Most longtime fans of college football can rattle off some of the largest upsets in history without hesitation. Boise State defeating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or Vince Young single-handedly willing the Texas Longhorns to a victory over the loaded USC Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl. Any notable upset takes cunning strategy and indelible execution to pull off. The Jackson State Tigers and head coach Deion Sanders made all the right moves in the last several weeks, and finalized one of the greatest recruiting shockers in the sport’s history.
Cornerback Travis Hunter is a five star recruit out of Suwanee, Georgia, who many thought would be playing his college ball with the Florida State Seminoles. Instead, Hunter will be playing under Sanders in the FCS with Jackson State, a HBCU. Hunter had spent his teenage years dreaming of playing with the Seminoles, but had a change of heart that he feels is the right decision for him.
“I grew up down there, that’s where my roots are, and I never doubted that I would play for the Seminoles,” Hunter said. “It’s a dream that is hard to let go of, but sometimes we are called to step into a bigger future than the one we imagined for ourselves. For me, that future is at Jackson State University.” Via ESPN.com
As irony would have it, Hunter’s future head coach is one of the Seminoles’ most decorated superstars. Sanders had a tremendous college career at Florida State, picking off at least four passes in his final three seasons with the school. He was also a force to be reckoned with on special teams as a punt returner and kick returner.
Clearly, Hunter’s decision demonstrates that Sanders’ influence over the current football landscape is still immense. Hunter would have been born just after Sanders’ career ended, and was not alive for “Prime Time’s” most explosive years in the league. There’s an argument to be made that today’s generation of players would not weigh the playing credentials of their coach very highly in their decision making process. But the connection that Hunter has, as a fellow defensive back, with one of the greatest to ever do it at the position is pretty special.
Hunter’s decision to play for the Tigers helps Sanders keep the promise he made when he was hired by the program.
“It’s my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and BHCU’s in general,” Sanders stated in September 2020. Via GoJSUTigers.com