LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When it came to his final decision, Travis Hunter did what he felt was best for his future.
Despite a long commitment in the state of Florida, despite the continued openings of Georgia, what seemed like the right choice for prospect number 1 in the class of 2022 was to do something completely different, something completely unprecedented.
“I want to determine my future,” Hunter said here at the Under Armor All-America Game. “I don’t want anyone to say what I’m going to do, so I went my own way.”
That path led to Jackson, Miss., And playing for the coach Deion Sanders to the state of Jackson.
Hunter’s main role is as a cornerback, but thanks to his elite skills he also received 85 passes for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. He is considered to be one of the most athletic and emotional filmmakers in Rivals’ history which dates back to 2002.
The most important thing for him was learning from Sanders and being taught the cornerback position from one of the greats.
That luck wasn’t something that Suwanee (Ga.) Protagonist Collins Hill would give up even if it meant shirking the chance to play on the biggest stages of college football.
“I will play for one of the best who have ever done it in my position,” said Hunter. “The best I’ve ever done in my location. I want to learn the game and I want to be as big as him.
“I knew I wanted to be just like him or even better than him, so I pretty much idolized him. Being coached by him is a great opportunity “.
Playing in an HBCU was also an intriguing proposition. Hunter doesn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of HBCU football history and really started learning about his roots once he visited Jackson state this season. The list of players who have attended those schools is incredibly long and impressive and it starts with Jerry rice And Walter Payton.
The five-star may someday join that list and follow those superstars in the NFL.
“It’s great for me because I have little brothers and sisters,” Hunter said. “They all want to be just like me or be better than me, so it was to show them that you don’t have to go to big college. You can go to an HBCU.
“When I first went to visit JSU, that’s when I pretty much learned that story.”
Hunter didn’t want to hurt Florida State fans, but he wanted to make his choice. The five-star said he even worked to hold the Florida state recruiting class together because he didn’t want to leave a wrong impression.
“I made sure the commits that were there stayed with them, so I didn’t fake them or anything,” Hunter said.
The way the five-star picked Jackson State was typical of Hunter, and Sanders managed to do it too.
On the morning of National Signing Day, rumors began to leak that Hunter could do something crazy. The night before Sanders said he would “shock the world” which is typical recruiting language, but that rarely happens.
There was a palpable buzz and energy in the room as Hunter began making his announcement. He threw away his hats for Georgia and the state of Florida. Then he opened a hoodie to show a Jackson State shirt.
Then his mom in the crowd threw up a Jackson State hat, but it sure wasn’t going to be called a strike.
“There was no practice,” Hunter said. “He just threw it up there.”
The five-star got him. Sure, it did. Hunter never lets a good opportunity pass.