"Hunt"-ing Down the Answers

Alexandria, Va. (T.C. Williams HS) running back/linebacker <b>Tony Hunt</b> has been mum recently on recruiting. But LionNews.com had the chance to catch up with Tony's father and see how his son's recruitment is going. Does he have a favorite? Where do the Lions stand? When will he have a decision?

Name: Tony Hunt
Position: RB, LB
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 222 pounds
Bench Press: 23 reps of 185 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.56
School: T. C. Williams HS, Alexandria, VA


Penn State has known about Tony Hunt ever since the Nike Camp in April of last year. There was a buzz that rang through Holuba Hall, with each member of the media asking one another about that physically imposing kid standing against the wall. Later it was discovered that Tony Hunt was that kid's name and he attended T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., the school made famous in Disney's movie Remember the Titans. On that chilly day in April, Tony did not fully participate because of a slight hamstring injury, but college coaches didn't seem to care and they came to see him in droves.

After a surprise commitment to Southern California, maybe Penn State gave up on Tony as a potential member of the Class of 2003. But after a subsequent decommital from the Trojans, the Nittany Lions found themselves right back in the thick of the hunt with Michigan and Maryland.

After his change of heart, Tony has been very quiet when it comes to discussing his recruiting process with the media. Most question seekers have either spoken to his father or uncle, in an attempt to get the latest scoop on Tony. LionNews.com got in touch with Aaron Hunt, Tony's father, recently to find out how Tony's visit to Happy Valley went.

Will Tony be speaking to the media any time soon?

"No, we're really on shut down right now," Aaron Hunt said Tuesday evening.  "The guys from Maryland came by last night but he didn't really want to talk to them. He told me that he didn't realize that they wanted him to come over here."

"I said just take a week off and don't try and get too deep into the recruiting. Don't get too deep into conversing with them. If they happen to show up, be polite and then let them go to sit back and weigh your options."

"He just turned 17. It might be that he doesn't want to tell one that I'm not interested in you. He might not be able to step up to them and say 'hey, quit calling.'"

Recent internet misinformation has had Tony related to Penn State running back Larry Johnson, leaning to Penn State because their coaches have been blasting other programs, and dropping Michigan. Is it true that the Wolverines are completely out of the picture?

"I did mention that. But I just talked to one of the coaches from Michigan (Coach Campbell) about ten minutes ago, so I think he's going to get in here tomorrow. But I told him if he wanted to talk to him, he could speak to him briefly. If you want to speak to him for a couple of minutes sure, but we're not trying to do a real big sit-down."

"[Coach Campbell] can have a few minutes to speak with him, if that's what Tony chooses to do. Maryland might come back again. But I'm trying to keep the visits down now to give him the time to sit down and make up his mind. You don't need one person pulling you this way and one person pulling you that way.""

While we know that there is no relation between the Hunt and Johnson family (Aly Khan Johnson is T.C. Williams' athletic director), no team has distanced themselves from the others according to Mr. Hunt.

"All of them are going to cater to you and show you the best of times. Their going to make their program seem like the place to be."

Last weekend Tony had the opportunity to check out Penn State on an official visit. Mr. Hunt, who did not go on the visit, was unsure of which Nittany Lion Tony roomed with.

"Tony and my brother [Aubrey] went up there, I didn't get the chance to go on the visit. He and Coach Paterno and the running back coach [Coach Ganter] talked with the people who run the academics. He spoke with everyone he needed to. He said it was a nice trip."

Tony's father and Tony's uncle have both been instrumental in his recruitment, so each has really done their homework when it comes future colleges. Has one university stood out in their minds?

"He's impressed with Penn State. The main thing about Penn State is we went through the paperwork and we checked all the graduation rates, Maryland has something like a 40% graduation rate of their athletes. Michigan has something like a 52 % graduation rate while Penn State had an 82% graduation rate. That's a big factor too. There's no guarantees about pro football, because like they say, less than 1%, maybe 2% of college football players make pro football. So he's gonna need that degree."

"All of them have the same thing to offer. They've got the tutoring programs. All of them make it sound good. But the graduation rate up there [Penn State] is a whole lot higher."

"When your graduating 82% of your athletes, your doing a good job."

The man responsible for graduating nearly all of those athletes, Nittany Lion coach Joe Paterno, will make a trip down to visit Tony at school tomorrow (1-30-03). Will Tony be available to speak with Joe during the day?

"Of course he's going to spend some time speaking with him on Thursday. Then that will be the last person he'll speak with."

When will Tony have his final decision?

"As far as a time frame goes, I would think by the end of this week. It's going to come down to the wire. But I would think by the end of this week or very early next week, he'll say what he wants to do."

T.C. Williams' athletic director Aly Khan Johnson plans to set up a press conference for Tony to announce his ultimate decision. Mr. Hunt stated that Tony will major in communications at the college of his choice, while each school wants him to play tailback.

Is Mr. Hunt leaning to a school that he would like to see him son ultimately chose?

"No, all of them are great colleges. He can't go wrong no matter what choice he makes."

"He's just trying to sit back, relax and chill, and make a decision."

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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