1400 John R. Lynch Street has been in the national spotlight over the past three seasons under head coach Deion Sanders. Sanders announced his intentions to become the next head coach at Colorado after a second SWAC Championship win in December of 2022.
Athletic Director Ashley Robinson made the decision to name T.C. Taylor the 22nd head coach for Jackson State football. It was a move to re-establish the Jackson State culture and history surrounding a historic HBCU program by hiring a coach who understands exactly what makes Jackson State special.
Taylor was recruited to Jackson State by legendary coach James “Big Daddy” Carson and played under head coach Robert “Judge” Hughes, who helped Taylor make the transition from quarterback to wide receiver.
During his senior season at Jackson State, Taylor set the school single-season record with 84 receptions for 1,234 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He earned third-team NCAA Division I-AA All-American honors and was named a Black College All-American. He finished second behind Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning for the 2001 Conerly Trophy.
Taylor made a quick rise throughout the coaching ranks but made his name under head coach Jerry Mack at North Carolina Central. North Carolina Central won three MEAC championships with Taylor leading the offense, including an undefeated conference record in 2016 and the first appearance in the Celebration Bowl in school history. Under Taylor, Malcolm Bell was a finalist for the 2016 Black College Football Player of the Year and set the program record for total offense.
Taylor has served in multiple different capacities since his return to Jackson State in 2019. His biggest impact was at the wide receiver position as he helped Daylen Baldwin lead the SWAC in both receiving yards and touchdowns in the spring season.
In 2021, Malachi Wideman exploded onto the scene for the Tigers and led the SWAC in receiving touchdowns, while Keith Corbin III ranked second in receptions and top 10 in receiving touchdowns.
Throughout this offseason, Taylor and the Tigers have faced many critics that are skeptical about Jackson State’s future and Taylor’s ability to continue the success from the past two seasons.
All Taylor has done is quietly and confidently silenced the doubters throughout the offseason.
Jackson State landed its third consecutive No. 1 SWAC recruiting class this offseason, which ranked No. 2 in the country at the FCS level. The class is headlined by the No. 1 Arkansas wide receiver Isiah Kendall, three-star cornerback Tristen Sion, and three-star defensive back Nireek Sharpe.
Taylor has made it clear … The standard at Jackson State does not change.
“We got the mindset that we can recruit with anybody,” Taylor said at Jackson State’s Pro Day in March.
He proved that in his first recruiting class as the head coach at Jackson State.
As the focus shifts to the 2023 season … The stage is set for T.C. Taylor to continue to make his own history at Jackson State as a head coach.
The Tigers open the 2023 season on Aug. 26 against South Carolina State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Atlanta, Georgia. Jackson State is 0-2 all-time in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge with losses to Bethune-Cookman in 2019 and Hampton in 2008. Taylor has the chance to earn the first win in school history in the challenge to open the season.
A win over South Carolina State in week one will be even sweeter for Jackson State fans after the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers, 31-10, in the 2021 Celebration Bowl. This could foreshadow another opportunity for Taylor later in the 2023 season … Win a Celebration Bowl.
Arguably the most impactful opportunity for Taylor will come on Sept. 16 in San Marcos, Texas against Texas State. The last SWAC team to beat an FBS opponent was Grambling State in 1985 as the Tigers upset Oregon State, 23-6. Jackson State has never beaten an FBS opponent in school history.
The Tigers have a chance to win their third consecutive SWAC championship this season for only the third time in school history. Head coach W.C. Gorden won three consecutive SWAC championships from 1980-82, then won four consecutive SWAC championships from 1985-88.
No other coach in Jackson State history has ever won a SWAC championship in their first season as head coach. In Taylor’s sophomore season, head coach Robert “Judge” Hughes won the SWAC East in 1999 in his first season but lost the SWAC championship game to Southern.
Taylor steps into a position surrounded by immense outside pressure … On one side you have the doubters who have been extremely vocal about the fact Taylor cannot sustain the program’s success. The other side are fans who know the potential of this legendary program and want to make a third consecutive trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the Celebration Bowl.
Regardless of the pressure … Taylor is ready to be the face of Jackson State football.
“No pressure at all,” Taylor said at Jackson State’s Pro Day. “This is something that I’ve been planning for, and God told me about a while ago. So, when that time came, I was ready.”
The T.C. Taylor story could not be written any better. A Mississippi native that was a high school quarterback turned wide receiver that earned All-American honors then returned to his alma mater and worked his way from wide receivers coach to head coach.
Taylor has earned this opportunity … He is the personification of what makes Jackson State special and understands the culture that can be found on 1400 JR Lynch St. in Jackson, Mississippi.
Nobody wants Jackson State to succeed more than head coach T.C. Taylor … Taylor’s success throughout his coaching career is undeniable, and do not expect anything different from him as the head coach at Jackson State.