In Depth with Jeremiha Hunter

Harrisburg High opened its season last Friday with a 50-21 thumping of Chambersburg. Four-star linebacker Jeremiha Hunter led the assault and looked to be already in mid-season form, rushing 13 times for 90 yards and three touchdowns, as well as making several key defensive tackles…all before halftime. HawkeyeNation.com spoke with Hunter this week about life on the recruiting front. This feature will show you that Hunter is more than just a football player...

Harrisburg High opened its season last Friday with a 50-21 thumping of Chambersburg. Four-star linebacker Jeremiha Hunter led the assault and looked to be already in mid-season form, rushing 13 times for 90 yards and three touchdowns, as well as making several key defensive tackles…all before halftime. "Yeah I didn't play the second half," said Hunter on Tuesday. "I started cramping up real bad and the coaches took me out because we've got a big game this week, so they just took me out and rested me so I wouldn't get hurt. I got some rehab today, so I'm pretty good."

Hunter's success should not come as a surprise. Football runs in his blood, you might say. His family has a rich history of football players both at the college and pro levels. "Both uncles played in the league [NFL]," said Hunter. "My dad tore his ACL in the Raiders camp, so he didn't make it [but] my uncle was an All-American at San Jose State and my other uncle was an All-American at Maryland and he played for the Steelers."

Jeremiah's younger brother a teammate, junior Xzavier Hunter, has also begun to earn praise from local coaches and sportswriters, and Jeremiah feels he will get more attention from college scouts as the year progresses. "By the end of the year he will be [heavily recruited]. He's looking real good right now. My dad was joking around [with college coaches] and said ‘you don't get one [son] without the other one,'" said Hunter laughing.

While Hunter's family has a rich history in the sport, Jeremiha has been building his own name, and has been receiving attention from college scouts for quite a while. "I would say my second year of Pewee I got really serious about it [football]," said Hunter. "And ever since then it's just been football every year. Same thing, running back/linebacker every year. I always played up, I never played with kids my age, I always played older; and when I was in eighth grade I went to Temple combine and I just really played well there, and ever since then I've been getting college recognition."

Hunter's athleticism and tenacity have drawn comparisons to former NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor, even earning him the nickname "LT, Part 2" by his peers. Hunter explained why he draws such comparisons and where it started. "The way I come off the corner and the way I go against lineman, and the way he just throws lineman around just gets them off him and he can't be blocked just coming off the corner and just hitting, that's where people said ‘LT, Part 2: high school level'," laughed Hunter.

But while Hunter is "LT, Part 2" on the field, his life off the field is much more quiet and reserved. "I'm very laid back, anti-social, real humble. I only talk about football when somebody brings it up. I'm more laid back, cool person [and] I don't go out a lot, I'm a real home person. I don't do parties, I don't do clubs, I just chill…with my friends, go to the mall movies or go bowling, stuff like that. No parties," he emphasized again.

"My dad, he always keeps us up spiritually," continued Hunter. "I am a Christian, I do a lot of studying and I'm real focused on how people look at me and my character…what kind of a person I am."

While his offensive numbers are turning heads in the state of Pennsylvania, it is linebacker that Hunter is truly passionate about. "Most schools are recruiting at linebacker," said Hunter, "but most coaches are saying it doesn't really matter. That's what I want to play [linebacker]."

There was a concern that with the number of games Harrison High plays on Saturday that it would hinder his official visits, but Hunter does not think it will be a problem. "I have some Friday night games, like three or four," said Hunter, "but I'll take some officials during the season and some after the season. It will work out." While Hunter does not know when he will take all of his visits, he has set aside time for at least one in-season visit. "I set up one with Iowa, for the 22nd of October [vs. Michigan].

"They [Iowa] are graduating some linebackers so I [could] have a chance to come in and start early" said Hunter about his attraction to the Hawkeye football program. "They are always up there in the Top 25 in the country. They've got a good history, everybody likes the coaching staff. I'm not going to say ‘up and coming', but they will be focused on what they want to do, that's to win a national title. That's the reason I'm really attracted to them."

Hunter has narrowed his college choices to six schools: Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Florida, UConn and Tennessee; and has been researching each school. "I have the College Gameday thing so I can see most of the college games," said Hunter. "I talk to the coaches, players and they send me books to read about them and different articles, so I got that kind of stuff to do some research."

The most important factor in that research is finding a school that he feels is going to be trustworthy, and find a coaching staff that is straightforward and honest. This has made the process somewhat stressful. "I'll wait till after my officials [to commit]," said Hunter, "unless a school really affects me then I won't have a problem committing early. It [the recruiting process] is exciting to a point, but it's like, sooner or later I'm going to have to come down to a decision and I don't want to make the wrong decision; and that's why I'm hoping that something will happen that will make me pick my school earlier. I just don't want to make the wrong decision, that's what it all comes down to. One coach will tell me this, and I'll go there for that reason, and it not happen. I don't want to be mislead by something that somebody says…basically, I don't want to be lied to."

Another factor in Hunter's decision will be the current depth at linebacker for each school. "Yeah that means a lot right now because I'm trying to play early, so that definitely means a lot," said Hunter. "They [the coaches] said I'll fit in as a weak side linebacker, be more to the outside running down stuff and covering, and I've talked to a couple of coaches about that."

When Hunter said early on in the recruiting process that he would probably go out-of-state to play football, some wondered exactly how much location would play a factor in his decision, and how difficult it would be to leave the Keystone State, especially with the bulk of his family living there. "I grew up in York City in Pennsylvania," said Hunter. "I moved to Lancaster and then I just moved again to Harrisburg, this is my first year in Harrisburg. I've been to Harrisburg a lot since I've got family up here, so it's not anything new to me. I got a lot of friends up here, and my uncle and aunts live up here and my sister lives up here."

Is there any pressure from outside the family to stay in-state?

"Not here," said Hunter. "It's not from outside it's more from my family because both of them are Penn State fans, my sister is a Penn State grad and if I don't go to Penn State then…it's more from my family than from outsiders. Distance, it really doesn't matter. We've got a lot of bandwagon jumpers in my family," continued Hunter with a laugh, "[but] most of them are Penn State."

While Hunter has no family members in Florida, Tennessee, Iowa or Michigan, and while choosing Penn State would definitely make his family happy, Hunter also indicated that the family would support him wherever he decides to attend. "My dad asked me [if] I want him to pick my school," said Hunter, "and I said ‘no, this is my choice, I got to do that,' so it's really me but he helps me a lot in talking [with coaches] and all that stuff."


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