After two visits to the school, Devon Hunter’s perception of North Carolina has completed a 180 degree turn.
“[UNC] is one of my top schools,” the five-star athlete said. “At first, I wasn’t really too big on them, because of the activities and the issues they had going on. But, I’ve looked passed all of that and I’m just happy for them to be one of my top schools. I’m just looking forward to looking into them.”
Hunter’s scholarship offer list has reached an uncountable number, but it has easily surpassed 40. Not wanting to alienate any opportunity without a complete vetting, the 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is avoiding officially naming favorite schools. However, a group has begun to emerge for the Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River product.
“I don’t really have any top schools for sure,” Hunter said. “But, there are a lot of schools that I favor a lot. Like Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida, UNC, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, NC State, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, [and] Notre Dame – all those schools are kind of standing out to me.
“I’m looking forward to going on to these different schools, because there are schools I haven’t been to, yet. I’m still trying to see what they have. But most of the schools that I just named I’ve already been to and I know a lot about.”
Hunter doesn’t have definite imminent visit plans. But, he’s looking to travel to a yet-to-be-determined school in two Saturdays. Before the summer, he hopes to have visited Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, South Carolina, UCLA, and USC.
Besides UNC, Hunter has visited Clemson, Maryland, and Virginia Tech, since the end of the football season.
Hunter, who isn’t quite sure when he’ll make a verbal commitment, figures to name five finalists midway through the football season.
Last October, Hunter took his first trip to UNC for the Tar Heels’ win over Wake Forest. He returned last month for UNC’s exclusive junior day.
“The first time was kind of like the introduction visit,” Hunter said. “That was me basically meeting the coaches and seeing what they were about.
“But the second one meant a lot more, because I got to spent a lot more time with [the coaches]. We got to talk about more than just football – we got to talk about my future and the education there and the people and the environment. So, I was building a bond and understanding what they had to say.”
Hunter spent the most time with Larry Porter, who recruits the Tidewater Area for UNC. But, Hunter, who is being recruited as a safety, did have separate one-on-one meetings with Gene Chizik, the Tar Heels’ defensive coordinator, and Charlton Warren, UNC’s secondary coach.
“Basically, they talked about what I could bring to the table and what they thought about me,” Hunter said. “They think very highly about me and they expect nothing but greatness, if I come there. They think I could play early, too. So, all of that really stood out coming from guys like that – they’ve been at a lot of great positions.”
To say the least, the junior day’s itinerary was unique.
“The whole day was unexpected for me,” Hunter said. “When I first walked into the door, they had a bunch of people hollering and screaming. Each player had an introduction in the players’ lounge. After that, we got to watch some film. All of that was kind of fun. It wasn’t all about business or all about football – it was about building a bond with the coaches and the other recruits that were there.”
The junior day concluded with the UNC-Duke basketball game, an event on most people’s bucket list. As such, Hunter describes the experience as “crazy.”
“I never knew that I would get to watch that game in person,” Hunter said. “Getting an opportunity to do that was special. I know that I’m truly blessed to be at this position.”