Travis Hunter shocked the world of college football

Travis Hunter

Travis Hunter shocked the world of college football
December 22
15:08 2021

Travis Hunter, the No. 1 overall recruit in the country, had been committed to Florida State since March of 2020. Even through all of the ups and downs by the Seminoles on the field, Hunter stayed committed to them – until National Signing Day, that is.

Hunter shocked everyone by choosing Jackson State over Florida State. Hunter would be the highest overall recruit to ever choose an HBCU and this move could be the catalyst that changes the landscape of college football.

As a Florida State football fan, initially I was saddened by the news that Hunter had chosen Jackson State, mostly because his arrival in Tallahassee has been the good news us Seminole fans have clung to for over a year. On the other hand, I was happy for the HBCUs in general because I know this could be huge for the big picture of having more top recruits choose HBCUs over PWIs.

Hunter released a statement on Twitter that read, “Florida State has always been a beacon for me. I grew up down there, that’s where my roots are, and I never doubted that I would play for the Seminoles. 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.

“Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, and of course the legend, JSU’s own Walter Payton – Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a rich history in football. I want to be a part of that history, and more, I want to be a part of that future. I am making this decision so that I can light the way for others to follow, make it a little easier for the next player to recognize that HBCUs may be everything you want and more: an exciting college experience, a vital community, and a life-changing place to play football.

“I look forward to working with the iconic Deion Sanders, and especially with my fellow Tigers. Along with Coach Prime, they have made me feel like I’m already part of the team. Like I’m home. And I can’t wait to welcome the next class of top athletes into the family of HBCUs.”

There has been a lot of speculation as to how Sanders was able to flip Hunter from his alma mater Florida State. One of the rumors was that Hunter signed a NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) deal with Barstool Sports, which Sanders is a personality for and is the subject of a documentary series on JSU football. The deal was reported to be worth over $1 million dollars to Hunter.

“We didn’t pay him! We ain’t got no money! We ain’t got no money!” Sanders said while holding back laughter while appearing on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Max. “I heard a million and a half, and I heard Dave Portnoy over at Barstool. That’s the biggest lie I ever heard. You know what that is? That means we kicked your butt, we took what was ours and now you gotta make up an excuse why.

“Ain’t nobody get no million and a half. I wouldn’t pay my son a million-and-a half on NIL. How am I gonna coach a guy making more than me?”

While on the show, Sanders touched on his methods of recruiting and how he doesn’t promise the kids anything, but rather is open and honest with them about what Jackson State University can offer them.

“Honesty. Key, I’m straight-up, man,” Sanders continued. I shoot straight. I don’t lie, I don’t placate. I don’t promise you kids bells and whistles. I’m not gonna say, ‘You’re gonna blow up on the internet.’ No, man you gotta come in and put in work, do your job, and the rest is history.  

“But you gotta work. I’m a straight shooter, my coaching staff did a phenomenal job on even getting it to that point so that I can come in and be me. But we just shot it straight. We just really, ain’t promised nothing that we can’t make happen.”

I am happy for Sanders, Jackson State and HBCUs overall, because I know this means a heck of a lot more to them than it does for Florida State to lose a top recruit. The Seminoles get players like this nearly every year, but with the decision by Hunter, this could mean that more top players make a move similar to this in the future.

I hate it for Hunter that he has to endure baseless rumors just because he shunned the Seminoles. I know a lot of Power 5 school head coaches are not liking what they saw, because that could possibly impact them in the future as well.  

Let’s be real. I don’t care if Hunter did or did not have a deal in place with Barstool Sports to attend JSU, because Power 5 schools have been giving money to players under the table for decades.

When we saw this type of move in college basketball a couple of years ago where a few high-profile recruits chose HBCUs, I wondered if the same would happen for college football. I was not expecting such a high recruit to be the first one to do so, however.  

I think Hunter was just the first domino, because there have been a couple of players who have transferred from Power 5 schools to HBCUs. This is great for HBCUs because honestly, I thought they were in serious trouble with several teams leaving traditional HBCU conferences to join PWI conferences. If they can continue to bring in quality athletes like this every year, it will only help to bring more money and resources to HBCUs, which they definitely need.

Most HBCUs can’t compete with their PWI counterparts when it comes to resources and facilities. If more top athletes come to HBCUs, the dollars will soon follow.

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors