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Irish A-to-Z: Torii Hunter Jr.

Jul 16, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT

Hunter Jr

When Notre Dame added Torii Hunter Jr. to the roster on Signing Day 2013, the Irish did more than just add another famous father to the family section at Notre Dame Stadium. A four-star recruit who won the offensive MVP at The Opening and an Army All-American, Hunter looked like he’d add immediate reinforcements to the wide receiving corps.

But a freak injury running pass routes during All-American practices in San Antonio had the Irish signing a recruit with a broken left femur, a serious injury that cost Hunter his entire freshman season. After a long rehabilitation program that included a significant setback after his bone growth suffered, Hunter is back and competing.

Let’s take a look at what that means for the Irish depth chart and Notre Dame going forward.

 

TORII HUNTER JR.
6’0″ 190 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 16

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

A four-star recruit who fell outside of Rivals’ Top 250, Hunter still had some nice offers to go along with an impressive performance at The Opening. Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma all lost out on Hunter, who visited South Bend in late September and committed just a few days later.

Whatever player Hunter was before the broken leg, Notre Dame stood by their commitment to Hunter, who did the same with Notre Dame. On Signing Day, head coach Brian Kelly talked about the way Hunter aggressive worked to return from a fairly serious injury.

“We were in Torii’s home just about a week ago, and as many of you know, he suffered a leg injury, and he’s already up moving around after two and a half weeks,” Kelly said. “The care and the commitment that he has, here’s a guy that’s only going to get better and physically develop.  We think he’s got that burst, if you will, that ability to take it and go from anywhere on the field.”

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2013): Did not see action.

 

UPSIDE POTENTIAL

Hunter is another player whose trajectory was significantly thrown off by injury. If not for the broken femur at the U.S. Army game, Hunter was expected by some to be one of the first freshmen onto the field. Now healthy, he’s got to fight his way into a position battle that may be seven or eight deep, no easy task for a sophomore trying to get his first playing time.

On Signing Day, Kelly said that Hunter profiled as an inside receiver. It appears that’s changed, with no mention of Hunter along with Amir Carlisle or C.J. Prosise. Or that means there’s still significant work to be done for Hunter, who showed a nice burst and drew some positive comments from Kelly in the practices running up to the Pinstripe Bowl.

CRYSTAL BALL

This is a wait and see season for Hunter. Could the prep injury hinder him for another season? Quite possibly, as broken femur’s are a tricky healing process that’s rarely associated with football. Then again, injuries are hardly the only thing in the way. So is a depth chart with DaVaris Daniels, Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise. Hunter likely starts fall camp behind all of them.

That said, only Daniels seems to have his role in the Irish offense cemented. So if Hunter walks into fall camp ready to roll, there’s not much of a line to work through on the depth chart. The young receiver caught the eye of Kelly during bowl prep, and certainly had the type of skills that lead to productivity when he was slicing and dicing his way through The Opening.

We might not ever know what a full speed Hunter looked like, or if the femur injury took something away from his top end speed. But all reports have him healthy and ready to compete. And with four years of eligibility remaining, the clock only now starts ticking.

***

The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes
Chase Hounshell

 

  1. johngaltisspeaking - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    I don’t think anyone can recover 100 percent from this type of Injury. He was without a doubt SEC Talent but due to injury and the unknown I will have to knock him down to the MAC Conference.

    • irishmob89 - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      And your skill of trolling is MAC Conference level. Think of some new material.

    • don74 - Jul 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      is this john galt speaking or Mel Kiper? Nude’s correct in that guys like you can be entertaining but to speak with certainty about performance expectations of someone who has not suited up seems a little silly. It’s an act that is stale and quickly getting moldy.

      Let’s wait and see, we may be surprised. If not the Irish baseball squad could use him.

    • DPU Man ND Fan - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      I’m not really sick of you – just soooo bored by you.

    • dickasman - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      Is she hott?

      • dickasman - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        If she’s anything like Rachel hunter before the fatso days, schhhhwinggggg, watch out!

    • bernhtp - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Hunter is definitely is not SEC.

