JACKSON, Miss. (BVM) – When Travis Hunter flipped his commitment from powerhouse Florida State to HBCU Jackson State to join head coach Deion Sanders and his son Shedeur, it took the world by storm. Now, just over a year after that shocking decision, Hunter is once again at the center of the recruiting world as he announced his decision to officially enter the transfer portal after his true freshman season.
“Yes, I have entered the transfer portal,” Hunter said in a YouTube video he posted on his personal channel. “And I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but I know I’m trying to look for a new home and I want to take my time out in this decision and go ahead and weigh my options out. I don’t want to rush into nothing or jump into nothing.”
The former No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2022 had a stellar season for the Tigers during his first year in Jackson. Though primarily a defensive back, Hunter was used on both sides of the ball by Jackson State, showing off his unmatched athleticism. During the season, Hunter racked up 19 total tackles, eight pass deflections, two interceptions and an interception return for a touchdown while also catching 18 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns on offense. His play was highlighted during the team’s Celebration Bowl game on Saturday when he had a pass deflection to go along with four catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns against North Carolina Central.
Given his stellar play as a true freshman and the hype he had as a prep recruit, Hunter will have plenty of options of where to go next. Here are some of the favorites to land the athlete’s services.
This almost goes without saying that Hunter would be interested in reuniting with Coach Sanders and his new program at the University of Colorado. Of course, the fact Sanders is the head man there is reason enough for the Buffaloes to be the favorite to land the athlete. He even alluded to such in his video though wouldn’t commit right then.
“Yes, everyone wants me to follow Coach Prime and I want to follow Coach Prime too,” Hunter said. “But I need to know if it’s a fit for me then I’ll go, if it’s not a fit for me I’m not going.”
Even with him not making any official move to join the Buffs, Hunter did spend time in Boulder over the weekend with Sheduer being seen in multiple social media posts with his former quarterback and others.
The team Hunter originally spurned is likely salivating right now. Not only do the Florida State Seminoles have a chance to rewrite a bit of history by landing Hunter, but head coach Mike Norvell showed just how good of a program he has during his first season in Tallahassee.
When Hunter originally committed to FSU, the Seminoles had just finished a 5-7 campaign, their fourth straight losing season. Under Norvell, Florida State flipped the script, going 9-3, a No. 13 ranking and earning a berth in the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma. If Hunter’s biggest concern was the lack of winning, Norvell has certainly quieted those fears and the team could do even more winning with the athlete in the fold.
Another team that was in on Hunter, the Georgia Bulldogs have shown they can develop some of the best defenders in the country. This would also be a homecoming for Hunter as he played his high school football in the state at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia.
The Bulldogs have a bit of everything that Hunter could be looking for. They had the most draft picks of any school in the 2022 NFL Draft, they are the most recent national champions and they currently hold the No. 1 seed for this year’s College Football Playoff. If Hunter wants to go back home and have success doing so, Georgia would be the clear choice for the rising sophomore.
While they may not have many advantages on paper as the teams listed ahead of them on this list, as college football fans know one cannot simply rule the Alabama Crimson Tide out. Head coach Nick Saban offered Hunter when he was in high school so the connection is there and if there has been a consistent team over the past decade-plus in college football it’s Alabama.
For Hunter, while the direct lines to his interest in the Tide may not be clear, just knowing the success the team has had over the years and its ability to develop top-end talent into high-quality NFL players should be appealing enough. Given their penchant for landing top recruits, don’t be shocked if somehow Alabama swoops in and poaches Hunter even if they don’t seem like a true fit right now.
Another school without a clear connection to Hunter, USC makes for an interesting case study. The Trojans never offered Hunter initially, however, head coach Lincoln Riley did when he was head coach for the Oklahoma Sooners. This means the two have a connection, though maybe not a strong one. The team is also rather good as the Trojans finished 11-2 with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams.
Another interesting twist to this is Hunter’s social media presence and popularity. As a rising influencer with over 1.2 million followers between his Instagram, TikTok and Twitter pages, not even including his 69,900 subscribers on YouTube, Hunter could see Los Angeles as a place where he could further spread his wings and grow his own personal brand. With NIL deals becoming more and more important in recruiting, even things like location and accessibility to brands become crucial to understanding recruits’ mindsets.