Deion Sanders talks Travis Hunter, why he loved playing both ways

Deion Sanders sees a lot of himself in Travis Hunter.

In fact, when the former Jackson State head coach, now the head coach at the University of Colorado, landed a commitment from the five-star running back from Suwanee, Georgia in 2021, he began to map out a plan to how to do it Better utilize Hunter’s unique skill set on both sides of the ball.

“(Travis) has an insatiable desire inside of him,” said Sanders, who joined FOX Sports’ Shannon Sharpe on a recent episode of his podcast, “Club Shay Shay.” “There’s a love and there’s a like, and he (Hunter) loves to play receiver. When the ball’s in his hands, he’s electric.”

Deion Sanders thinks he could have made the Hall of Fame as a receiver

Deion Sanders thinks he could have made the Hall of Fame as a receiver

After officially being named head coach in Colorado on Dec. 3, Sanders began working to make sure Hunter was on board to join him in Boulder. Sure enough, Hunter made it official that he would be joining “Coach Prime,” making an announcement on his Instagram page on Wednesday.

If there’s anyone qualified to coach a very talented young athlete on how to excel on both sides of the ball, it’s Sanders.

As a two-time Super Bowl champion, six-time first-team All-Pro selection and a member of the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame, Sanders is known as one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play football . . But as good as he was at blocking opposing wide receivers, Sanders was also a huge threat on the offensive side of the ball.

Over 14 NFL seasons, Sanders had 60 catches for 784 yards and three touchdowns. Most of those catches came during the 1996 NFL season, when he consistently played both ways for the Dallas Cowboys.

Sanders shared with Sharpe that he received a lot of criticism for trying to play both wide receiver and defensive end, and that many people were skeptical that he could be successful playing both ways.

“I got to a certain level and people started telling me I couldn’t do both,” Sanders told Sharpe. “I’ve never tried to prove anyone wrong because I don’t care about other people’s opinions… because the opinion you have of me is not the opinion I have of myself.”

Sanders finished the 1996 season with 36 receptions for 475 yards and a score. He averaged over 13 yards per catch en route to being named a first-team All-Pro.

“I did it because it’s what I loved to do and I knew I could help my team win,” Sanders said of playing both ways. “The team would do better with the ball in my hands.”

When asked if he could have made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame playing strictly wide receiver, Sanders didn’t hesitate for a second.

“He would have been All-Pro. He would have made the Hall of Fame,” Sanders said. “I truly believe so.”

Sanders envisions a similar path for Hunter, who will be one of the most intriguing players in the country when he takes the field at Colorado in 2023.

When asked what separates Hunter from other players he’s coached, Sanders was quick to credit Hunter’s ability to step up and play his best in the biggest moments.

“A lot of guys are afraid of the moment,” Sanders said. “They say they want the stone, but then they don’t win. When I ask for it… it will win.”

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