BUFFS

Prime says Shedeur and Hunter will ‘pull an Eli Manning’ in Draft

Mar 25, 2024, 10:53 AM | Updated: 1:33 pm

Come this time next year Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter might go from competing together for the Colorado Buffaloes to against each other for the first spot in the NFL Draft. While their coach Deion Sanders says both players are for sure going in the top four picks of the 2025 event, they might not actually want to go to certain teams who would be selecting toward the top.

Coach Prime said earlier in March that he wouldn’t want his son and the quarterback of the Buffs to be in the situation Caleb Williams is in this year. While Prime thinks Shedeur could go first, he wouldn’t want him playing in a cold city like Chicago. Now the elder Sanders has doubled down in talking about each of the two biggest pro prospects the Buffaloes have had in some time.

“Top four, anywhere one through four, one of them is going to go one and the other won’t go past four,” Coach Prime said on a Barstool show. “I know where I want them to go, let’s not forget Shilo (Sanders.) There’s certain cities where it’s not going to happen, it’s going to be an Eli (Manning.)”

Pro Football Talk pointed out earlier this month that the last two big-name quarterbacks entering the NFL to refuse a destination happened in 1983 with John Elway and in 2004 with Eli Manning. That’s 21 years apart, and 21 years from the younger Manning’s choice to make the Giants pick him instead of the Chargers is 2025, when Shedeur Sanders will be selected. Could history repeat itself?

Well, there’s a strong case to be made that maybe Prime is right, to begin with—we all get to choose where to work and what location that may be but in the NFL you’re drafted to a city and told you must work there for a certain amount of time at the start of your career.

Given the star profiles of both Shedeur and Travis Hunter, they might actually have the power to have some say in the manner. Of course, this is going to bug a lot of people and most won’t see the hypocrisy of simply being able to choose where you want to work.

Deion didn’t specify this time why he wants Shedeur and Travis in certain cities but not others.

This past season both Sanders and Hunter shot up draft boards. The quarterback authored the Buffs hot start after transferring from Jackson State. Shedeur had multiple record-breaking performances and his last quarter of play in the season saw him break Colorado’s school record for passing yards in a season which is now 3,230 yards. The record was held by Sefo Liufau’s at 3,200. Sanders also finished just shy of Liufau’s mark of most passing touchdowns in a Buffaloes season, set at 28, also in 2014. Sanders had 26 TD tosses in 2023 which is good for second in program history. Sanders ended the year some snaps short of the finish line as a shoulder injury kept him off the field for the Buffaloes finale. That pain was likely caused by a struggling offensive line which seems to be revamped headed into 2024.

Meanwhile, Hunter is an early favorite for the 2024 Heisman Trophy because of his unique ability to play both defense and offense. The wide receiver and defensive back standout helped the Buffs to a 4-8 record and some of those losses came when Hunter missed games thanks to a dirty hit in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Still, the first two-way star at Colorado had a great year, catching 57 passes for 721 yards and five touchdowns on offense while making 30 tackles and snagging three picks on defense. He ended the season with the most snaps played in FBS despite his three-and-a-half game absence, playing 436 snaps on offense, 566 on defense and 30 on special teams to surpass—an average of 115 plays a game. Hunter became the first player in at least the last quarter century with 50-plus receptions and three or more interceptions, the only comparable season coming from future Denver Broncos legend Champ Bailey in 1998 at Georgia when he had 47 receptions for 744 yards and five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Both Sanders and Hunter return to Boulder with sky-high goals for this coming Buffs season.

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