College students are making history, thanks to the changes to the name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules.
Next up is Jackson State University (JSU) quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who becomes the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) athlete to sign a multi-year deal with Gatorade.
“It’s an honor to join the Gatorade Family and represent this historic moment for HBCU athletes,” said Shedeur Sanders, according to a press release sent to AfroTech. “I can’t wait to work with Gatorade on and off the field to help create even more opportunities for HBCU students and athletes.”
Shedeur Sanders can celebrate being a new signee alongside other accomplishments, which include becoming the first HBCU athlete to win the Jerry Rice Award. More recently, the 19-year-old star was named Freshman of the Year at the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
“As one of the country’s best freshmen college football players, Shedeur Sanders is another incredible addition to the Gatorade Family,” said Chauncey Hamlett, CMO/VP of PepsiCo Beverages North America, South Division, according to a press release. “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.”
Sanders Will Increase HBCU Awareness
Under Sanders’ partnership with Gatorade, he will work to increase the exposure of HBCU programs and athletes. The gesture honors PepsiCo’s pledge to support Black talent.
According to a press release, PepsiCo has honored its stance by previously announcing partnerships with JSU Coach Deion Sanders and the National Battle of The Bands. In addition, Pepsico launched Pepsi’s first HBCU commercial spotlighting JSU and Florida A&M University marching bands and became the primary beverage sponsor of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Sanders now becomes the second college athlete to join Gatorade, following Paige Bueckers. The pair join an impressive roster of elites such as Serena Williams, J.J. Watt, Zion Williamson, Trevor Lawrence, DK Metcalf, Candace Parker, Jayson Tatum, and more.