Ever since Deion Sanders arrived at Jackson State University his goal has been to put the Tigers on par with the Power Five schools around the country as far as recruiting, visibility, exposure and revenue is concerned.
So far, the Pro Football Hall of Famer is off to quite a start. He came out the gate landing the 55th-ranked recruiting class in 2021. Then in 2022 he took it up another notch in landing the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in Travis Hunter, and top-50 recruit Kevin Coleman. He also added 14 quality transfers which included four former four-star recruits.
Prior to early signing day in December 2021, Sanders on the Barstool Sports “Unnecessary Roughness” predicted what came to fruition.
“We’re gonna shock the country.”
And that they did signing the aforementioned Hunter away from Sanders’ alma mater, Florida State.
That has given Sanders the confidence to go after more top-tier talent. Recently he offered Stacy Gage (IMG Academy) the top-ranked running back in the class of 2024. Gage is the second top-ranked tailback Sanders has offered. He also offered Richard Young the top back in the class of 2023, who also plays his high school ball in the talent-rich state of Florida.
Gage And Young Are High On Sanders’ Wish List: Is He Gonna Shock College Football Again?
The Tigers offer to Gage comes as no surprise, as Sanders has made it clear he’s going after the best of the best. Gage just finished his sophomore season at IMG. As a freshman he rushed for 1,243 yards and 22 total touchdowns on an undefeated (8-0) national championship team in 2020.
He averaged 155 yards per game and a robust 10.1 yards per carry. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound power back with breakaway speed currently holds 42 Division I offers. Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, USC, and Texas A&M have all offered the talented back.
Oklahoma is considered the early favorite, but FSU was the favorite for two years with Hunter and this didn’t stop Sanders and JSU from swooping in and taking the two-way star.
— Stacy Gage (@3stacygage) March 21, 2022
Sanders was also among several HBCU coaches who boldly offered five-star Richard Young, the class of 2023’s top-ranked mail-toter.
Young announced the offer via Twitter by saying this.
“I got my first HBCU offer over a year ago, from Jackson State University. Me and Coach Prime are from the same hometown of Fort Meyers FL … You better believe I will be visiting Jackson State University! Count on it!”
The Lehigh Senior High School star holds 52 offers, many from the same schools that offered Gage his 42 scholarships. HBCUs figure prominently in that mix, with JSU, FAMU, and Tennessee State getting in on the action. Coach Prime (JSU), Willie Simmons (FAMU) and especially Eddie George (TSU), know a program-changing back when they see one.
HBCUs Going After Guys They Never Would’ve Have In The Past
Sanders landing two top-50 prospects in the class of 2022, sent shock waves through the sport. Now HBCUs who once stood no chance at landing the top guys and wouldn’t even bother to extend an offer, have the audacity to at least try.
“No other HBCUs have ever recruited four-and-five-star players because they felt like they never had a chance and the high school coaches don’t direct them there,” Deion told The Undefeated. “Travis Hunter came to homecoming he saw 60,000 of us united and it was the most beautiful thing you’d ever want to see. He had been to all the major colleges, but to see our people — where you think he lives? It ain’t in the suburbs — unified, kicking it, having a good time and the pageantry. Well that affected him. He went back home and started talking to his parents.”
“Me and mama and stepfather kept it 100. We really looked them in the eyes and told them the truth about everything,” Sanders said. “We weren’t trying to sell her nothing. We told her we would take care of her son.”
The Coach Prime recruiting tactics are changing the landscape of college football.