Deion Sanders Jr. emulated his father’s speed on the football field when it came to his college decision by quickly committing to the SMU Mustangs.
SMU made an offer to the younger Sanders on Tuesday morning and the wide receiver out of Atlanta Sports Academy accepted. In January, he is going to enroll at SMU and head to Dallas.
“[SMU Wide Receivers] Coach Phillips and [Head] Coach [June] Jones called me,” he told ponypride.com, which first reported the news. “The extended and offer, and I committed to SMU on the spot. It feels great knowing my hard work paid off and I am a part of this great program.”
Sanders is the son of Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback whose penchant for shutting down receivers, earned him the nickname “Prime Time.”
The elder Sanders said his son’s decision to commit to SMU was an easy one. He pointed out that Jones was offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, the corner’s first NFL team.
"June Jones is one of the best football coaches that I've ever played for," Sanders told ponypride.com. "If I'm going to entrust my son in anyone's hands, you couldn't get a better person. Forget the coaching, he's a man that cares about kids' education and a man that will fight for kids at his college and will leave if they're not treated fairly."
The connection between Sanders and SMU is not limited to Jones. Phillips was a former teammate of the Hall of Famer.
"One of the reasons I perform the way I do is because I had someone who I could go against on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and didn't let up. That's Jason Phillips," Sanders said. "I know how he works, prepares and coaches. He did it at Houston and everywhere he's gone. I know the recruiter and the father he is."
The younger Sanders is expected to be a wide receiver at SMU, although he is also capable of playing cornerback and return kicks like his father.
Sanders Jr. also received interest from UCF, South Florida and Rutgers, according to ponypride.com.
The elder Sanders said he didn’t give his son any breaks because of his pedigree.
"We have the same last name, and that cripples peoples' perception sometimes. But I wanted him to work his butt off and earn it, and that's what he did. He never looked at me to give him a pass,” he said. “I'm probably his toughest trainer and his toughest coach. We work out together all the time, and I stayed on his butt. He got a taste of being away from home this fall, which I loved."
SMU needs a win on Saturday against Tulsa to become bowl eligible. The Mustangs are currently 5-6, including a 4-3 record in Conference USA. Tulsa is undefeated in the conference and has a 9-2 record.
Sanders Jr. used his Twitter page to proclaim that SMU will improve next season.
“The pony express is back! We makin history!” the wide receiver wrote.