Nick Saban might have violated “the code” when he called out Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M’s recruiting successes by name Wednesday night at gathering of influential business executives and leaders in Birmingham, Alabama.
He didn’t single out his Aflac Insurance commercial co-star Deion Sanders, not the duck, by name in those same comments, but Saban nonetheless took aim at Sanders’s Jackson State Tigers program, which boasted a much-ballyhooed signing class that included consensus five-star prospect Travis Hunter.
“Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school,” Saban told the crowd. “It was in the paper. They bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it.”
Though far from the only prospect snagged by Sanders for his Tigers’ program, Hunter was the most high-profile player signed by JSU and the one to whom much coverage was dedicated about Hunter’s alleged Name, Image & Likeness endorsement pacts; it was a particularly prevailing sentiment among coaches.
Both Sanders and Hunter took aim at those allegations on the heels of Saban’s comments.
“I got a mil? But my mom still stay in a three bed room house with five kids,” Hunter tweeted earlier today, which prompted the following response from Sanders:
“I don’t even make a million (as JSU’s head coach),” Sanders said. “Lolololol.”
Just after midnight Thursday morning, Sanders had launched his first Tweet directed at Saban’s allegations.
“You best believe I will address that LIE Coach Saban told tomorrow,” Sanders posted around 11:10 p.m. CT. “I was awakened by my son (Shedeur, JSU’s starting quarterback) that sent me the article stating that we PAYED (sic) Travis Hunter Jr. a Million to play at (Jackson State).
“We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.”
Sanders then fired off two more interactive Tweets that showed Sanders looking at his watch and included on-screen text that read, “I will be addressing the lies that were told by Coach Saban soon.”
Saban’s comments, of course, prompted A&M’s Fisher to conduct a hastily assembled press conference Thursday morning, during which Fisher lambasted his former boss as a “narcissist” and “we build him up to be the czar of college football. Go dig into (Saban’s) past.”