When Deion Sanders was named Colorado’s next football coach after the conclusion of the 2022 SWAC championship game in Jackson on Dec. 3, a lot of buzz and chatter rose on the matter of how many players would remain with Jackson State’s program after his departure. It appears there will be a fairly significant exodus.
Following Sanders’s last game as JSU’s head coach in a 41–34 loss to North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl on Saturday, more than a dozen players from the program have reportedly entered the transfer portal seeking to find their new college football home for the ’23 season.
According to On3.com, 13 players have entered the portal, including Sanders’s sons, quarterback and SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Shedeur and cornerback Shilo, as well as two-way sensation Travis Hunter. While Sanders confirmed to reporters after the bowl game loss that his sons were coming to Colorado with him, it is not certain if Hunter will make the trip west to Colorado.
Jackson: Jackson State’s Undefeated Season and Deion Sanders Era Ends With a Celebration Bowl Defeat
“Everybody wants me to follow Coach Prime,” Hunter said in a video posted on his YouTube channel. “I want to follow Coach Prime, too, but I need to know if it’s a fit for me. If it’s a fit for me, I’ll go. If it’s not a fit for me, I’m not going.
“I’m not saying I’m committing to Colorado right now or I’m never going to do it. I’m just letting you know it’s not in my plan as of right now to just go jump and be on the team. I’m weighing my options out.”
However, Sanders told fans in an Instagram chat last week that Hunter would join him in Colorado “real soon.” Some of the other notable players who entered the portal from the team include former ‘22 No. 1 slot receiver Kevin Coleman Jr., linebacker Nyles Gaddy, safety Herman Smith, kicker Alejandro Mata and safety John Huggins.
In addition to the portal, Sanders is hoping to bring in a solid ’23 recruiting class that will officially start to fill up Wednesday with the early signing period. Sanders has already landed some commits that include running back Dylan Edwards and wide receiver Winston Watkins Jr.
Sanders has also finalized his coaching staff that includes six former Tigers assistants in Dennis Thurman, Kevin Mathis, Andre’ Hart, Gary Harrell, Tim Brewster and Brett Bartolone.