Shedeur Sanders Named Deacon Jones Award Winner | 2022 Black College Football Player Of The Year

Shedeur Sanders is no longer at Jackson State, having transferred to Colorado to follow his Pro Football Hall of Fame dad Deion Sanders, as the two will embark on bringing the faded Buffaloes program back to life. But while Sanders was at Jackson State the strong-armed gunslinger excelled. 

In his two years as starter, Sanders went 23-3 with two SWAC championships and two Celebration Bowl appearances. He also won numerous awards, including this year’s Deacon Jones Award given annually to the top Black College Football Player. 

Sanders lit up FCS football in 2022, under the direction of new offensive coordinator Brett Bartolone, he passed for over 3,700 yards, along with a school-record 40 touchdowns and 314 completions. He also showed his dual-threat ability, scampering for another six trips to paydirt. In all, Sanders was the best Black college football player in FCS. 

Sanders Won Jerry Rice Award As Freshman

Shedeur has been collecting awards named after Pro Football Hall of Famers since he arrived on a college campus in 2021. A four-star recruit in the class of 2021, Sanders was the highest-rated recruit to sign with an FCS school, and he didn’t disappoint from the beginning. After passing for over 3,000 yards, 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions,

(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sanders was awarded the Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top FCS offensive freshman. He was also SWAC Freshman of the Year, even though dad and coach Deion Sanders believed he should’ve been awarded the SWAC Player of the Year honor as well. 

At the time of the announcement, Coach Prime told “The Undefeated” this:

“Im proud of him, the way he’s played. The way he sees the field,  the way he’s encouraged his teammates, the way he approaches practice daily, the way he gets on their hurts when they’re not doing what they need to do. I’m just proud of his maturity and who he is on and off the field.”

Is Shedeur Ready For Power Five Leap? 

The move to Boulder also means a big step up in competition for Sanders, who’s already been named the quarterback by his Hall of Fame dad. The offense will now be run by Sean Lewis who had one of the most successful offensive units during his time as head coach at Kent State. But this is the Pac-12 and the talent is much better, so how will Shedeur fare? 

The aforementioned Bartolone, who’s now the wide receivers coach at Colorado, had an up-close-and-personal look at Sanders everyday last season. And he likens him to Carson Strong, whom Bartalone helped develop into an NFL prospect while at Nevada.

“As far as arm talent goes, the younger Sanders is as good as I’ve seen at this level,” Bartolone said at a recent meet-the-assistants news conference for Coach Prime. “I’ve been around guys such as Carson Strong, who was a two-time [first-team] Mountain West player at Nevada. And I mean, Strong, could touch anywhere on the field with a ball.”

“Sanders understands what defenses are trying to do to him,” Bartolone continued. “You know as a quarterback he has a very, very high IQ level, he really does.”

Sanders will need all of what Bartolone is referring to if he’s to live up to Fox Sports’ belief that he’ll hoist the 2023 Heisman Trophy. 

Shedeur’s Heisman Quest Will Begin In Fort Worth  

While there will be plenty of games on the Buffaloes’ schedule for Sanders to have some Heisman moments, none will be as big as the opportunity he gets in Week 1 of next season. That’s when Coach Prime and his team travel to the defending national runner-up TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s sort of a homecoming for Sanders and his dad, who played a lot of his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and made his offseason home in the area. 

There’s no way better way to get all eyes on Shedeur and the Colorado program than right out the gate in a game like this. 

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