Torii Hunter, Jr. (Wide Receiver, 6'0" 160 pounds)Hunter earned MVP honors during Nike's July all-star event, The Opening, thanks to impeccable route running, quickness out of his break, and a penchant for the acrobatic catch.
Said Hunter of his experience at an event that housed a vast collection of high school talent:
"This whole experience, the whole week was incredible for me," Hunter said of his team's championship effort. "Just being able to come out here and compete against all this talent was a lot of fun and I used it as a measuring stick to see where I stood. I know I still have some things to work on but I thought I competed hard and matched up well against anyone here.
"In the championship game, I (said) I wanted the ball and if they just threw it up for me, I would come down with it and that's what happened. We all trusted each other and came away with a championship and it's really an incredible feeling."
On January 1, while practicing with the West squad in San Antonio for the 2013 U.S. Army All-America Bowl, Hunter suffered a severe leg injury, breaking his femur. He's expected to be sidelined for 6 to 8 months, though will likely be given the calendar year to heal and the opportunity to compete in spring 2014.
Berk on Hunter Two-sport standout who will need to see a full recovery from the broken femur suffered during Under Armour practice in January. Once he's fully healthy, Hunter should give the Irish a shifty elusive receiver capable of turning defenders around in space.
Dohn on Hunter: The unfortunate thing for Hunter was the leg injury he suffered at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that puts his ability to play inthe fall in jeopardy. In truth, though, the time red-shirting would serve him well because he needs to get stronger. He is long and has very good body control, but he needs to add strength.
O'Malley's Initial SlottingQuickness and deception out of the break. The ability to set up a defender and gain separation. Running through the arc of the pass to the football. Reading a scrambling quarterback and finding a hole in the defense for delivery.
All of the above are nuances of the game most receivers have to learn at the college level. Hunter is already well-versed in each, and those skills shouldn't leave him during his recovery from a January 1 broken femur. Add to that his ability to go get the football when covered downfield and Hunter, never a speed-merchant pre-injury, should help the Irish in 2015-16 and beyond if not by the 2014 season.
For Irish fans familiar with recent matchups, Hunter reminds me of 2009 Irish annihilator Rich Gunnell of Boston College: crafty, knowledgeable about routes and passing game concepts, and for some reason, always open vs. players considered his athletic superior. A more ambitious comparison would be to long-time New England Patriots contributor Troy Brown.
Expect Hunter to debut in the slot about 13 months from today for Brian Kelly's Irish.
Links of Note: Click the links below for more highlight reels and comprehensive recruitment information for Torii Hunter: