Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Hunter Jr. taking time on recruiting trail
By Bob Przybylo
A lot has been said about Oklahoma’s recruiting strategy for the class of 2013. The Sooners have been very patient, not putting pressure on recruits to commit early. Likewise, the coaching staff hasn’t always been the most aggressive. For a lot of area prospects, the term “spring evaluation” has been thrown out before OU will make an offer.
OU assistant coach Jay Norvell, however, didn’t hesitate to offer receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper). True to his word, Norvell hasn’t pushed Hunter to commit.
Junior receiver Torii Hunter Jr. is focused on baseball this spring.
It’s a good thing for OU fans that Norvell is being patient because Hunter is too busy to even think about making a decision in football. Especially when a future in baseball could be possible and maybe even probable given Hunter’s genes.
Hunter, 6-foot and 170 pounds, is the son of Torii Hunter, the nine-time Gold Glove-winning centerfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
And though the younger Hunter is soaring up the charts as it relates to football, the spring is all about baseball.
“Right now I don’t even know if I could make any visits," Hunter said. "I’m so busy in baseball, and I don’t want to let the team down."
If spring is about baseball, then winter was all about football as Hunter went from being a relative unknown to a highly-coveted prospect at wide receiver.
Hunter boasts offers from Arkansas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, among others, and early talks with Oklahoma and Norvell have been productive.
“What I like about Coach Norvell is he doesn’t jump down your throat and talk about recruiting the entire time,” Hunter said. “He wants to get to know you as a person and see how things are going, too. He is very casual.”
Hunter spent time at cornerback during his sophomore season, but a move to being a full-time receiver last season helped put his name on the map.
He said he doesn’t have any favorites and is interested in every team that has offered him so far.
In the midst of baseball season, Hunter transitioned back to football two weeks ago for the NIKE Football Training Camp event and combine in the Dallas area.
“It was a real great experience,” Hunter said. “I’ve been working hard on my route running and trying to take advantage of the cornerback flaws.
“I was watching somebody like Ra'Shaad Samples, and he was incredible. But I also know that I belonged there, too.”
Samples, another OU wideout offer, fractured his fibula at the event and will be out three-to-four months.
The Sooners have been monitoring Hunter’s progress for a while as OU running backs coach Cale Gundy has been keeping tabs with the Prosper coaching staff since Hunter was a freshman.
Hunter will take his time, but early indications are that he will definitely try to see what OU has to offer.
“You think of OU right now, and you think of all the great quarterbacks they’ve had the last five years. Well, longer than that now, more like the last 10-15 years,” Hunter said. “When you have that type of success, you have to listen.”