Track guy showing out on gridiron

He's supposed to just be a "track guy". Surely, he's not big enough to take a hit. Surely, the receiver nicknamed "Bones" will need time to develop physically before he has a real impact at Tennessee. Go "Inside" this feature story on Justin Hunter to get the latest on the freshman standout athlete.

He's supposed to just be a "track guy".

Surely, he's not big enough to take a hit. Surely, the receiver nicknamed "Bones" will need time to develop physically before he has a real impact at Tennessee.

Nonsense.

Justin Hunter isn't waiting until his frame fills out to fill out UT's passing attack. Hunter has already shown he can regularly pull in deep passes with his exceptional athleticism. The 6-foot-4 (if not taller) receiver has caught six passes for 126 yards to post a team-leading 21 yards per reception this season.

Hunter considered just running track and not playing football, even after he signed with UT out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Va. Instead, he'll do both. He plans to join UT's track team as soon as the football season is complete.

Hunter hopes to compete in the long jump, the triple jump and the high jump during his freshman season. However, one of those events could fall by the wayside if Hunter reaches his goal weight of 200 pounds. Hunter, who has gained eight pounds during the off-season to get up to 186, said extra weight would likely hurt his high jump but shouldn't affect his other events.

Here, Hunter talks about the impact he's having in 2010.

On being perceived as just a track guy:

"I've heard that a lot, but people are changing their minds now that they've seen I can take a hit and I'm not just a track guy. I'm a football player too."

On picking football over track:

"It's kind of easy because I can see a defensive player coming right at me instead of just track, where I just run."

On defenders being surprised by his speed this season:

"Yeah, I think so. They figure all tall receivers are slow. But I'm skinny and tall so I think they underestimated me the whole time."

On defensive backs adjusting their approach to defending him in upcoming games:

"Yeah, I think they'll probably shade off of me a lot more expecting the deep ball a lot more. That's when we'll come up with a scheme to change things up."


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