ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith talks about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers being “a bad man”, because of the way he plays on the football field.
SWAC football is coming to grips with having to stop Jackson State’s own “bad man” sophomore quarterback, Shedeur Sanders. Sanders, last year’s Jerry Rice Winner as the best freshman football player in the conference, has yet to throw an interception this season or lose a SWAC game in his career.
“The game is starting to slow down for me,” Sanders said earlier this season. “I am in my second season as a starter, and I recognize what defenses are trying to do to us.”
Sanders always had great study habits and a work ethic. His game has gone to another level because he’s a year older and able to talk to NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for advice.
That might be a part of the reason Sanders has thrown for 956 yards, 10 TDs, and two rushing touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 175.
Last week against Grambling, Sanders threw for 413 yards along with throwing four TDs and rushed for two touchdowns as JSU’s offense gained 608 total yards. Sanders was selected as the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. For his efforts, Sanders was chosen the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
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One of the reasons Sanders is putting up video game numbers can be credited to first-year Offensive Coordinator Brett Bartolone. Bartolone brought with him the Air Raid. He knows the ins and outs of the offense having been recruited and played under Air Raid co-originator Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach.
Bartolone played wide receiver under Leach when both were at Washington State. As a true freshman, Bartolone led the Cougars in receiving. A shoulder injury derailed his playing career, but he stayed on as a student assistant and helped Coach wide receivers.
On Wednesday during a College Football Live interview on ESPN, Tiffany Greene asked Sanders why JSU’s offense was so dangerous. Sanders told her, we have weapons, we can run the ball, and throw the ball which makes us hard to stop when we can do both.
Greene also asked Sanders what it was like to play for his dad, Deion Sanders.
“It is real fun playing for Coach Prime,” Shedeur Sanders said, “He’s been my Coach all of my life, so it is pretty normal to me. Along with other teammates, he’s just a real realistic guy and he knows how players feel and he is just a good person to play for.”
Jackson State (3-0, 1-0) hosts Mississippi Valley State (0-3, 0-0) at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday at (1 p.m., ESPN+).