Deion Sanders, Jackson State
Photo: Mandela Jones/HBCU Sports

Since arriving at Jackson State to become the school’s head football coach, Deion Sanders has repeatedly stated that an HBCU never recruited him to play college football before he decided to attend Florida State.

In a tweet posted in May, Sanders addressed a question to him by another Twitter user who wanted to know why Sanders chose to play at Florida State.

“Because a HBCU never recruited me or most guys that are prominent on high school. Why? Ask them but we ain’t scared to recruit anybody and if U allow me in your home in front of your parents or guardians you will play for me @GoJSUTigersFB I’m that CONFIDENT. I got time today,” he tweeted.

During Monday’s SWAC football media session, Sanders took another opportunity to express how HBCUs didn’t recruit him when asked about the Tigers’ next game Saturday when they host Bethune-Cookman — which happens to be located in Sanders’ home state of Florida.

“Well you know that’s from my neck of the woods. Even though I wasn’t recruited by Bethune-Cookman, there was always a thought coming out of high school that ‘hey, man, we’re going to Bethune,'” Sanders said. “It was kind of like not a funny thing, not a hilarious thing. But we thought like that. But we were never recruited by any of the HBCUs.”

Also read: It’s been a tale of two different seasons for high-profile SWAC newcomers

But, according to Rudy Hubbard, former Florida A&M head coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Sanders was recruited to play for him at FAMU, located just a few blocks down the street from Florida State in Tallahassee.

“I tried to recruit him and I told him … I didn’t have the kind of money to go in there and get into a [recruiting] war with anybody else,” Hubbard said during a February 2021 appearance on The HBCU Report with Rob Calloway. “But I said, ‘I want you and if you’re going to entertain it, fine. If you’re not, just be upfront and let me know.’ He said, ‘Well, Coach, I think what I’ll do is, I’ll visit your school when I come down there to visit Florida State so there is no need for you to spend any money on it.’ So, that’s the way we settled it. I knew exactly what he was saying.”

Rudy Hubbard
Rudy Hubbard served 12 seasons at Florida A&M as the school’s head football coach from 1974-1985. Photo: FAMU Athletics

The only HBCU head coach to win an NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship in 1978, Hubbard posted 83 wins in his 12 seasons at FAMU from 1974-1985.

Hubbard said Sanders “would have been perfect” at the quarterback position to run his option offensive system.

“Deion was a quarterback in high school as well, and I was recruiting him for quarterback. I knew they probably wouldn’t let him play quarterback over there. That was my angle,” said Hubbard.

“I don’t know how bad he wanted to be quarterback – evidently not too bad, but that was my angle. I thought that might get me over, he said. “But we were able to get it settled … I understood where he was coming from. So, I believe they probably were recruiting him for DB the whole time.”


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