The Maryland staff has been identifying and offering jack-of-all-trades athletes in the 2017 class, and one of their most recent verbals went out to safety/linebacker/H-Back Joe Hunt (Cosby/Midlothian, Va.). The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder played running back and strong safety for Cosby last year, but projects as either a cover-linebacker or maybe an H-Back in college.
Not that his potential position mattered much to UMD assistant Mike London at this point. The Terps’ defensive line coach and Virginia area recruiter just liked Hunt’s game enough to extend the 2017 recruit his very first scholarship offer.
“It was surprising. I mean, I played my heart on the field, but when I was talking with my brother, and he told me about the recruiting process, I was expecting an offer like JMU to come in first,” Hunt said. “But Maryland, I was flabbergasted. I was blessed to have the opportunity to play there. I was so thankful.”
Hunt and London began exchanging messages on Twitter just a couple days ago. But Feb. 26, the UMD assistant let the Cosby recruit know he needed to call in as soon as possible. Hunt’s coach pulled him out of class Feb. 26, and after speaking to London, he found out the offer was on the table.
“I was blown away, to be honest. My coach shook my hand and said, ‘Congratulations you have your first offer.’ Then when I was talking to Coach London, he was so pumped, and just told me he loved my all-around game and they wanted to offer me,” Hunt said. “I’m a big fan of Coach London’s, and I knew what he did at UVA. I think Coach London is a great guy and a great coach. From where he comes from and his reputation, he’s great. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to play under him and he’ll be able to mold me into a great player in the future.”
Hunt admitted he doesn’t know much about the university yet, but he’s done his share of research. He is in the process of scheduling a March or April date to visit College Park, Md., for the first time.
“I know they played some great competition, and I know it’s a Big Ten school,” Hunt said. “And I know they have a great new coaching staff that wants to get things done. To play with the best, you have to build up to compete with the best, and I know the Maryland staff is looking to do that. I know the new staff is looking to mold players like myself to be the best they can be and compete with the best [in the Big Ten].
“Also, I know it’s a great school and a great university. And actually one of my family’s friends went there, and he started talking about Maryland and made me even more excited about it. Hopefully I can get up there soon and make a decision one day.”
So, does that mean Hunt’s going to commit when he makes it up to College Park?
Well, he didn’t deny the possibility.
“It’s definitely the top school I’ve heard from. I want to keep my options open, but for now Maryland is my top school. I’m thinking hopefully sometime in March I’ll get up there,” Hunt said. “We’ll see how it goes. I love that university. [A commitment] could happen, or maybe it could not. I’m not sure. But I like it a lot. I like it a whole lot.”
Hunt said the latest he would select his college would be August, right before his senior year begins. He is currently receiving interest from JMU, Richmond, Charlotte and UVA.
Hunt has visited the Dukes, Spiders and most recently the Wolfpack, while he’s scheduled to see Vandy March 25.
“The N.C. State visit was great, but it was more of like a junior day with a bunch of kids,” Hunt said. “It was fun, but nothing immanent [in terms of an offer].”
Hunt projects as an outside linebacker in college, but he doesn’t care much which position he’s forecasted for. He said he’ll play wherever he’s able to contribute.
“Coach London said they could see me being an H-back, linebacker or safety. Right now I’m a running back, and I know that sounds crazy (laughs),” Hunt said. “But I’ll play wherever they want me to. I think maybe a cover outside linebacker, that might be a good fit for me.”
Hunt is coming off a season where he rushed for a school-record 1,305 yards as a running back. He also recorded 10 tackles for loss as a strong safety.