Alabama coach Nick Saban set fire to college football’s offseason on Wednesday night by flat-out claiming Texas A&M “bought” every player on its team through name, image and likeness (NIL) deals. However, the Aggies weren’t the only ones in Saban’s crosshairs during a. Jackson State and coach Deion Sanders were also targeted when Saban said the Tigers paid a recruit seven figures to sign a National Letter of Intent.
“Jackson State paid a guy $1 million last year who was a really good Division I player to come to their school,” said Saban. “It was in the paper, and they bragged about it. No one did anything about it.”
Saban was likely referring to former Florida State commit Travis Hunter Jr. The No. 1 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class stunned the sport in December’s Early Signing Period when he spurned the Seminoles and signed with Jackson State. The dollar amount would appear to stem from reports — which have been refuted — that Hunter earned $1 million through an NIL deal with Barstool Sports.
Regardless, the claim didn’t sit well with Sanders, who quickly fired back on Twitter while teasing a longer response on Thursday.
“You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.”
You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) May 19, 2022
Saban and Sanders have shot commercials together recently, which could make their next encounter a bit awkward, especially since Saban was complimentary toward Sanders following Hunter’s commitment.
“I have a lot of respect for Deion Sanders,” Saban said at the time. “He’s a good coach. He’s a good guy, was a great player. Has got a great personality, and I enjoy doing commercials with him. But it’s not for me to comment on who makes what decisions to go where based on what circumstances. He got a great player, and I think that’s good for his program. I’m not really going to make any comments about what happened. I don’t really know the background or the details of what happened there. to make those choices and those decisions. That’s why it’s America. Everybody has freedom of choice. I’m happy for him that he got a great player.”