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When the No. 1 player in the class of 2022 signed with an HBCU on Wednesday, doubters sparked the idea that the player, cornerback Travis Hunter, had been offered a $1.5 million name, image and likeness contract to play for Jackson State.
Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders was asked about these rumors when he appeared on the Tiger Talk with the 1400 Klub podcast.
“We didn’t pay him! We ain’t got no money!” Sanders said. “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.”
Be sure to spread the truth like you spread the lies…
(To whom it may concern) pic.twitter.com/mKJGPacBa7
— Tiger Talk with the 1400 Klub – The Podcast (@TigerTalk1400) December 16, 2021
Hunter had previously been committed to Floria State, which he had reaffirmed as his choice throughout the recruitment process. However, on Wednesday, he posted a statement about wanting to be part of the history and help create a brighter future for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“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 HBCUs may be everything you want and more: an exciting college experience, a vital community, and a life-changing place to play football,” Hunter said in the statement.
But rumors abounded because this goes against the norm. Sanders has a podcast with Barstool. Portnoy, the founder of Barstool and one of the ultimate Twitter trolls who always enjoys the opportunity to rile up his opposition, posted his own cryptic Tweet referencing the rumors.
Jackson State and Sanders have publicly denied the rumors, with Sanders expressing that the whole notion is absurd.
“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?” he said on the podcast.
Hunter said he’s doing it to build the bridge for the growth of HBCUs. According to The Ringer, there hasn’t been a Jackson State player drafted since Jaymar Johnson went in the sixth round in 2008. There have only been two first-rounders taken from any HBCU since 2008.
After posting an 11-1 record this past season, the Tigers will look to take another step into the future.