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

On Monday, nine HBCU football players were named to the Stats Perform 2022 FCS Preseason All-America Team with one glaring omission.

While the likes of Florida A&M linebacker Isaiah Land, South Carolina State defensive lineman Jeblonski Green and former Buck Buchanan Award winner Jordan Lewis are all deserving of a spot on the 2022 team, where is Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders?

Among the three quarterbacks listed on this year’s roster include Kennesaw State dual-threat quarterback Xavier Shepherd, a first-team selection; Missouri State signal-caller Jason Shelley, named to the second team; and Stephen F. Austin quarterback Trae Self, a third-team selection.

Also read: Ultimate HBCU Sports Division I preseason Top 10 football poll

There can be arguments made why each of the three deserves a spot on the team. All had solid 2021 seasons and should equal, if not, best their performances this fall.

Photo: Jackson State athletics

But so should Sanders, who after all, was named the Jerry Rice Award winner as the top freshman in the FCS a season ago.

Sanders, a four-star recruit who committed to Jackson State short after his father, Deion Sanders was named head coach in 2020, led the Tigers to an 11-1 record and the program’s first SWAC championship since 2007.

During the season, Sanders complete 68.7 percent of his passes for 3,231 yards and 30 touchdowns in 13 games. He was also named SWAC Freshman of the Year, too.

What’s more, the runner-up for the Jerry Rice Award, Central Arkansas running back Darius Hale, is a preseason All-American, not the player a 50-member panel thought had a better year as a freshman, though.

It figures that Sanders — with another season of throwing to stud sophomore wide receiver Malachi Wideman along with four-star freshman Kevin Coleman, No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter, and an improved offensive line and running game to protect him — the true sophomore will undoubtedly continue to excel.

Sanders threw more touchdowns than Shelley and Self, respectively. He also featured a higher passer efficiency rating than Shelley — 151.6 to 142.5 — and was in the top 10 in passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating. This was all accomplished while working with a patchwork offensive line and no real threat at running back in 2021.

It is understood that preseason, and postseason honors for voters, are largely made up of splitting hairs between equally talented players.

But the national freshman of the year — recently on the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this summer — isn’t considered an All-American speaks to either how good his contemporaries at the position are at best or a remarkable oversight at worst.

Shedeur Sanders is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and should be recognized as such.


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