Since North Carolina extended him his first scholarship offer as a ninth grader, Devon Hunter has been eager to visit Chapel Hill. The five-star 2017 athlete made that anticipated visit on Saturday for UNC’s ACC win over Wake Forest.
“Going down there my first time was big for me,” the 6-foot-1, 206-pounder from Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River said. “Me not going down there [until Saturday] made me feel bad, because they were the first school to give me the opportunity to play [college] football for free... Once I got the chance, I took it.
“They showed me a lot of love. They showed me around campus, I got to meet some of the players, I got to meet the coaches – so it was good. They showed me mad love. I’m going to keep going there for sure, because it’s a great place.”
Since UNC offered, 30 other schools have followed suit. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech are a sampling of Hunter’s offers.
“Basically, I like all of them – that’s why I’m hitting up all of them to see what they have to offer and what type of schools they are,” Hunter said. “I don’t want to make the wrong decision.”
Prior to Saturday’s UNC visit, Hunter has traveled to Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Next up, he plans to visit Clemson for its bout with Florida State on Nov. 7. He’s also looking to visit Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and Michigan State in the near future.
As for Saturday’s visit, the “love” Hunter felt originated from everyone he encountered – from the fans to the coaches.
“When I got there, people were already treating me like I was a part of the family,” Hunter said. “They welcomed me with open arms and they kept it real with me. A lot of people knew who I was. They told me they wanted me bad. It was a good feeling.”
Despite hosting its most recruits in recent memory, the UNC staff made time to meet with Hunter, starting with Larry Fedora.
“He just said with me being there, he just wanted me to relax, watch them play, and just have fun,” Hunter said. “He just said to just enjoy the time being there and everything else will fall in its place.”
Hunter also met with Larry Porter, who recruits the Tidewater Area for UNC, and Gene Chizik, the Tar Heels’ defensive coordinator.
“All three of us had a good talk about my future and what it holds there,” Hunter said. “They told me about their schemes with the defense and the offense, and what they thought of me. It was a good experience for me.”
UNC is primarily recruiting Hunter as a safety, which is why he met with Chizik.
“It’s great for me, because I love the defensive side of the ball,” Hunter said. “I get to make my own plays, I get to come down hill a lot, deflect passes, and [make] interceptions – it’s fun.”
After seven games for Indian River, Hunter has 43 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and an interception which he returned for a touchdown. He also plays all over on offense (receiver, running back, quarterback, etc.) recording 15 receptions for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns, plus 205 yards on rushes.
Hunter was able to envision himself playing within Chizik’s base 4-3 scheme while watching Saturday’s rout of Wake Forest.
“They play with five or six DBs, so seeing them play opened my eyes a lot,” Hunter said. “They play a lot of man-to-man and they get physical with it and they make the quarterback have to throw it into a tight space. And they seem to be having fun on the field. I love to play for a school like that.”
When he wasn’t fixated on the field, Hunter was absorbing the atmosphere of Kenan Stadium.
“The people down there, you could tell they were ride or die for the Tar Heels,” Hunter said. “Everybody was excited and were having a lot of fun. When they made plays, everybody got real loud.”
Hunter said he plans to return to UNC for a more in-depth visit.