Rutgers Walk-on Hunt Provides Versatility

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- After Kiy Hester suffered a lower-body injury late in the week, walk-on Andre Hunt was ready for a bigger role in the Rutgers defensive secondary. Hunt excelled as an injury replacement last season, and can expect another key role in 2015.

When it comes to position battles at both safety spots, sophomore walk-on Andre Hunt does not plan to come quietly.

Hunt, who emerged last season as yet another Rutgers walk-on success story, is locked in on any opportunities available in the defensive secondary. Hunt learned both safety positions at Rutgers after a high school career at running back. He replaced the injured Kiy Hester Saturday in both sub-packages and on the two deep.

“The competition level is great, and I feel like I’m being pushed to learn and improve,” Hunt said. “You have to work hard on the field, and it brings us all together. We’re a group, so it’s nice to have that competition.”

Hunt’s versatility and savvy earned him surprise playing time last season, including a start in the historic victory over Michigan. The 2015 season could be the same where he already filled in for an injured Hester in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Learning free [safety] helped, and strong helps me learn both positions more,” Hunt said. “I can learn from both and know what the corners are doing. I know what the linebackers are doing. I have a full understanding of our defense so I can also help someone out if they don’t understand what’s going on.”

Hunt said he often misses running back – his father’s position for four seasons at Wisconsin – but has a new favorite role on the gridiron.

“I would say strong safety is my preference,” he said. “It’s more aggressive with the run. You have to play physical, so I like that.”

A role on kickoff coverage is also in Hunt’s future.

“Not everyone is fond of special teams, but it’s a mistake to think like that,” Hunt said. “You have to understand that it’s a big part of the game. It can be the difference between a win and loss, so I take it very seriously.”

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