Within the Sixties and ‘70s, H.B.C.U.s were often the one options for Black players to play college football, and people colleges recurrently sent elite players to the N.F.L., and the American Football League, the N.F.L.’s challenger on the time.
The Tigers sent nearly 90 players to the professionals from the early Sixties to the early 2000s, but, like many H.B.C.U.s, faced with limited resources while competing against Power Five programs with enormous athletic budgets, didn’t attract the identical level of talent that they once did. Fewer H.B.C.U. players have been drafted to the professionals lately because of this (none within the 2021 draft), something Sanders vowed to alter upon his arrival at Jackson State.
“This may very well be the good revival, the good renaissance for H.B.C.U.s,” Brandon Huffman, a national recruiting editor for 247Sports, said of Hunter’s commitment. “And I feel all of it goes back to Deion.”
During his first recruiting cycle with the Tigers in 2020, Sanders pulled off probably the most shocking commitments to that time, flipping the previous Georgia pledge De’Jahn Warren, who had been one in every of the highest junior college cornerbacks within the country, on the primary day of the early signing period last 12 months.
Sanders had assembled the highest-rated class within the Football Championship Subdivision, the extent of Division I where Jackson State plays. The Tigers’ 2020 class featured 19 transfers and 11 of the highest-rated recruits in program history, including his son, Shedeur Sanders, who was a four-star recruit.
“That is one which will change the whole face of how recruiting is finished as we realize it,” Huffman said in an interview.
Some have speculated that a lucrative financial deal attracted Hunter to Jackson State, where Sanders has tried to assist his players profit off their name, image and likeness for the reason that N.C.A.A. instituted the rule change that allowed college athletes to earn a living off their fame earlier this 12 months. If that was a consider Hunter’s decision to commit to the Tigers, it could launch an era by which players sign with smaller schools simply for the potential to sign N.I.L. deals.