Colorado Buffaloes football: Deion Sanders lands No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter, 23 others on first signing day – The Denver Post

Deion Sanders reeled in the big one Wednesday night.

Colorado’s new head football coach concluded his first signing day with the Buffaloes by landing one of the best players in the country.

Travis Hunter is coming to Boulder.

The No. 1-rated player in the nation coming out of high school a year ago and the most coveted player in the transfer portal this winter, Hunter has elected to follow Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado.

A cornerback and receiver, Hunter is the highest-rated recruit in CU history, with a .9999 rating by 247Sports.com. The only other five-star recruits for CU in the 247Sports database are Darrell Scott (2008, .998 rating), Marcus Houston (2000, .998) and Ryan Miller (2007, .9859).

Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer now nicknamed “Coach Prime,”  kicked off his first signing period Wednesday with the Buffaloes by landing 14 high school recruits and 10 transfers, including his son Shedeur, who was the star quarterback at Jackson State the past two seasons, and Hunter.

“I committed to Coach Prime at Jackson State when he was there, and I want to honor my commitment and stay with him,” Hunter said during a YouTube video he posted Wednesday night to announce his decision. “I’ve gotta stay with my dawg.”

Coach Sanders went against tradition by not conducting a signing day press conference, but the work of Sanders and his staff spoke volumes as the three-day early signing period got underway.

Hunter was, of course, the headliner.

A year ago, he shocked the college football world when he chose to attend Jackson State of the Football Championship Subdivision instead of Florida State. He picked the Tigers to play for and learn from Sanders.

Playing in eight games for JSU this season, Hunter posted 20 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions on defense. As a receiver, he caught 18 passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns.

Hunter had his best game as a receiver in Saturday’s Celebration Bowl, catching four passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-34 overtime loss to North Carolina Central. His 19-yard touchdown catch from Shedeur Sanders on the final play of regulation sent the game to overtime.

Shedeur Sanders, who has known since his father was named head coach on Dec. 3 that he’d be coming to Boulder, finally made it official Wednesday.

As a sophomore this season, Shedeur completed 70.6% of his passes for 3,732 yards, 40 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while also rushing for six scores in leading JSU to a 12-1 season. In two seasons with the Tigers, Shedeur threw for 6,963 yards, 70 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and led them to a 23-3 record and two SWAC titles.

In addition to landing Hunter and Shedeur Sanders, the Buffs stole a pair of recruits from Auburn and another from SMU and signed several ready-to-play transfers in the trenches.

CU’s 2023 recruiting class ranks 29th nationally. The average player rating of 87.82 is by far the best average CU’s had since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The previous best was 85.64 last year.

The Buffs made some noise in landing Adam Hopkins, a four-star receiver from Thomas County Central (Ga.) High School, and Isaiah Jatta, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive tackle from Snow College who earned junior college All-American honors this season.

Jatta, rated as a top-10 JUCO prospect by 247Sports, was projected to sign with Auburn and had previous been committed to South Carolina. Hopkins had been verbally committed to Auburn and didn’t announce his decision to come to CU until a signing day celebration at his school.

Another signing day surprise came when Jaden Milliner-Jones, a safety from DeSoto (Texas) High School, chose the Buffs. He committed to SMU in June and had a table filled with SMU balloons at his signing day celebration Wednesday. He then took off his sweatshirt to reveal a Colorado T-shirt and announced he would be signing with the Buffs.

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The highest rated prep player in the class is running back Dylan Edwards from Derby, Kan. A former Notre Dame commit, the four-star prospect flipped to CU on Dec. 10. Edwards has a 92.70 rating at 247Sports.com, the third-best by any CU prep signee in the last 11 recruiting classes.

Another player CU flipped was cornerback Carter Stoutmire. He committed to Arizona in  June, but visited CU last weekend and flipped to the Buffs on Tuesday. He made it official by signing Wednesday.

Jatta was one of five transfer linemen to sign a financial aid agreement with the Buffs on Wednesday. Landon Bebee (Missouri State) was a two-team All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team selection. Tyler Brown was a third-team FCS All-American at Jackson State. Jack Wilty (Iowa Central Community College) was a first-team all-conference performer this season. And, Savion Washington (Kent State) was a 10-game starter for the Golden Flashes.

In the high school ranks, CU went heavy at receiver. Of the 14 prep players who signed national letters of intent with the Buffs on Wednesday, five are receivers. That group is led by Hopkins, but also includes four three-star recruits: Isaiah Hardge, Jordan Onovughe, Jacob Page, Asaad Waseem.

Overall, the Buffs also landed four linebackers, including three prep players. Transfer LaVonta Bentley (Clemson) leads a group that includes Victory Johnson, Morgan Pearson and Kofi Taylor-Barrocks.

While CU added 24 players Wednesday, coach Sanders isn’t done.

He told BuffZone last week, “Wednesday’s a big deal, but there’s a continuation after that. … It’s not the end-all. You can’t just hang your hat on the high school day. You’ve got to hang your hat on the other days.”

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