When Tyran Hunt (Southampton/Courtland, Va.) first stepped foot in College Park, Md., July 30, some two months after UMD-area recruiter Mike London extended the 6-foot-6, 280-pound tackle an offer, he admitted to having some doubts. Hunt wasn’t privy to all of UMD’s academic advantages, he didn’t know much about the new coaching staff beyond London, he had no idea about upcoming $156 million facility upgrades, and he wasn’t sure about the program itself, which had struggled under the previous regime.
But when Hunt walked out of Gossett Team House July 30, he was all smiles, with a grin that stretched ear to ear.
“Definitely my questions were answered,” Hunt said at the time. “This definitely moves Maryland up.”
Some four months later, Hunt moved the Terps all the way up, to the top of his leaderboard following a standout official visit, in which any lingering doubts about the program were alleviated. Then, in an anticipated announcement, a month after the Nov. 12 official, Hunt committed to Maryland Dec. 11.
“I’m glad to be part of the family,” said Hunt, who also considered UVA and Syracuse. “Coach [Dave] Borbely actually came to my house [Dec. 11], and that sealed the deal. I told him I was committing, and then I talked to Coach [D.J.] Durkin and Coach [Mike] London on a conference call. Coach Durkin was really excited and hyped. He’s just gotten a couple other real big commitments that day two [Breyon and Brandon Gaddy], so he was very excited. And Coach London, he was excited too and said he can’t wait to get me up there. He told me I’m his guy.
“But, Maryland I felt was the best fit for me athletically, academically and socially. I really like respect what the coaches are doing with the program and feel like I can excel there. But the academics and what Maryland can do for my education, that’s really what sold me. It’s a great degree, it’s in a great location near D.C. and Baltimore, there’s so many internship opportunities, and there are a lot of networking opportunities available too. I know I’ll get a great education and be set up for life at Maryland.”
Needless to say, education was a primary concern for the Southampton tackle. An honors student with a 4.0 GPA, Hunt is seeking to major in communications. Maryland, of course, has one of the most renowned programs in that field.
“The communications program is one of the main reasons I chose Maryland. It’s a great major they offer and so many opportunities,” Hunt said. “And the entire academic plan there [for student-athletes], and how it’s based off what you personally want to accomplish, that’s really good. I liked most how it’s tailored to you personally.”
Academics were hardly the only reason Hunt chose the Terps, however. He had a rapport with both Borbely and London, the two coaches’ resumes standing out. Hunt said he and his area recruiter spoke “at least” three times a week about football, life, family, school and more.
“It was kind of weird. At first, we weren’t in constant contact, but then recently it really picked up and we started building that relationship. Coach London is a great person to talk to, and he genuinely cares about you and your success. He’s very straightforward too and tells you exactly where you stand,” Hunt said.
“And Coach Borbely, I’ve been in contact with him for awhile and he’s also built a great relationship with my parents. They like him too. My parents really liked all the coaches at Maryland.”
Hunt went on to detail his in-home visits with Borbely and Durkin. The Southampton product said both Maryland staffers stopped by earlier in December before the offensive line coach returned Dec. 11.
“Coach Borbely gave a run down of what they’re doing with the program and he kept it real. He’s been in contact for awhile, but he gave me an overview of what I’d be looking at for four years. He told me about being a student-athlete there and how they have a great program for my major, mass communications, and just being part of a rising, elite program. That caught my attention and it’s something I’m looking forward to,” Hunt said. “And during my [official] visit, I talked to Coach Borbely for like two hours and really got to know him. I really like him and believe he can really help me develop as a player. And Coach Durkin, he’s a really good guy and is so energetic. Just his message and vision, what he hopes to do there, it’s great. He really believes in me and thinks I can help them, and that stood out to me.”
Hunt had a chance to see Borbely and Durkin on the sidelines Nov. 12, when Maryland fell to Ohio State. Despite the lackluster affair, Hunt liked what he saw out of the coaching staff and players, who remained upbeat after the 62-3 defeat.
“Even after the loss, no one was down. It’s like everyone at Maryland knows it’s going to be a process and they’re keeping their heads up,” Hunt said. “They’re all very energetic, positive people, and they welcomed me in.
“And the fans were showing me love too. They were treating my like I was already on the time. It was a great atmosphere to be in. Even the students on campus seemed to really be enjoying themselves and having fun. It’s a really comfortable environment there, and I felt like I fit in well.”
Of course, Hunt could tell the Terps were in need of offensive line help after seeing the unit in person. The tackle admitted Maryland’s need at the position readily appealed.
“The Big Ten is known for putting linemen in the League, which is something I definitely looked at. And Maryland needs linemen and they have a great program for developing you,” Hunt said. “I’m looking forward to contributing any way I can.”
The three-star tackle went on to laud Maryland’s campus, academic building and athletic facilities. He especially liked the upgraded player dorms and the coming facility upgrades, which he viewed for the first time back in July.
“Everything Maryland is doing in the future with the facilities, the money coming into the program, and with Under Armour, it’s great,” Hunt said. “I wanted to be apart of that, what they’re planning. Things are really looking up there, and it’s a program moving up.”
Hunt chose the Terps over UVA, which finished a close second for his services. Syracuse was involved too after a standout official, but had fallen off of late.
It also helped Maryland’s chances when Hunt’s longtime leader, Virginia Tech, opted to go in a different direction at offensive tackle. Hunt, who had been forecast to the Hokies for months, decided to cancel his post-Thanksgiving Blacksburg, Va., official visit, leaving the Terps as the clear No. 1.
“It was definitely hard to turn down Virginia. UVA, they made it a lot harder decision. But, ultimately, I had to do what was best for me,” Hunt said. “And I just felt like, for my future, it would be best to attend the University of Maryland.
“Honestly and personally, I didn’t want to prolong the process any longer. Once I was 100 percent feeling it, that’s when I made my move. And after talking to the coaches and talking to my family, I really got a feel for what’s best for me. And that’s Maryland.”
Now that Hunt is committed and his season is over, he’s focused on finishing his senior year strong in classroom.
Hunt, who admitted he stopped playing football in eighth grade, has been a gridiron regular the last four years. He’s eager to keep improving at UMD.
“What I will bring is hard work and dedication. I believe in the process of what it takes to become great and I’ve always been willing to sacrifice to get where I want to be,” Hunt said. “I’m the first one on the field, the last one off. I’m willing to put it all on the field each and every day.”