HBCUs are moving on up! 19-year-old Shedeur Sanders has made history and the first HBCU athlete to sign a deal with Gatorade.

Sanders, son of JSU’s head coach and former NFL superstar Deion Sanders, has been on a winning streak. Sanders was also the first HBCU athlete to receive the Jerry Rice Award, and was recently name as the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Freshman of the Year after leading Jackson State University to its first conference championship since 2007.

“It’s an honor to join the Gatorade family and represent this historic moment for HBCU athletes,” he said in an interview with 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.”

Gatorade’s parent company, PepsiCo, released a statement regarding the deal:

“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”

His father and coach Deion Sanders posted a heartwarming congratulations in an Instagram post.


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“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. “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.”