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Freshman Focus: Torii Hunter Jr.

Jul 8, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Torii Hunter Jr

There might not be a bigger wildcard in the ’13 recruiting class that Torii Hunter Jr. The future of the two-sport athlete with All-Star bloodlines will likely be decided by how successfully he recovers from a freak injury suffered at the US Army All-American game last January in San Antonio.

Hunter’s recovery took a step backwards when his broken femur was slow to heal, pushing his freshman season into doubt. With his rehab slowed, the focus is now on getting Hunter completely healthy, putting on the back burner any pressing need to get the silky smooth receiver into the line up sooner than later.

Let’s take a closer look at the receiver from Prosper, Texas.


Hunter had a nice set of offers, though his overall star-rating was likely effected by not just his late injury, but his less than stellar size. That said, Hunter chose the Irish over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia among almost two dozen offers. (Depending on the website, Alabama also offered the six-foot, 170-pound receiver.)

Yet Hunter did his best work on the national scene at The Opening, doing more than impressive work in the 7-on-7s and earning the MVP of the tournament. Combine that with an electronically timed 4.5 forty yard dash, and Hunter almost instantly upgrades the athleticism at the receiver position.


You’ve got to think that Hunter’s chance at playing early ended when he had a set back in his recovery. That said, Hunter is in South Bend under the watchful eye of trainer Rob Hunt and strength coach Paul Longo as he prepares for college football this summer. While the depth chart might have some opportunities for him, getting healthy is first and foremost.

When Hunter is healthy, it looks like the Irish plan on using him in the slot, a position where Brian Kelly originally planned to put his best athletes. But after three seasons, Kelly still hasn’t found a difference maker. Maybe Hunter can change that. Or at least the Irish head coach seemed to think so on Signing Day.

“We think he’s got that burst, that ability to take it and go from anywhere on the field,” Kelly said in February. “We think he’s an inside guy that can really make a difference for us within our offensive structure.”


The crystal ball looks awfully murky until we can see how well Hunter recovers from his broken leg. An injury you rarely see on the football field, patience will be a necessary virtue for Hunter, a guy that’s not used to watching and waiting after growing up a two-sport star. (Hunter plans to play both football and baseball for the Irish. He was drafted by his father’s Detroit Tigers in this June’s MLB Draft.)

Assuming a full recovery, Hunter’s future is incredibly bright. A player that seems to be at his best between the lines, paired with athleticism and speed that’s an immediate upgrade, Hunter’s future — if healthy — could be very bright.

But until we see him fully healthy and ready to play, we’ll have to wait and see.

  1. NotreDan - Jul 8, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Rest up. Get healthy.

    Go Irish.

  2. nudeman - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    NotreDan, bern, papa, smitty … everyone else: Any of you guys planning on going to the Temple game?

    • NotreDan - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      No on Temple.

      The ONE game I will for sure be at is the U of M game in Ann Arbor. If any sane regulars will be in AA, let me know, I will be hosting a giant tailgate.

      • nudeman - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        I think there are many here who are or should be in AA.
        But we’re not talking about Michigan, please understand.

      • NotreDan - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM


      • mtflsmitty - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        Temple is doubtful for me. You’re in AZ aren’t you Nude? Heading to SB for that one?

        Dan, Ann Arbor could be possible for me, as a guest of a business associate. Not sure though. Working on it as I’ve never been to the Big House.

        I live in Houston area, so will likely drive up to Dallas with wife and kids (classes of 2022, 2024 and 2026) for the game in TX Stadium.

        Most looking forward to OK game with my 82yo father (class of ’54) and three bothers (one of them class of ’86).

        Would be great to meet many of the regulars at a game. BTW, haven’t heard from Boston Jan lately. Hope she and her family are getting along OK.

      • nudeman - Jul 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM

        I am now operating out of Chicago

    • papadec - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      nude – no on Temple. Was kicking around meeting my brother @ the ASU game.

      • papadec - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:35 AM

        mtfl – bostonjan is OK. We’re meeting @ our mother’s for her 95 birthday @ the end of this month.

      • mtflsmitty - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        Ah, Papa. Gather you two are siblings. Cool to have a brother/sister team here. Hope Jan’s son/daughter (sorry, I can’t recall which) is continuing to recover well. Gotta get mom to a game!!!

      • papadec - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        mtfl – mom watches every ND game clutching her picture of Pope John-Paul (her Polish Pope).

  3. bernhtp - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I’ll go to two home games and Az State in Dallas, but not Temple.

  4. grattanstanford - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Give him three deep ball chances opening day vs temple and see if he’s got some of that Tori Hunter magic. Assuming hes healthy.

    Whoops, forgot about the no deep pass rule with TR.
    Redshirt him and pair him up with EG next year

  5. grattanstanford - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Give him three deep ball chances opening day vs temple and see if he’s got some of that Tori Hunter magic. Assuming hes healthy.

    Whoops, forgot about the no deep pass rule with TR.
    Redshirt him and pair him up with EG next year

  6. fnc111 - Jul 8, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Non issue here. Hunter won’t catch a meaningful pass in his career at ND. It will be an early retirement from football for him.

    • ndfansince69 - Jul 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Disagree. If he has Sr.’s work ethic, by his senior year he will team up with Robinson to be our best WR duo in the last 20-25 years.

      Go Irish!!!

  7. mediocrebob - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I don’t know if we’ll see a better duos than Shark/Stovall, Shark/Rhema and especially Golden and Mike Floyd.

    It’s nice to think about though.

    Go Irish

  8. fnc111 - Jul 8, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Anyone with their sanity would skip the scUM game this year. We all know how trashy the Meatchicken fan base is so who would put themselves through that hell?

    On top of that we know Kelly doesn’t have what it takes to beat them on the road. We saw that two years ago. 1-2 record against that joke of a team. Looked like he wanted to lose to them last year too. Maybe his Michigan grad wife allowed him to finally scrape one out in the matchup. Kelly is a politician and a fraud.

  9. mkuswing - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Fnc111 are you an Irish fan or a troll. New to the site- everything you say is negative. Debby’ downer dude!!!

    • mtflsmitty - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      Mkuswing, fnc comes here, writes predictable anti-Kelly nonsense in hopes of getting the attention he doesn’t get in real life. So he dedicates significant portions of his personal time to come here and try to get a rise out of people. Sad.

      Most here completely ignore fnc. I encourage you to do the same.

  10. sullyp18 - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Ill be in AA set up with a UM friend of mine on the golf course. I also plan on going to the ASU game (if anyone can hook up tickets that would be great) and the USC game.

  11. Keith Arnold - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    FNC– Can you remind me why you post here again?

    Don’t you have puppies to run over or candy to steal from toddlers? It’s pretty tough to take anything you write here seriously, especially when it’s so utterly predictable.

    Was there any glee in last year’s magical season or did you just take wonderful pride in being the first guy to say that ND would get clobbered in the title game. (Not that I even know you said that, but at this point, why wouldn’t you have said it.)

    Your formula of just going with the worst case scenario and than pridefully writing it here for all to see is such a tired, tired troll game.

    Please at least be better or more original.

    • mtflsmitty - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:10 AM

      Keith, A little bit of censorship isn’t always a bad thing. I’m pretty sure no one would mind if Coward was blacklisted permanently.

    • nudeman - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      I have to agree with smitty. I don’t mind some of the trolls who come here; a couple of those Bama guys are pretty funny.

      Why do you let fnc keep coming on here? He adds nothing … same old “Kelly stinks” blather.
      Just block him.

  12. mikes1160 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    In regards to fnc, thanks Keith

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