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Deion Sanders Shoots Down Travis Hunter Million-Dollar NIL Deal Rumors

Deion Sanders pulled off an incredible recruiting coup on Wednesday, landing arguably the top player in the 2022 recruiting class: wide receiver Travis Hunter. 

Hunter had been committed to Sanders's alma mater, Florida State, and had Auburn and Georgia involved as finalists entering yesterday's signing day event. He ultimately flipped to Jackson State, putting Sanders's HBCU program, which is 11–1 this season, back in the headlines. During his victory lap today, Sanders appeared on ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill & Max, and took the opportunity to shoot down rumors that Hunter signed with JSU thanks to a generous NIL package.

Among the rumors that proliferated online Wednesday was that Barstool Sports, for whom Sanders is a media personality and the subject of a documentary series on Jackson State football, had offered up over $1 million to Hunter.

“We didn't pay him! We ain't got no money! We ain't got no money!” Sanders said, struggling to hold back laughter after being asked about the rumors by Jay Williams. “I heard a million and a half, and I heard Dave Portnoy over at Barstool. That's the biggest lie I ever heard. You know what that is? That means we kicked your but, we took what was ours, and now you gotta make up an excuse why. 

“Ain't nobody get no a million and a half. I wouldn't pay my son a million-and-a-half on NIL. How am I gonna coach a guy making more than me?”

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Sanders shared his approach with Keyshawn Johnson and the others. The major takeaway: he says he's honest with players, and doesn't promise anything that he and the Jackson State program can't deliver on, but it's up to players to put in the work once they arrive.

“Honesty. Key, I'm straight-up, man. I shoot straight. I don't lie, I don't placate. I don't promise your kids bells and whistles. I'm not gonna say ‘You're gonna blow up on the internet.’ No, man, you gotta come in and put in work, do your job, and the rest is history,” Sanders said. “But you gotta work. I'm a straight shooter, my coaching staff did a phenomenal job on even getting it to that point so that I can come in and be me. But we just shot it straight. We just really, ain't promised nothing that we can't make happen.”

Sanders says he plans to have Hunter play both ways, stepping in at both wide receiver and defensive back.

“When it's in his hands, he's electric. When he's in the secondary, he's aggressive. Good skill set. Technique is adequate. We gotta tune it. . . fine-tune it. But I can't way to see him on grass so I can see really what he is. He's both ways now, and doing a superb job and I plan on using him that way, but I can't wait to see really what he is. But when I tell you ‘He got that it, he got that it.‘ He got that. . . when he touch that ball, you get up. He got that kinda thing.”

Sanders and Jackson State play in Saturday's sold out Celebration Bowl against South Carolina State. Kickoff is slated for noon ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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