When it comes to getting in the backfield, few are as effective as 2017 defensive end Hunter Echols of Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral. A combination of quick feet and long arms helps the 6-foot-4, 220-pound pass rusher wreak havoc for quarterbacks.
“I’m quick,” Echols said. “I have good footwork, so I have good moves to set the lineman up. I’ve just been working on being better as a run stopper. I’ve been doing better the past few games. But my strength is being a great pass rusher and using my quick moves to get to the quarterback… I can get good extension because I have long arms.”
Echols currently plays defensive end in a four-man defensive front, but also feels he could play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He hopes to add to his upper body frame by the time he moves on to college and is aiming for a weight of about 250 pounds.
“I haven’t really played linebacker, but I know I’m athletic enough to play linebacker if a school wanted to come in and recruit me,” Echols said. “I think I could fit that too and be productive.”
San Jose State was the first school to offer the up-and-coming Los Angeles defensive end. The Spartans might have offered even sooner had SJSU Head Coach Ron Caragher had the opportunity to watch him at the school’s skills camp over the summer.
“I went to San Jose State and I went out there and just did my thing,” Echols said. “I was hoping to get offered at the camp but the head coach wasn’t there, so they didn’t offer me at the camp. I just played the regular season and I’ve been trying to make plays. They pulled the trigger about a month ago.
“I was just blessed,” he said of getting his first offer. “My dream is to play D-I football, so I was just blessed to get my first offer from San Jose State. I was really excited and I’m really thankful for it.”
While most camps are held at high schools around the state, the Southern California prospect had the opportunity to come up to the Bay Area for the camp at Spartan Stadium and see the football facilities firsthand.
“They took me on a little tour and I think it was pretty cool,” Echols said. “They showed us the facilities and how they have two practice fields. If they play a team that has a turf field they’ll practice at the home stadium. If they play a team that plays grass where it’s really hot and dusty, they practice on their practice field. I thought that was pretty cool. - primarily athletic tour.”
Echols’s primary recruiter with the Spartans is recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach Donte Williams.
An offer over a year before a player’s signing day typically means that several more are likely to come by the end of their recruitment, but Echols said he likes what he is hearing from San Jose State so far.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Echols said about the offer. “I’m blessed to even have an offer. I’m glad to start getting noticed and that all my hard work is paying off. This summer I’m probably not going to go to as many camps, but just work out and try to get bigger and stronger and ready for college.”
Echols is hearing from multiple schools that could be the next to offer. The list includes Boise State, Colorado State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. Along with the SJSU camp, he also attended a camp hosted by the Washington Huskies.
The 2017 recruit said that two factors will ultimately go into his decision making process.
“For me, my education is first,” Echols said. “I want to go to a college that has the proper education to advance my career. I want to be a teacher. I want to go on and teach people. Whatever college has a good teaching program, I may want to go there. I also want to go where the coaches really recruit me and want me to go to their school. I don’t want to be a nobody.”