Tony The Nittany Lion

Alexandria, Virginia running back Tony Hunt talks about how he arrived at his decision to sign a Letter Of Intent last Wednesday to attend Penn State.

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
It was a tough decision for Tony that came down to the wire.  He didn't know where he was going to attend college until a day or two before signing day last Wednesday.
"I kind of knew on Monday," Tony recalled.  "It came down to Michigan and Penn State.  I really thought they were both great schools.  I thought Penn State was a little closer to home and academic-wise, I thought they were a little stronger than Michigan."
Tony plans to major in Communications.
"At Michigan, they didn't offer Communications as a major, so that kind of helped me out with my decision a little bit."
Once the decision had been made, Hunt announced it to the students at T.C. Williams.
"I announced it at school during announcements on Tuesday over the P.A. system.  I just told everyone that after weighing all my options, I decided to go to Penn State.
"I like the distance.  It's about a 3-hour drive from my home so my family would be able to come up and see me and be able to attend the games.  I also thought it was a good environment to be in, a lot of good people to be around."
Michigan, Southern Cal and Maryland were some of the other schools that offered the Virginia back a scholarship.  He took official visits to those four.
"Those were my top schools.  There were some others, but I stopped talking to other schools.  I just kind of shut it down."
Following his first offiicial visit, to USC (11/29), there were several reports that Tony made a verbal commitment to the Trojans.  Tony dismissed those reports.
"There were a lot of rumors.  It's a nice school, but it's just a little too far away from home."
Tony also took official visits to Michigan (12/13) and Maryland (12/20) before taking his final official visit to Penn State on January 24.  His host that weekend was redshirt sophomore DE Jeremiah Davis, who is also from Alexandria, Virginia.  He also met several other members of the team.
"I got to meet Tony Johnson.  I met pretty much all of the players because I stayed on campus in one of the dorms, so I got to hang out with a lot of them and to see what it was like."
What did he learn from his visit to Penn State?
"A lot of people will tell you that Penn State is a boring place and that you don't want to go there because there's nothing to do, but I think that's just a rumor.  It can actually be kind of exciting there.  There are plenty of things to do.
"I thought the coaching staff was great too.  My position coach, Coach Ganter, I thought he was a great guy."
That was not Tony's first trip to State College.  He attended the Nike Camp at Penn State in April and returned in October to watch the Nittany Lions manhandle Northwestern by a score of 49-0.
Hunt, who played running back, linebacker and safety at T.C. Williams, is hoping to earn a spot in Penn State's offensive backfield.
"I like running off-tackle a lot, but I think I have the speed to go outside when I need to.  I like to just run hard."
What did the Penn State coaches say they liked about Tony?
"I think definitely my size and physicalness as a runner."
Joe Paterno took a trip down to Alexandria the week before signing day in an effort to show the Hunt family how interested Penn State was in Tony.
"He came to my school the Thursday before [signing day].  They had an assembly for the athletes and he talked to everyone.  I got to have a meeting with him and my parents.  He said that he thought it was the best place for me, that he just had a feeling that Penn State was the place for me."
The Nittany Lion coaching staff let Tony know that the opportunity for playing time at Penn State is there for the taking.
"Since they're graduating senior Larry Johnson, the position is kind of open, so you just got to go in and show them what you can do.  I guess it's all up for grabs."

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