ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Daylen Baldwin is on his third school after having played at the FCS-level to start out his career, but he’s played for a couple of legendary players-turned-coaches.
While Baldwin is learning under Jim Harbaugh now, at his last stop, Jackson State, he got a chance to play for none other than Deion Sanders — the enigmatic former Florida State, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens cornerback. When ‘Prime’ took over the Jackson State program, despite it being a small, southern HBCU, it garnered national attention and drew eyes to a school that many wouldn’t have looked at otherwise.
So, what was it like to play for Neon Deion?
“He’s honest. Not everybody can take honesty,” Baldwin said. “He’s gonna give it to you real. That’s the biggest thing about him. He’s a great coach. Great staff down there. I still appreciate those guys until this day. I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at without them, honestly, bringing the attention that they brought me. But he’s gonna be honest. Not everybody can take brutal honesty like that! But he’s gonna be very honest with you. He’s gonna give it to you real and I appreciate that. I liked it and I enjoyed him as a coach.”
Now that he has a basis of comparison, what are the similarities — or in this case, differences — between Sanders, a defensive-minded coach, and Harbaugh, a former quarterback?
For Baldwin, Harbaugh delegates a bit more whereas Sanders gets particularly fired up about what’s happening on the defensive side of the ball.
“It’s not really — they’re like nowhere near the same,” Baldwin said. “Coach Harbaugh’s gonna let you know what it is — boom, boom — get out your way, let coaches coach — boom, boom — let everything go.
“Coach Prime, he’ll yell at you from across the field. You get beat on the slant route from across the field and you’re playing corner, he’ll talk to you about it from across the field that you got beat on the slant route. That’s just how he is! He’s just a louder guy, you know what I mean? And with a reason, that’s just the side he coaches, so I enjoyed it while I was there. That’s not a knock on him or anything — that’s just who he is!”