Sep 22, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; A general view of Notre Dame Stadium during the first quarter of the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines. Notre Dame won 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Prospect Evaluation: Notre Dame Commitment Torii Hunter Jr.

Torii Hunter Jr. is the 21st commitment of the 2013 class for Notre Dame. Hunter committed after a visit to Notre Dame this past Saturday when they faced off against Michigan. Hunter was drawn to Notre Dame by academics, the style of offense, and the atmosphere during games. He has since cancelled his official visits to Nebraska, Arizona State, and Utah. Hunter will also play baseball at Notre Dame, following in the footsteps of his father, Angels Outfielder Torii Hunter Sr.

Strengths

The 6’ 172 pound 4 star wide receiver is ranked 35th at his position. Hunter has great ball skills. He always catches the ball at its highest point. His technique is textbook when it comes to catching a football, because he puts his hands together into a triangle before the ball arrives. Also, I always saw him catching the ball with is hands never trapping it against his chest. He has good awareness finding the holes in the defense when the play breaks down. Hunter is fast, but will not necessarily be a burner at the college level (4.57 40 time).  Another one of his strengths would be his cutting ability. There were multiple times on film where Hunter would make a cut or juke move to make tacklers miss or have to dive at his feet. His changing direction while running routes is solid as well, this leading to creating separation from the defender finding a hole in the defense.

Weaknesses

Size is almost always a weakness for guys coming out of high school going to play division one football in college. Putting on 15-25 pounds of muscle will help him out tremendously. His route running is average at best, because of his technique and he could make his routes cleaner and quicker using the proper technique. The main problem lies in the start of his route, coming off the ball he takes to many steps. This can lead to bad timing between quarterback and receiver, and can disrupt the entire play completely. A better start from his stance will create even more separation from the defender. Blocking is something I haven’t seen him do a lot of, and he has to improve here. The ability to block a defender is what makes a receiver an all-around great player. Improving his technique in route running, blocking, and getting bigger will all result into him being a solid player for the Fighting Irish.

Overall I do not see Hunter getting playing time for quite some time. The receiving core is very young and there are some other guys that haven’t seen the field much, are developing well like Chris Brown and Davonte’ Neal. Hunter will have an opportunity to get some limited playing time his sophomore year possibly. This will give him plenty of time to develop into the player that his potential portrays. I like the fact that Coach Kelly is going after guys like Hunter and Robinson, that are good athletes and are sons of great athletes, which raises the potential ceiling even higher.

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