      An SEC recruit with this injury a couple of weeks before NSD would have been diverted into a JUCO so as to not waste a scholarship. If he fully recovered and looked good at the JUCO, they would then transfer him the following year (or two).

      Torii Hunter is especially thankful that ND is not an SEC school.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        I cant stand this : “We are better than you because we don’t”

        Transfer players when they are hurt

        My question are they breaking the rules ? The answer is NO

        Just because Notre Dame self inflicts its own rules doesn’t mean the rest of the teams that don’t follow their model are bad.

        Is Notre Dame somewhat better than an SEC team ? NO not really its just different strokes for different folks.

      • Keith Arnold - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Bern, this is an excellent result.

        Even Trollboy had a problem with that one.

        John, ND doesn’t self-inflict their own rules. They follow the ones prescribed by their own institution and the NCAA.

        Do they do it right every time? No. But they at least try to…

      • bernhtp - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        John, we both agree that Notre Dame is different.

        Does this difference make Notre Dame better? The answer depends upon the values used to judge.

        Notre Dame has a very explicit value system. Sometimes adhering to these values costs us tactically in football, but I think that it is a winner long term in addition to being the “right thing,” at least according to this value system.

        Your values are clearly different. You believe these values and the actions that stem from them do self-inflicted harm because you don’t embrace them. I bet you would be happier talking football in a different venue where you aren’t at odds with the prevailing culture.

      • heartofgoldandblue - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        Very well said Bern….all I can think when reading John’s comments is “Why does he claim to be a Notre Dsme fan if he doesn’t agree with their values or priorities?” Clearly you’d be much more suited rooting for an SEC team or the just the whole conference and their win at all costs mentality.

      • domerboyirish - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Bern, as always, you are spot on. I always seem to agree with your posts. Well said.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        My point is if the school is holding itself to a higher standard than other schools, ie GPA etc it starts sounding foolish when the my fan base complains about how Alabama and Florida State and whomever else is winning because they cheat by paying players or kids not having to go to class. Let me tell you guys something ALL SCHOOLS BEND THE RULES.. Including our beloved Notre Dame, its all about how they do it. Most of the players playing Football for ND would never see the inside of a classroom if it wasn’t for Football. All these teams in the SEC or PAC 12 are all holding their athletes to high standards. Look at USC they are the first to offer 4 year scholarships for ALL SPORTS. And Look at Nick Saban the first coach to come forward and push for 9 SEC in Conference Games with the remaining having to be played within Div 1. That means no more Patsy games like Navy , Army and Airforce.

      • bernhtp - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        John,

        At the risk of ignoring the biblical admonition to “not cast pearls before swine,” let me try to help you understand.

        Notre Dame has an identity, a value system, and a set of rules that are way, way bigger than the football team. The requirement of the football team is to abide by these rules along with external ones (NCAA).

        Yes, football players have special (lower) academic admission requirements. While that’s true, they are still subject to the same academic, living and conduct requirements. It’s just harder for them.

        It doesn’t matter than you don’t agree with these values and extra rules/requirements. They aren’t changing. Furthermore, I think that in the long run this identity is an important draw, including for football athletes, and without it Notre Dame would just be another college in the upper Midwest.

        Again, you might find more happiness and camaraderie on another board more consistent with your beliefs.

  2. shaunodame - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    I’m always a fan of players that come from professional athletics backgrounds. I think because of their parents (or grandfather, uncles and aunts etc) they have a great understanding of what it takes from a commitment standpoint to be successful. Being Torii Hunters son speaks for itself.

    • dickasman - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      You mean something like if your pops gotz 9 incher, the son must have 9 incher too?

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        dickasman we all know you are compensating for something just remember fat women need lovin too.

  3. mtflsmitty - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    I’ve read several stories of TH’s work ethic and mental strength throughout his recovery. I see this thing going one of two ways:

    1) If the injury is healed fully and he hasn’t lost his speed, he works his way into several offensive packages, racks up 200-350 yards receiving, and scores twice this season. His junior year is a breakout year and he puts up 600+ yards with 8 scores.

    2) If he’s lost a step due to the injury, his father will help him find his way back to baseball, his second love, where he may still have a promising career in right or left fields.

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