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Jackson State lands top-ranked recruit Travis Hunter

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Jackson State University head coach Deion Sanders walks along the sideline during the Orange Blossom Classic between Florida A&M University and Jackson State University at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021.Orange Blossom Classic 090521 Ts 3614
Jackson State University head coach Deion Sanders walks along the sideline during the Orange Blossom Classic between Florida A&M University and Jackson State University at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021.Orange Blossom Classic 090521 Ts 3614

Five-star cornerback Travis Hunter, a top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2022, jilted Florida State and signed with Jackson State on Wednesday.

Jackson State, an HBCU program that competes in the SWAC, is coached by Seminoles great and Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period.

“Florida State has always been a beacon for me,” Hunter wrote in a post on Twitter. “I grew up down there, that’s where my roots are, and I never doubted that I would play for the Seminoles. It’s a dream that is hard to let go of, but sometimes we are called to step into a bigger future than the one we imagined for ourselves. For me, that future is at Jackson State University.

“Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, and of course the legend, JSU’s own Walter Payton — Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a rich history in football. I want to be part of that history, and more, I want to be part of that future. I am making this decision so that I can light the way for others to follow, make it a little easier for the next player to recognize that HBCU’s may be everything you want and more: an exciting college experience, a vital community, and a life-changing place to play football.”

Hunter, from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga., verbally committed to the Seminoles in March 2020. He is ranked No. 1 overall by the 247 Sports composite.

He is ranked No. 2 by ESPN, making him the highest-rated player to sign with a Football Championship Subdivision program since ESPN started its rankings in 2006.

Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, starred at Florida State from 1985-88 before playing 14 seasons in the NFL.

Sanders became the head coach at Jackson State in September 2020. This season, he guided the Tigers (11-1, 8-0 SWAC) to their first conference championship since 2007. They meet South Carolina State (6-5) Celebration Bowl on Saturday.

“I look forward to working with the iconic Deion Sanders, and especially with my fellow Tigers,” Hunter wrote. “Along with Coach Prime, they have made me feel like I’m already part of the team. Like I’m home. And I can’t wait to welcome the next class of top athletes into the family of HBCU’s.”

–Field Level Media