Hunt Joining Iowa

Iowa has its share of question marks heading into the 2013 season. Running back seems to be a position where there's plenty of talent. It didn't stop Andre Hunt from choosing to join the Hawkeye backfield in January.

Andre Hunt welcomes competition. It's a good thing. He'll likely get plenty of it when he arrives at Iowa in January.

The running back from Minnesota accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity from the Hawkeyes this fall. Barring a transfer, Hunt will give Iowa eight running backs on the roster. Six of those players will be on scholarship. All of them will have at least two years of eligibility remaining.

"With all of the schools, I looked to see how many running backs they had and what year they were," Hunt said. "I have not seen a depth chart (at Iowa). I don't want to think about it too much.

"I know I'll be coming in at the bottom and have to work my way up. Whoever it is that I have to go up against, I'm going to try to beat them out and head up to the top."

Damon Bullock, Greg Garmon, Jordan Canzeri and Barkley Hill were running backs on scholarship at Iowa this fall. Marc Weisman and Michael Malloy were expected to be added to that list in January. Walk-on Andre Dawson practiced with the team all fall and dressed for home games.

The Hawkeye depth chart should't have overwhelmed Hunt. He's overcome a lot to get his shot at major college football.

Hunt transferred to Cretin-Derham Hall High in Saint Paul before his junior season. Shortly after arriving there, injuries beset him. Minnesota, Michigan State and Wisconsin showed minor interest in him.

"I was out most of my junior year," the 6-foot-, 200-pounder said. "I think that's part of the reason I got lost in the shuffle in recruiting."

Things didn't pick up much during his senior year. Last fall, he enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy, a prep school in Virginia. Following a successful season, it looked like he would be headed to New Mexico State.

"I set up a visit and they said they were going to give me a scholarship," Hunt said. "About two days before I was about to go, we got a call saying they had two running backs commit during the week I was going to go. I was out of the picture."

Hunt left Hargrave in January, returning home to train. Family friend, Levi Bradley, was helping him search for a college home. The hope was to land at a school in the summer.

While running a route in March, Hunt blew out his knee. He underwent surgery.

"At that point, it wiped out all scholarships and I was just looking for a walk-on chance," Hunt said.

Western Michigan invited Hunt to campus during the summer. The school offered him a preferred walk-on opportunity in July.

"I could go to Western Michigan right away in the fall or wait and go in January," he said. "I waited because I would have lost a year of eligibility if I went in the fall. I decided to wait until January to see if anything else popped up."

Bradley contacted Iowa in September. Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson invited he and Hunt to town for a visit during the Hawkeyes' game with Minnesota on Sept. 29.

Iowa extended to Hunt a preferred walk-on offer. He quickly accepted it.

"I watched Iowa as a kid growing up because of their offense and how they use their running backs," Hunt said. "They get a lot of touches. I want to have the ball in my hands as much as possible. I fell in love with their offense and what they do there."

Hunt also likes that proximity to his Minnesota home.

"The atmosphere there was great," he said. "Iowa fans love their Hawkeyes. The facilities were great. They didn't have to give me any type of sales pitch at all."

The Hawkeyes watched Hunt's senior film when he was coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall.

"They liked it they just didn't have the need for me at that moment," he said. "I assume they already had the numbers that they needed."

Hunt said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds during his tryout for Hargrave.

"I feel like I have a good combination of size and speed," he said. "The strength will come at Iowa. I have the relentlessness not to go down on first contact. I will always drive my legs and finish the play. I won't have somebody put me on my back. I want to put them on their back."

Andre's dad, Leon Hunt, played running back at Wisconsin.

"He worked with me from a young age," Andre said. "He wanted to make sure I knew how to catch the ball. Through the years, we ran routes. I think I have pretty good hands."

Hunt retains all of his college eligibility. He will arrive at Iowa with five years to play four seasons.

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