Deion Sanders and Jackson State pulled off the biggest National Signing Day flip in college recruiting history and there were immediate questions about how an HBCU became a worthy benefactor.
Sanders, in his first public remarks after JSU landed No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter, explained how it all went down in an interview on ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill and Max Show Wednesday.
“To be honest, I just shoot straight,” said Sanders. “I don’t placate. I don’t promise your kids bells and whistles. I’m not going to say you’re going to blow up on the NIL. You gotta come in, put in work, and do your job and the rest is history.
“We just shot it straight. We didn’t promise nothing we really can’t make happen. And the first time I met the kid I said ‘if you come here, you know you’re playing both ways right?'”
The second-year head coach suggested that he was able to connect with Hunter and his family being a Black head coach and the face of a program — something that is rare among most Division I schools recruiting high-profile Black athletes.
“Every roster in America is 70 to 75 percent Black,” he said. “Who do you think getting these kids anyway? The only difference in this scenario is that I’m the head coach.”
Sanders also shot down speculation that Hunter only committed to Jackson State on the strength of a rumored seven-figure NIL deal through Barstool Sports.
“That’s the biggest lie I ever heard,” he said. “That means we kicked your butt, and we took what’s ours and you have to make up an excuse why. I wouldn’t pay my son a million and a half. How am I gonna coach a guy making more than me?
“I’m not going to say that we flipped him. He just wanted to do what he did … he came to our homecoming game. That’s the last place you want a recruit to go to if you don’t want to lose him.”