Jackson State’s Shedeur Sanders has become the first Historically Black College and University student-athlete to sign a deal with popular sports drink brand Gatorade.
Sanders will join Gatorade’s roster of athlete brand ambassadors, such as tennis great Serena Williams; NBA stars Zion Williamson and Jayson Tatum; WNBA player Candace Parker; and, among others, NFL players J.J. Watt, Trevor Lawrence, DK Metcalf and Jayson Tatum.
“I’m honored to be a part of the Gatorade family. First and foremost, I’m blessed. It’s a great opportunity. As a kid, I was drinking Gatorade regularly. So now that we have the opportunity to partner with them and be a part of Gatorade, I’m very blessed,” said Sanders of his groundbreaking NIL deal. Sanders is the son of NFL legend Deion Sanders, who is the head coach of the Tigers.
Under new rules, college athletes can now monetize and profit from their personal brand, which consists of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).
As part of the multi-year partnership, Sanders will help Gatorade to drive national exposure of HBCU programs and athletes, Sports Illustrated reported.
According to Sanders, Gatorade would “definitely be helping other HBCUs. This is about the numbers. It’s about to go crazy. So right now, we’re still planning on the exact details. I’ll just let you know whenever we got things finalized.”
Sanders told The Undefeated he feels companies should be looking to HBCUs to make NIL deals. “This whole HBCU thing that’s going on right now is bringing national attention,” Sanders said. “We got players from Power 5 actually coming to HBCU schools now, it wasn’t like that a couple years ago, so it’s just really exciting to see that competition will go up. Everything’s going to go up, and honestly, other players in HBCUs should get deals also.”
Sanders, 19, is a standout player. He led the Jackson State Tigers to the 2021 Southwestern Athletic Conference or SWAC Championship in his freshman year. He earned the 2021 Jerry Rice Award as the nation’s top FCS college freshman player; he was the first HBCU player to get the award.
Sanders is considered one of the most coveted college football athletes, according to Fox Business.