Early signing day brought us a few surprises last week.
The shocker was No. 1-ranked Travis Hunter flipping his commitment to Jackson State after consistently calling Florida State his dream school, dating back to when he first began on the gridiron.
Hunter’s decision received all of the headlines as the momentum of his historic signing merged with the wave that Deion Sanders and JSU were on entering the Celebration Bowl. The two-way sensation wasn’t, however, the only highly ranked player to shun Power and Group of Five schools to sign with an HBCU.
Naturally, Travis Hunter is excited to working alongside football icon Deion Sanders. What football player wouldn't be? https://t.co/10dwSvUmdw
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) December 15, 2021
Eden James Chooses Howard
Eden James, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Edgerrin James became the highest-ranked player to ever sign with Howard University over the weekend.
James, a three-star recruit from Treasure Coast High Shool, turned down offers from Power 5 schools like Miami (Legacy), Indiana and Wake Forest. James also declined offers from Group of 5 schools (Temple, East Carolina, Navy, Army and Air Force).
.@edenjaames staying #TRU to his @HUBISONFOOTBALL commitment. Said @CoachLScott70 and his authenticity are what’s making him keep this #ChangeTheNarrative movement going strong as he joins the likes of @TravisHunterJr #HBCU #TheRealHU #GoBison #NSD1063 @WeAreTCoast pic.twitter.com/ahls5qc0UX
— ESPN WEST PALM (106.3 FM) (@ESPNWestPalm) December 16, 2021
James Coming-Out Party Came Against A Nationally Ranked Opponent
A couple weeks after his dad Edgerrin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Eden had his breakout performance.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) August 7, 2021
That performance came against nationally ranked American Heritage High School in late August. Eden rushed for 297 yards and two touchdowns in the shocking upset. The pedigree was evident and the performance officially put James on the radar as a legit RB1 with Power 5 and Group of 5 schools all over the country.
BREAKING: Running back Eden James, the son of Hall of Famer Edgerrin James, has committed to Howard University 🔥
— 247Sports (@247Sports) October 4, 2021
James chose Howard for a few reasons. James will be the featured back in head coach Larry Scott’s offense and will get every opportunity to show his next-level potential beginning in the 2022 MEAC season. The interest Howard consistently showed in the talented ball carrier was also influential James’ his decision.
“There are many reasons I chose Howard,” James said. “But one of the main reasons as to why I chose them is because of the opportunities the DMV area presents and the amount of consistent interest they have shown me from the jump.”
Head Coach Larry Scott Has Serious Sunshine State Connections
Bison head coach Larry Scott has some serious ties to the state of Florida. He played collegiately at South Florida and worked at both Miami and Florida. And because of those connections, Scott feels he can tap into the state and get more student-athletes to “The Mecca,” aka “HU.”
The basketball program securing the commitment of five-star big man Makur Makur for the 2020 season only strengthened Scott’s belief that he could bring elite-level talent to Howard. Although Makur’s experience was cut short by a COVID-19-marred season and subsequent injuries, the fact that he chose the Bison gave the football program the same belief that they could do the same.
Scott is 10 toes down at Howard, and he proved that when he turned down Nick Saban and Alabama.
Edgerrin Keeps Eden Grounded: Recruiting Process Isn’t All Glitz And Glamour
The recruiting process can be a bit overwhelming, especially when your dad is an Pro Football Hall of Famer and one of the best running backs to come out of the University of Miami. Eden didn’t deny that choosing Howard wasn’t easy.
“For me it was very hard,” James said in an interview. “Especially when ego takes place. I feel like my play was bigger than the stage they had. But you have to look at the overall situations. Everything with Howard was ideal for me.”
“I think it is a tremendous day for HBCUs. You got Travis Hunter the No.1 ranked player. This thing is about to take off. I’m sure other kids will follow. I’m happy and proud for HBCUs.”
— Dbandman (@Dbandman2) December 16, 2021
Edgerrin was always said to possess a high football IQ. He believes his son has a shrewd football acumen as well.
“He’s going to be one of the smartest football players to play the game because I’ve already taught him everything about the game and he plays the position I played,” James, who had 12,246 rushing yards, 80 rushing TDs and 433 receptions in an illustrious 10-year pro career, told HBCU Gameday about his son.
“The football part is easy. Nowadays, a lot of these kids get caught up in social media and all these things that are irrelevant. We just work. We’re not looking for some rating. He doesn’t need to be a four-star or five-star. That’s all irrelevant. He’s already got his grades. I mean he’s pretty much done with school. We’re locked in on football. My main thing is … take care of your body and work.”
The HBCU talent pool just got deeper. HBCU as a viable destination for blue-chip athletes just got realer.
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