Shedeur Sanders Jackson State
2023 Football

Transfer portal taketh: HBCU to Power Five players to watch

Many of the top HBCU players from 2023 are now playing at the Power Five level. Here are 10 that could make an impact this fall.

The transfer portal has transformed all of college football, and that includes HBCU football. When it was initially announced roughly five years ago, many people predicted that the results would be helpful for HBCUs. While there have certainly been some success stories, there has also been a raid on talent from black colleges, along with other small schools, by the Power Five and FBS programs.

The 2023 transfer portal cycle has been much of the same. Most of these players were diamonds in the rough that shined brightly during their time at HBCUs. Others came to HBCUs from PWIs, made their mark and are looking to finish their careers to where they deem as greener pastures. Here are 10 transfers to watch at the Power Five level this season. 

QB Shedeur Sanders — Jackson State to Colorado

It’s no surprise to see this name here. Shedeur was headed to Florida Atlantic before Coach Prime got the call from God and Ashley Robinson to come to Jackson State. He came in, put up gaudy numbers, won back-to-back SWAC titles and left with the Deacon Jones Trophy as he followed his father to Colorado. 

Travis Hunter, Jackson State, HBCU Gameday
Travis Hunter’s time at Jackson State was brief but entertaining. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday photo)

WR/DB Travis Hunter — Jackson State to Colorado
Just like Shedeur Sanders, Hunter was at Jackson State because Deion Sanders was the head coach. He entered the transfer portal hours after catching a pair of touchdown passes at the Celebration Bowl, including one that sent the game into overtime. He was in the HBCU world for a good time, not a long time. 

RB Sy’Veon Wilkerson — Jackson State to Colorado
It seems so long ago, but Sy’Veon Wilkerson actually started his career at Delaware State. He had a standout 2021 season and then hit the transfer portal where he had a cup of coffee at West Virginia before transferring to Jackson State. Wilkerson helped Jackson State go undefeated in the regular season and claim the SWAC title. He’s now been reunited with Deion Sanders, whom he said was the reason he came to Jackson State. 

Kevin Coleman, Jackson State
Kevin Coleman walks the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium prior to the Celebration Bowl. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)

WR Kevin Coleman Jr — Jackson State to Louisville
While Travis Hunter was the headliner of Jackson State’s 2022 recruiting class, Kevin Coleman Jr. wasn’t far behind him. Coleman was named SWAC Rookie of The Year in 2022 after catching 33 passes for 510 yards (15.5 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. He didn’t follow Coach Prime to Colorado, instead, he wound up in the ACC. Look for him to be a factor this season.

WR Shane Hooks — Jackson State to Auburn
Hooks started his career in the FBS at Ohio, where he redshirted in 2018. He averaged nearly 20 yards per reception as a redshirt freshman in 2019 and then led the program in receiving in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Hooks joined JSU after Deion Sanders took over and last season he caught 66 passes for 775 yards and 10 scores. He initially committed to Mississippi but later switched to Auburn.

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Transfer portal taketh: HBCU to Power Five players to watch
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