Terrell Owens on Travis Hunter: ‘There’s not a white coach that can go into a Black man’s home and do what Deion did’

Owens and Shannon Sharpe recently shared their personal views about Hunter's plans to play college football for Sanders at Jackson State University.

Head coaches like Deion Sanders have a leg up when it comes to recruiting top Black athletes like Travis Hunter, according to NFL Hall Of Famer Terrell Owens.

The retired 48-year-old wide receiver shared his personal views over the weekend about how Sanders convinced Hunter, the #2 high school football recruit in the nation, to play college football at Jackson State, an HBCU in Mississippi, instead of Florida State, where the 18-year-old phenom verbally committed to play earlier this year.

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
Hall of Famer Terrell Owens at a game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium on Dec. 6, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Hunter’s announcement on Wednesday shook up the sports world as many began speculating about what it could mean for the future of college football, a sport long dominated by a disproportionate amount of Black athletes playing for white head coaches at predominantly white institutions.

“To go into [Hunter’s] home, who looks like him, and then obviously have the conversation with his mom … there’s not a white coach that can go into a Black man’s home and do what Deion did,” Owens said Saturday during a HANG webchat with Undisputed co-host Shannon Sharpe.

Sharpe, another retired NFL Hall Of Famer who played college ball at Savannah State University, an HBCU in Georgia, agreed with Owens. He pointed out that Sanders, regarded by many as the best cornerback to ever play the game, has lived experiences as a former pro athlete and a Black man that most white coaches do not.

That resume, according to Sharpe, gives Sanders an advantage talking with Black parents about their sons’ football future.

“You’re talking about somebody that’s credentialed beyond credentialed,” Sharpe said of Sanders on Saturday. “He’s a Hall Of Famer. He’s universally regarded as the best corner to ever play. And he said, ‘I believe your son can play on the next level. I want to help him achieve that goal. But I also want to help him achieve becoming a man.'”

Retired NFL veteran Hugh Douglas, who was also in the chat, praised Jackson State and Sanders’ for bringing rappers Young Jeezy and T.I. to speak to players past and present.

Douglas also praised Sanders for recently letting his team receive advice from controversial Instagram influencer Brittany Renner, who talked to the players about dating and how to avoid being preyed on by Instagram models, groupies and gold diggers.

Renner is famous for telling her social media followers that athletes are “really dumb” and “don’t use condoms” in a viral video that surfaced earlier this year after she had a son with NBA star P.J. Washington.

“Now I know a lot of people, when they looked at that initially, they were probably shocked about that,” Douglas said of Sanders bringing Renner and Jeezy to talk to his team. “But for them to come here and tell these kids about potentially what they’re going to be facing in life, man I don’t see [Clemson head coach] Dabo Sweeney or anybody else being able to relate to them like that on that level. You can’t do it.”

Hunter hasn’t stopped promoting HBCUs since announcing his plans to attend one. On Tuesday, he expressed gratitude on Twitter for all the positive attention he’s received since his announcement, but asked his followers and fans to spread the love to the larger HBCU community.

“Let me nudge the spotlight over to HBCUs,” Hunter tweeted. “Let’s massively support them… Alumni, grantors, athletes – it’s going to take all of us. Who’s with me? This is our moment.”

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