Benefiting from the Success of Others

Although talented in his own right, junior Jared Hunter hadn't put up the numbers at Detroit Renaissance High School to put him on the list with the other elite recruits across the Midwest. With coaches flocking to his high school to look at some of his talented teammates, however, Hunter is starting to show college that he has what it takes.

CHICAGO – Sometimes it pays to play second fiddle.

Since the spring recruiting evaluation period came into full bloom, dozens of schools from across the country have made their way to Detroit Renaissance high school to take a closer look at junior cornerback Mylan Hicks, junior linebacker Ishmael Thomas and sophomore Lawrence Thomas.

But while looking at this talented trio, coaches have been pleasantly surprised from what they have seen from junior quarterback-turned-safety Jared Hunter.

A talented 5-foot-9, 171-pound prospect that has flown under the recruiting radar so far is starting to make some noise. Throwing for over 800 yards, ran for over 200 yards and combined for eight touchdowns last season, Hunter will transition to the secondary next season, a move that he doesn't mind, but doesn't know how it happened.

"I don't know how it came about," Hunter told Badger Nation at the Chicago Scout Combine. "Coach told me that he needed me to play defense so I told him that I am ready for whatever. As long as I can play and contribute and help the team win, I am cool."

At Scout's Chicago Combine last weekend, Hunter put up some solid numbers, running a 4.66 in the shuttle, 21.4 inches on the vertical, 7.78 seconds on the three-cone drills and 7-foot-10 on the broad jump.

While a position change may cause some prospects to struggle during the transition period, Hunter's transition has been anything but rocky. Playing the position like a quarterback, Hunter's biggest trait is studying the signal callers movements and thinking what he would do if he were under center, helping him make a break on the play.

"I have a good football I.Q. and that's something that you have to have in order to be a good football player," Hunter said. "I was always around the ball and having played quarterback, you have to understand where people need to be. I think I developed that from playing the position. I bring a lot of leadership to the secondary and the coaches trust me to move people to the right place because I understand the game.

"When I am out there, a lot of times I see what's coming before it actually comes," Hunter added. "That helps out a lot in helping me make the play. Mylan shuts down one half the field so the coach is counting on me to make big plays this year."

Renaissance head coach Antonio Watts isn't the only one counting on Hunter to make big plays, as a bevy of schools have begun showing heavy interest. Although he has no offers, Hunter reports that Akron, Central Michigan, Harvard, Notre Dame, Princeton, Toledo and Western Michigan have been the schools showing the most interest.

Another school that has been in to see Hunter has been Wisconsin and wide receiver coach DelVaughn Alexander, who sat down a couple of week ago with Hunter and, reportedly, had a good in-person conversation.

"He's a real laid-back guy," Hunter said of Alexander. "He's really cool. I enjoy him a lot. We basically talk about keeping grades up, working hard and just relaxing during the recruiting process because my time will come.

"Football is a minor aspect of our talk," he added. "He just wants me to do well in school. I respect that a lot, because he gives off the impression that he cares more about me the person than me the player. He cares a lot and that's a big thing."

Although Hunter was one of a group of hundreds at the combine to have yet to receive an offer, Hunter was one of the select few that didn't seem overly concerned with the lack of attention. With schools coming in droves to take a closer look at some of his teammates, Hunter knows that the harder he works, the better the chance he has of coaches coming to look specifically at him.

"Right now, I am just going through the process, knowing that my hard work is going to make offers come," Hunter said. "I am just trying to put in the work and keep my spirits up. I know if I do that, I'll be fine."

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