Shedeur Sanders is still a month out from his first official college snap, but he’s already the face of the Jackson State football team. At least on the field.
The four-star quarterback had offers to pretty much all of the programs that everyone dreams about. Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Florida State (his father’s old stomping grounds) and many more offered him scholarships. He ultimately chose Florida Atlantic, coached by his father Deion Sanders’ friend Willie Taggert.
But when his father got the JSU job, he followed behind and basically became the quarterback-in-waiting. He showed up at SWAC Media Day and let everyone know he was ready to get started and what was on his mind. He didn’t want to talk about SWAC atmospheres or other teams. His focus was clearly on JSU.
“It’s about business. We all came to JSU for one reason and that’s to win and get to the next level,” he told HBCU Gameday. “We didn’t come here just to have a good college experience or none of that. Because you could have went anywhere in the country for that. We came here to do our job, handle business and get to the next level.”
Indeed, he isn’t the only four-star player JSU grabbed out of high school. Wide receivers Trevante Rucker and Quay Davis are both four-star talents slated to make their college debuts against Florida A&M on Sept. 5. And in a multitude of transfers from Power Five prospects and the fall lineup will look much different than it did in the spring.
“We’re very different. The offense — receivers, O-line — it’s a whole different team. You can’t really compare us to the Old JSU,” he told HBCU Gameday. “We’re the new JSU. “
Shedeur Sanders: We didn’t come here because we had to
Shedeur Sanders said that going up against his defense in practice will help prepare the offense for anything they’ll see this season. He called the JSU defense an “SEC defense.” Indeed, there are several former Power Five transfers on both sides of the ball, including defense. When asked how success against his own defense would translate against SWAC teams, Sanders wanted the distinction clear.
“It equates to a blowout,” he said. “You gotta understand — y’all don’t really understand. It’s players that have a different caliber of talent that all came to JSU. So it’s like when you compare us to a regular SWAC team, a different SWAC team, the best — we didn’t come here because we had to. We came here because we chose to. It’s a difference.”
Those were strong words from the freshman quarterback. But his head coach later backed him up.
“When you have a cornerback that was supposed to be at Georgia, another one that was at Florida State, another one that was at the University of Florida, another one that was at South Carolina, and I could just keep going on and on…It’s like that, so he’s not lying,” Deion Sanders told HBCU Gameday.
“But it’s very completive and they talk junk to one another but it’s all in fun and competition. So the offense is trying to destroy the defense, the defense is trying to destroy the offense, but it’s competitive. It’s a competition at darn near every position we have.”
Social media reactions to Sheduer’s statements were swift and strong. Many people believe he has, at the very least, created a big target on his back. Surely opposing coaches, particularly on the defensive side, will use that soundbite as motivation when they line up against JSU. But the target has been on Shedeur’s back since the day he lined up for his first pee wee game, and honestly, nothing he said at media day would have changed that.
On the flip side, we’ve already seen this spring that the attention the “new JSU” gets only seems to draw out the best in their opponents. And if you are a fan of the SWAC and HBCU football, that’s probably not a bad thing. No matter what it says or does from this point on, JSU is officially the heel of the new SWAC.