After becoming the first HBCU athlete to win the Jerry Rice Award, and recently being named the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Freshman of the Year after propelling Jackson State University to its first conference championship since 2007, quarterback Shedeur Sanders is announcing another first: He’s inked a historic NIL (name, image, and likeness) deal with Gatorade to become the sports fuel company’s first HBCU athlete.
“It’s an honor to join the Gatorade family and represent this historic moment for HBCU athletes,” he said in a statement provided to The Root. “I can’t wait to work with Gatorade on and off the field to help create even more opportunities for HBCU students and athletes.”
Per a press release, Gatorade’s parent company, PepsiCo, describes the intent behind the deal as such:
This is the latest step in PepsiCo’s long-term commitment to HBCUs and fostering Black talent, which includes a partnership with JSU Coach Deion Sanders, the release of Pepsi’s first HBCU commercial spotlighting JSU and Florida A&M University marching bands, multi-year partnerships with the National Battle of The Bands and as the primary beverage sponsor of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and more.
The 19-year-old took to Instagram to announce his partnership with Gatorade with a single word: “Legendary”.
I suppose that’s one way to describe it, but his father, JSU head coach Deion Sanders, opted to use a few more words in order to sing his son’s praises on his own Instagram account.
“As your father I’m proud of u son,” he wrote. “Now as your coach, go work your butt off 😂😂 @shedeursanders @gatorade @pepsi @gojsutigersfb @smacentertainment”
“As one of the country’s best freshmen college football players, Shedeur Sanders is another incredible addition to the Gatorade Family,” Chauncey Hamlett, CMO/VP of PepsiCo Beverages North America, South Division, said in a statement provided to The Root. “In his first year at Jackson State University, he’s already demonstrated the excellence and tenacity Gatorade athletes are known for and we’re excited to partner with him and build upon our commitment of supporting HBCUs and their athletes.”
We at The Root love to see Black excellence being rewarded with big money, and salute the young King.
Check out a clip of Shedeur pledging allegiance to Gatorade below.