Jeannette’s James Sanders gets D1 offer after stellar opener

Thursday, September 17, 2020 | 10:07 PM

As James Sanders caught passes and padded his yards-after-catch numbers last Friday night against visiting Clairton, he knew in the back of his mind he was creating footage for his highlight video.

Sure, it was only Week 1, but in a season that comes with no guarantees, it’s better to start filming now rather than later.

Sanders, a senior wide receiver and defensive back at Jeannette, saw a sparse crowd was looking on at McKee Stadium. Only Jeannette senior parents were allowed in the stands. What he did not know was that St. Francis (Pa.) was about to enjoy his game clips and make him a scholarship offer.

That’s what happened Thursday as the Red Flash reached out to the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Sanders, who had eight catches for 152 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 34-28 loss to top-rated Clairton.

Sanders, who believes he was recruited to play defense, said the offer is a result of hard work that was on display in the season opener.

And don’t forget sacrifice. Remember, Sanders was a starting quarterback last season and threw for 1,357 yards and 16 touchdowns. He moved to wideout to make room for budding freshman quarterback Brad Birch, who passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns in his debut.

Sanders’ brother, Gio Vonne Sanders, a former Jeannette standout quarterback and wrestler, is a redshirt junior defensive back at St. Francis.

Could this set the wheels in motion for a possible Sanders’ reunion in Loretto?

“It means a lot … especially with Gio Vonne (there),” James Sanders said “It feels good to maybe have the chance to play with him for the first time ever in my football career.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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