Why Travis Hunter, the No. 1 recruit for 2022, left FSU and the FBS for Jackson State

Travis Hunter went through the hat line. First it was an Auburn hat. He put it on his head and then tossed it aside. Next, he tried on a Georgia hat. He said he liked it too and it fit him well, but it wasn’t his.

Those who tuned in late to the announcement ceremony for the nation’s number one recruit would have expected him to take the Florida State hat and put it on. The five-star cornerback has been a Seminoles engagement since March 3, 2020, and nothing seemed to change before the early signing period began.

“It’s always been on my mind, but check it out. Mom, go get that hat,” Hunter said as he tossed the Florida State hat aside. Then they flipped a Jackson State hat on him. He put it on, then added a Jackson State jacket as well.

Hunter was listed by 247Sports Composite Rankings as the number one recruit in the 2022 class. Now, he is willing to skip going to a Power Five school. Not even an FBS school. Instead, he will join Deion Sanders at FCS HBCU Jackson State in one of the most unprecedented decisions in college football recruiting history.

There is no precedent for Hunter’s decision to go to Jackson State. In the past, No. 1 recruits flocked to annual college football powers, most of the time landing with contenders for the annual title.

Here’s a look at the latest No. 1 recruits, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings, for the last 10 years.

Year Player Position Commit
2021 Quinn Ewers QB Ohio State
2020 Bryan Bresee DT Clemson
2019 Nolan smith Delaware Georgia
2018 Trevor lawrence QB Clemson
2017 Jaelan phillips Delaware UCLA
2016 Rashan gary DT Michigan
2015. Trenton thompson DT Georgia
2014 Leonard fournette RB LSU
2013 Robert Nkemdiche Delaware Ole miss
2012 Dorial Green-Beckham WR Mizzou

Each team is a Power Five program, and most teams have been deemed title contenders, or at least qualified, during this time.

So why did Hunter make this decision? In his announcement post on Twitter, Hunter said it had been a lifelong dream to play for Florida State, and he never had any doubts that he would play there.

“It is a dream that is difficult to let go, but sometimes we are called to take a step towards a future greater than we imagine for ourselves. For me, that future is at Jackson State University,” Hunter said in his post. . “Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, and of course the legend, JSU’s own Walter Payton. Historically, black colleges and universities have a rich history in soccer. I want to be a part of that history, and more, I want to be a part of that future. ” . “

Hunter explained that he wants to be an example to others that HBCUs can have everything athletes look for, “an exciting college experience, a vital community and a life-changing place to play soccer.”

Hunter’s engagement is the latest big stir Sanders has made since joining the Tigers. His 2021 recruiting class featured five four-star recruits and he was ranked 55th in the nation, according to 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. One of the players was De’Jahn Warren, the nation’s second junior college prospect, and the other was Shedeur Sanders, the 241st recruit in the 2021 class.

Sanders’ turnaround at Jackson State has been swift. He was hired to be the head coach in September 2020 and led the Tigers to a 4-3 record in the postponed 2020 season, which took place in the spring of 2021. The Tigers were 11-1 in 2021, however, they performed perfectly. 9-0 in SWAC game, winning division and conference. They will play in the black national championship, the Celebration Bowl, on December 18.

For Hunter, there will also be the appeal of playing for Sanders, a former Florida state cornerback who is in the College Football and Professional Football Hall of Fame. He finished his career with two Super Bowl titles and eight Pro Bowl honors. He was both a cornerback and wide receiver in the NFL, finishing his career with 53 interceptions, nine interceptions returned for touchdowns, 13 fumble recoveries, 784 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.