Amazon Prime Debuts New Docuseries on JSU and Coach Prime
Amazon has released a new docuseries called “Coach Prime.” The four-episode series follows Deion Sanders and the JSU Tigers’ latest season. The Tigers went undefeated in the regular season and won their second straight SWAC championship. The series gives an inside look at the JSU football program and head coach Deion Sanders. Fans get to see Coach Prime lead his team to domination while getting to know the players and the rest of the coaching staff.
Prime Making JSU Known
Coach Prime made it known from the beginning that he wanted to put HBCU’s on the map. Using his name, his brand and his skills as a coach Deion Sanders did just that. Not only that, but he came to give the players, who have been previously looked down on for being at an HBCU, a chance to make it to the next level. That all started with bringing in one of the biggest superstars in the world.
The first episode shows coach Prime taking part in the XFL/HBCU combine alongside the Rock. This allowed coach Prime to show young black men other avenues to achieving their dream, the NFL. In a speech to the attending player, Sanders spoke to the young athletes about taking advantage of the opportunities they have. “You got it, right now.” coach Prime said. “It’s on you.”
Perhaps the biggest attention coach Prime attained was bringing in Good Morning America and College Gameday to Jackson State University. Featured in episodes 3 and 4, GMA host Michael Strahan, who is also an executive producer of the series, was live from the JSU football field interviewing coach Prime about his team and the community of Jackson, Mississippi. JSU also played host to College Gameday, one of the biggest college football shows in the nation. “College Gameday coming to Jackson, Mississippi was groundbreaking,” Sanders said. Coach Prime joined the show to fire up the Jackson State crowd as they prepared for their big game against Southern, a game in which they dominated.
Getting to Know the Players
Though the series may be called “Coach Prime,” it doesn’t just focus on the legendary icon. The players are of central importance to the story that is told. Throughout the series, many players open up about the hardships they faced in life and what coming to Jackson State has done to help them. Players like Isaiah Bolden and De’Jean Warren, also known as Nugget.
Nugget’s story is one of true adversity. During the series, Nugget opens up about his life and the challenges he has overcome to get to where he is. Nugget dealt with things many kids should never even have to think about. Now after making waves with his stellar play at JSU, Nugget is getting ready for the NFL. Bolden also shares his story of hardship with his father in the NFL and not always being there for him as a child. Overcoming adversity was the name of the game for Bolden. Now, after his time at JSU with coach Prime, he is also getting ready to be a second-generation pro football player.
Fans are also treated to an inside look at Prime Time’s home life, specifically with his children. The docuseries shows how Sanders talks to and deals with his kids on and off the field. We get an insider look at all of Sanders children, but the focus is given mostly to the relationship between coach Prime and his son and quarterback Sheduer Sanders. Throughout all the episodes, we see the incredibly high expectations Sander puts on his son and how Sheduer rises to the occasion.
Travis Hunter’s Injury and Recovery
One of the biggest storylines of the show is star wide receiver and cornerback Travis Hunter and his road back from injury. The first five-star recruit in HBCU history, all eyes have been on Hunter since he first flipped his commitment from Florida State to JSU. But Hunter spent much of the preseason rehabbing from surgery that was required on a nagging ankle injury from high school. JSU opened the season against FAMU in Miami, Florida.
This game was extremely important for Hunter. The JSU star grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, just an hour and 16 minutes from Miami. This was a chance for his family to see him play, and Hunter was determined to do so. Coach Prime, however, really struggled with the decision. He wanted to allow the young man to play, putting himself in Hunter’s shoes and knowing how badly he wanted to play. But he also knew he had to preserve Hunter’s future. Ultimately, Hunter was allowed to play and performed very well.
However, Hunter was sat down after the first game to rehab. He would return later in the season for homecoming. Through his rehab, we were introduced to JSU head trainer Lauren Askevold. “You really have to be there for them,” she said as we watched her work tirelessly with Hunter. “I pride myself on getting to know them and, you know watching their mannerisms, watching how they move.” Askevold was able to get Travis Hunter healthy, and then Hunter was able to help the Tiger in their most successful season and a second straight title. When speaking about Hunter, Askevold said “Travis Hunter, he’s different.”
Making Boys into Men
Sander was very clear during every moment of the show that his main goal was to turn the kids in his care into good young men. In every aspect of his coaching, his intention was to prepare his players for life, whether it be in the NFL or in the world. Often, we get a chance to see coach Prime sit down with players and give them advice one on one.
We also get an inside look at how coach Prime interacts with his coaching staff, encouraging them just as much as his players. Every one of the coaches on the Tigers staff has a role to play, and Sanders expects them to be perfect. He also expects his coaches to help make the JSU players into the best men they can be. We see this when coaches sit down with cornerback Nugget to give him special attention and help him with his struggles on and off the field.
Sanders is constantly putting his players first, all the way until he left. At the end of the fourth and final episode, we see coach Prime take his players back to campus for a mandatory meeting. Prime made sure that his players were the first to know that he had taken the job at Colorado, refusing to do any media or talk to anyone before his players. Several players also stepped up during the meeting to show their appreciation for what Prime Time brought to Jackson State.