Birmingham, Ala. – Hugh Jackson was smiling and laughing as he shook hands with Deon Sanders and hugged Roland James during SWAC’s first media day as Grambling coach. Flanked by linebacker Joshua Reed and attacking lineman Tyler Thomas, they all talked business.
In keeping with the style he was accustomed to, Jackson had a tailor from Dallas, called the players and took a page out of the “Primetime” book by Jackson State University coach “Primetime” Sanders: “If you look good, you feel good and you play good.”
Players’ numbers were sewn inside their suits and their numbers on the sleeves of their shirts. The suit jackets were black with a yellow stripe on the wide lapel and yellow striped down the side of the jacket, and fitted with the letter “G.” In black and yellow.
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Jackson wants his players to look good and feel good. He knows the job he has done is daunting. The last SWAC Championship for the Tigers came in 2017. To compete for the title this season, the team will need not only a positive attitude, but more players who make up the entire conference team. Last season, they put three players on the team. Defensive Back Kenan Fontenot, Defensive Linebacker Sundiata Anderson & Kicker and Gambler Garrett Urban.
Jackson knows that trying to rebuild the Tigers back into the powerful force they once had will stick. He knows that recruitment will be the key to their rise to the top. With the changes in players and coaches, Jackson believes the work his team has done will be ready for the season.
“I have the opportunity to follow one of the greatest coaches in college football into Eddie Robinson,” Jackson said. “Grambling at one time was the right place to be and we want to put it back in the right place. To have that opportunity, to take on this challenge and come to Grambling with the opportunity to take back the history and the tradition there, I don’t think there is anything like it.”
Grambling boasts the most SWAC titles with 26 titles and starts the season with renewed hope. Jackson, in his first year as a coach, knows that good play starts with looking good.