Georgia Bloodlines

One parent played basketball and the other played football at the University of Georgia. There is a lot of talent in the genes and a lot of love for the Dawgs for this up-and-coming Peach State athlete...

In the mid 90s, Brandi Hunter was playing basketball and Brice Hunter was playing football for the University of Georgia.

Brice set records receiving on the football field and Brandi helped the Lady Dawgs get to the final four twice during their careers.

There is another Hunter on the way and he is off to a great start as a freshman at Atlanta (Ga.) Riverwood.

He did not start right away, but by game three, he was the started. He finished the regular season with 11 sacks and he is still learning how to play defensive end.

"I grew up playing offensive guard, then I moved to center, and then I played running back in eighth grade," said Jaden Hunter with a laugh.

"I was pretty dominant growing up on the offensive line, but I didn't like it. I really hated playing offensive line, but I was pretty good at it, so it worked out. I moved to running back and learned to make the reads, to have the ball in my hands, and a I liked that a lot better."

He has moved back to the line though as a ninth grader. This time playing defensive line.

"I had to figure out in the offseason where I needed to play and I thought defensive end was a good spot for me. I had to put in a lot of work and learn to use my hands, how to get out of my stance, beat the offensive linemen, and things like that.

"I just thought about the future and thought defensive end could be a spot that gives me a chance to earn a Division 1 scholarship one day, so I went to that position. I am liking it right now."

You might want to ask Hunter for the lottery numbers in your town because he may be able to see the future.

He is off to a great start in high school with a dozen sacks as a freshman and odds are high that he will get some Division 1 offers like he hopes in the future.

There is that one school in particular that he has family ties to that he'd love to get an offer from.

Of course it is Georgia.

"With my parents playing at Georgia, I have been around UGA a lot, so I know a lot about the school. I have a lot of Georgia stuff still around the house and all that and I have been to so many games there. Georgia is just that school I like."

As a prospect, he likes the intensity Georgia plays with, the stadium, and the environment there.

He can't put his real feelings for Georgia into words right now. "Georgia is just Georgia. It is the school I have grown up loving and I just like Georgia because of it being Georgia."

The 6-foot-2, 194 pound freshman camped at UGA twice over the summer and he drew praise from the Bulldog coaches. At Dawg Night in July, Hunter was moved with the older group, the group that featured the top prospects.

Hunter made it clear that he likely wouldn't just commit on the spot to Georgia if it offered one day, but it is an offer he really wants.

"It would mean a lot to get an offer from Georgia. It would mean I would get a chance to carry on the legacy my mother and father started there. I would love to have that opportunity one day and it would be very exciting to get that offer."

Another school has captured Hunter's interest too and it is another school that he now has ties to. It is Florida State.

Tyler Hunter, Jaden's older brother plays defensive back for the 'Noles now and FSU is on the radar.

"I didn't really care much about Florida State until Tyler got there," said Hunter. "I have been watching them a lot since he went there and I really like how their defense plays. I definitely have interest in FSU now with him being there now."

Riverwood won their play-in game last week against Northview, so like Tyler, Jaden gets to keep playing.

Hunter had seven tackles, two quarterback hurries, and a deflected pass in the game, so there is a lot to be excited about right now.

There have been some rough times too though. His father, Brice was killed by gunshot in 2004 and Jaden was only five.

The 14 year continues to remember his father and he'd love to set records on the next level like Brice one day.

His head coach thinks he could have that type of potential.

"Jaden is special. He has great size, he is an athlete, and he is just a good kid that is very talented that happens to be a student of the game," said Robert Ingram.

"At first, we dressed Jaden out thinking long-term where we could get him some reps if we had a lead just to get him some experience. Then he goes in and he three tackles for loss and two sacks, so we had to keep him on the field.

"He is a football player with so much ability. What he has done as a freshman doesn't happen very often. He is a special kid that has taken off and he can re-write the history books here at Riverwood.

"He has great support at home with his mother Brandi, he is very smart in the classroom, and he has a chance to go very far."

With Coach Ingram putting Hunter in the game, now as a full-time starter at end, the freshman has made plays and he is a different kid than when the season began in August.

"My confidence has changed over the season," said Hunter. "I have gotten better, I have worked hard in practice, and I think I have found my position. I just play different now and I think I can help the team more."

The hard work mentality is instilled at home. Both the mother and the older brother have preached to one of the top freshmen in Georgia.

"My mom just tells me to work hard and to keep school first. She really pushes me to work hard in the classroom and she tells me how that can take me anywhere I want to go.

"Tyler has talked to me about how nothing comes easy. That I have to work for everything, that I have to work hard for what I want.

"Both of those things have really helped me."

Riverwood will travel to North Paulding Friday for round one of the playoffs.

Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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