year, further evidence that he was a prospect NFL scouts had to glimpse with a closer eye.
Things really picked up in year four, however. Sanders bagged the Jim Thorpe Award for most outstanding defensive back. He was a ballhawk of the highest degree, snapping up five errant passes while also leading the country in punt return yardage. And, he made sure to leave Florida State fans with one gleaming gemstone of a memory; Sanders made the game-saving interception with five seconds left to lift FSU over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, his final collegiate game.
In total, Sanders nabbed 14 interceptions across his four years in the sun. His legacy is scrawled all over the campus nowadays; Sanders had his No. 2 jersey retired in 1995 and has been linked with a return to Tallahassee as a head coach since the moment he first put the headset on.
In all, Sanders is a Florida State icon. And although he rocks an entirely different gold at this stage in his career, it’s evident that Bowden and FSU swirl through his blood, giving him the foundation to set off on his much-vaunted coaching career.
Where did Deion Sanders graduate from college?
Sanders may have played at FSU. But his heart — and degree — belong to an HBCU. In 2020, Sanders graduated from Talladega College in Alabama.
Despite attending Florida State all those years ago, Sanders never officially graduated from the school. As such, he considers himself to be an HBCU alum rather than an FSU alum, a distinction that he emphasized during a press conference last month.
“No, no, no…actually, do you know where I graduated from? I graduated from an HBCU,” Sanders said. “So I’m a who? No, I’m a who? I thought it’s where you graduated from, isn’t it? Why do you keep calling me that when you know where I graduated from? I’m an HBCU grad.”
Deion Sanders at Talladega College
Sanders embraced the challenge of being a student while concurrently pursuing a coaching career. The then-Jackson State coach sped up his learning process through FASTtrack, a program designed to help adults juggling numerous responsibilities with pursuing their college education.
Not only did Sanders graduate from Talladega; he even spoke at the school’s summer graduation, offering advice and inspiration to his fellow graduates.
“I understand the screams and the yells and the adulation from your peers because I felt that on the field,” Sanders said during commencement. “But, sitting here, seeing your faces, seeing the joy, seeing the respect, seeing the work, seeing the toil, and the satisfaction when you walk across the stage blessed me so, so much.”
Deion Sanders’ Collegiate Feats
Sanders played college football at Florida State but was actually a three-sport athlete for the Seminoles. Sanders was a legendary cornerback for the Seminoles while also playing baseball and running track.
On the football field, Sanders doubled as an elite cornerback and punt returner whose records still stand today.
Sanders collected a total of 14 interceptions while returning four for touchdowns, a number still tied for the Florida State career record. Sanders still holds the FSU career record for number of punt returns and punt return yardage.
Sanders was a unanimous All-American during his junior and senior seasons and won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back his senior year. Sanders was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
By many accounts, Sanders enjoyed a collegiate career that was more akin to folklore. In the words of the Tallahassee Democrat, “The fictional All-America athlete who could do it all has come to life. He resides in right field for Florida State.”
These words were written in response to Sanders pulling off another athletic marvel. In between two baseball games, including the championship game Sanders helped Florida State get to, he ran with the track team. Just a couple of hours after playing a full game in the outfield, Sanders clocked a 10.3 in the 100m while still in his baseball pants.
Sanders earned All-America honors as a sprinter on FSU’s 4×100 relay team and played in the College World Series as an outfielder on the baseball team.
All of these feats helped Sanders earn professional accolades, where he also enjoyed plenty of success. Sanders was selected fifth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft, playing 14 years for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington, and Baltimore Ravens.
2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, he played in eight Pro Bowls, was named the 1994 AP Defensive Player of the Year, and won two Super Bowls.
A Sanders also played nine seasons of Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants. He is the only player in history to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series.
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