Gatorade is making its first-ever NIL splash with an HBCU athlete in partnering with Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the sports drink company announced Thursday.

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“It’s an honor to join the Gatorade family and represent this historic moment for HBCU athletes,” Sanders said in a statement. “I can’t wait to work with Gatorade on and off the field to help create even more opportunities for HBCU students and athletes.

Sanders is the first HBCU student-athlete to join the legendary sports fuel drink’s roster of elite athletes like Serena Williams, J.J. Watt, Zion Williamson, Trevor Lawrence, DK Metcalf, Candace Parker, and Jayson Tatum.


As part of the multi-year agreement, Sanders, who is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, will work with Gatorade to drive national exposure of historically Black college programs and their athletes. Sanders was named the 2021 Jerry Rice Award winner as the best freshman in FCS football and also has deals with BRADY Brand and Beats by Dre. 

The move to sign Shedeur is part of Gatorade owner PepsiCo’s mission to commit to HBCUs and foster Black talent.