'06 Unwrapped: Pierce Hunter

You rarely find that freak with both size and gamebreaking speed, but you like to have receivers on your team with each of those strengths. Fans looking for the "next Evan Moore" will pay attention to Bonita Vista High School wideout Pierce Hunter. The 6'5" San Diego area athlete has the size and hands you desire, and he is on The Farm this weekend camping at Stanford.

High school football players from around the country are arriving on campus today and checking in this afternoon to start Stanford's focal overnight football camp.  Making the trek to The Farm from San Diego is 6'5" standout wide receiver Pierce Hunter from Chula Vista (Calif.) Bonita Vista High School.  But there's a catch...  Hunter is checking in this afternoon at Maples Pavilion rather than at Stanford Stadium, where we would expect to find him.

"I've been going to Stanford basketball camp since my freshman year.  My mom signed me up again this year," says the two-sport athlete from San Diego county.  "The football coaches contacted me and said I should visit the school in the spring.  I couldn't though because of a conflict.  Then they heard I was coming to the basketball camp and talked to the basketball coaches about letting me have a little time on the field."

Hunter starts the Stanford Basketball High Potential Camp this afternoon, and will be working with Trent Johnson & Co. around the clock through Monday.  But he says from 8am to 10am on Saturday morning, he will trade his high tops for cleats and get out on the gridiron.

"I do want to play basketball in college and this is a really good camp," he notes.  "I haven't really gotten any basketball recruiting.  I'll probably look for football more in choosing a college.  Basketball probably wouldn't be a big influence.  If I go to a school with just big football, I probably wouldn't play.  But if I could do both, I would."

He averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game as a forward for the Barons this past winter, though his splash was more forcibly felt on the football field.  Hunter grabbed 40 catches for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in Bonita Vista's 8-3-1 season.

"I played wide receiver all year, though in the middle of the season, I played a little bit of safety.  Some of the teams we played against passed a lot.  I was able to roam the field and go knock down some passes.  I kind of want to play safety again if they let me, but I doubt it will happen," he adds.

Hunter's recruitment is all coming on the offensive side of the ball, his safety stint notwithstanding.  In a spread offense, the 6'5" target split out wide and was an enviable mismatch in man coverage.

"There weren't plays run specifically for me, but on a lot of plays our quarterback would just throw the ball my way and let me catch it," he describes.  "My strength is my height advantage over people.  I can catch the ball and beat them one-on-one."

You did not see Hunter anywhere on the combine circuit this spring, and his two hours on The Farm on Saturday will be his first college football camp this summer.  As a result, he does not have a recent 40 time, though he ran last year a 4.75 at his high school.  Speed is one of Hunter's areas of emphasis in his off-season training this summer, though regardless of his improvement, he projects as a possession receiver at the Pac-10 level.  Not unlike an Evan Moore (4.7 out of high school), Hunter is someone who excels because of his size, athleticism and exceptional hands.

The San Diego two-sport performer says he is being recruited the hardest currently by Stanford, Colorado, Washington State, Washington and Arizona.  He is hearing from a host of others on the West Coast, including Arizona State and UCLA.  Hunter has no offers yet, and that may not change until his senior season given his absence in spring combines and summer camps, but he has an early idea of his favorites.

"The one school where I want to go to the most is USC.  They came to my school, but I'm not holding out much hope.  That's not an expectation," he allows.  "Of the schools recruiting me, my favorites right now would be Stanford, Cal and San Diego State.  Beyond that, I really don't know right now.  I just want to wait it out and see what happens my senior season."

Two hours with the Cardinal coaches this weekend may not give enough of an evaluation for Stanford to take the plunge with an offer, but Hunter certainly gives them an enticing academic profile.  He carries a 3.9 GPA at Bonita Vista and has scored a 1710 on the new SAT (660M/520V/530W).

Pierce Hunter is one of the important names to watch in wide receiver recruiting this year, and we will stay close to his story and keep you abreast of his latest.

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