Derick Hunter opens up about UGA after first visit to Athens
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a review of the first trip for Derick “Rambo” Hunter to Georgia.
Let’s get a simple matter out of the way first. Derick “Rambo” Hunter does like Florida. It is not the only school on his mind, but let’s focus on the Gators first.
His views on that program help shape his feelings about Georgia after his first trip to Athens. That’s because Hunter really likes what he had seen up to that point in Gainesville.
When he speaks about his relationship with Florida defensive line coach Sal Sunseri, Hunter puts a lot of emphasis on his words. Syllables are stressed. He wants them to mean something. Sunseri is a great recruiter. He had a hand in building up that college football dynasty at Alabama.
He also carries NFL coaching experience on his résumé with time in Carolina and Oakland.
That context is necessary to now consider his long-awaited first trip to Georgia for G-Day.
“Georgia is totally different than Florida,” Hunter said. “I can actually say that because I have seen that now. I can separate them now because I have actually seen Georgia with my own eyes.
“I can’t really say much because all those Florida fans will come after me, but it was totally different. Georgia has just got a lot more than what Florida does right now.”
Georgia should be seen as his top school at this time. He did make that clear.
“To be honest, I am not going to lie when I say that Georgia fits me more,” he said. “Just to see it for the first time with my own eyes. No offense toward Florida but [Georgia] fits me. I have seen Florida a lot 24/7 but after seeing Georgia and I see now that it really kind of does fit me.”
The next steps for Derick Hunter
Look for Hunter to whittle down his options to a top 8 on Wednesday.
Georgia will be in that group for a 4-star prospect who rates as the nation’s No. 13 strongside defensive end in the 247Sports composite. If you want to know more about the Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar star, then check out DawgNation’s most recent stories about his nickname and what he hoped to see from that first trip to Athens.
What did he see?
“I still feel the same about Georgia,” he said. “I think it was better now that I got to see Georgia for the first time. I’m definitely going back. Coming back over the summer. I will swing up to Georgia and then swing up to Clemson to see what that is like.”
That Clemson trip is noted here. Rightfully so. He saw Clemson last week before his UGA visit. He did really enjoy that visit, too. Clemson assistant Todd Bates really connected with him.
“Coach Bates is a genuine man right there,” Hunter said. “Clemson is on a whole another level.”
Hunter made use of that slide in the Clemson facility. He called it “dope.”
“I love Clemson,” Hunter said. “I like what they have going on.”
That sounds like the toughest part of his eventual decision. The great men doing the recruiting. They will make this hard on him.
“Coach Sal at Florida is my man,” Hunter said. “I’ve got [defensive line] coach [Tray] Scott over here at Georgia. Coach (Kirby) Smart at Georgia and then [assistant receivers] coach Dallas Crawford at Georgia who actually came from my city, too. It is so crazy I have got all these great coaches.”
How does he weigh playing for Scott vs. Sunseri?
“It is powerful there with those two in their own unique ways,” Hunter said. “Coach Sunseri is in love with me, man. Coach Scott is kind of the same love but it is tough love, man. He really wants me to get my degree and hold me accountable for what I would do there. They both feel like the same. The same great men but just in different ways.”
What will stick with Derick Hunter about his G-Day visit?
The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder kept using the word “different” to describe his G-Day visit.
“It was just so different,” Hunter said. “The facilities were nice. Just the fan base coming together. I didn’t even imagine it like that even though everybody talks about that. I couldn’t even imagine there would be that many fans up in the stadium like that. That was crazy.”
When he walked on campus and in the stadium, he heard a few things.
“Rambo, commit to the G.”
“Derick, commit to the G.”
“It was crazy man,” Hunter said. “That Georgia fan base is just wild.”
When he was in the stands, he kept thinking what it would be like to play in front of those fans.
For a real game. Not an overstuffed controlled scrimmage.
“You saw the red and then all the black,” Hunter said. “Then you heard the stands. One side said, ‘Georgia,’ and the other side said ‘Bulldogs,’ and it went back and forth. ‘Georgia.’ ‘Bulldogs.’ ‘Georgia.’ ‘Bulldogs.’ That was crazy. It was crazy, man. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
He named another moment that mattered to him.
“Just those boys being on the field and holding that Rose Bowl trophy. That was a lot, man. It was a whole lot. That meant a lot to me. … But my favorite moment was when they went back and forth ‘Georgia’ and ‘Bulldogs’ then. It sounded like something in a video game, man. For real.”
The south Florida resident said he got to spend about “one to two hours” talking with Scott on G-Day. But he felt that wasn’t long enough.
There were just too many prospects on hand at G-Day. Too many for the coaches to tend to.
Things to know about the Derick Hunter visit
He wasn’t going to be found on the sidelines for any amount of time on G-Day. There was a reason why.
“I didn’t like being on the sidelines,” Hunter said. “I didn’t like it. It makes me want to play so bad. So I just hurried up and went to the bleachers.”
Hunter sat with 5-star RB target Trey Sanders during the game. He eventually met up with Nolan Smith during the fourth quarter. That 5-star outside linebacker pledge had his ear most of the visit.
Georgia wants Hunter to play a 5 or 6 technique in its scheme. When a pass-rush situation presents itself, he will slide inside to a 3.
He tried on the No. 7 jersey when he was in Athens. That was a nod to former great Lorenzo Carter. He said there was something special about that jersey now.
“I can see myself at Georgia,” he said. “I can see myself fitting in perfectly inside that locker room.”
What makes Kirby Smart a great recruiter?
According to Hunter, Smart was holding a meeting with the incoming 2018 signees when he arrived at the Butts-Mehre complex at approximately 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Smart audibled his way out of that session to meet him. Hunter said that meeting lasted approximately one hour. The Georgia coach wanted to know what his goals would be in the program.
“I told him my first goal was to get my degree,” Hunter said. “Then he asked what was my second goal was going to be. I told him that would be going to the NFL to provide for my family.”
If he chose Georgia, Smart said all of that would be laid at his feet.
“He said that was all up to me being committed to do what I have got to do,” Hunter said. “It was up to me to get my degree and up to me to push myself with my work ethic and going with what the coaches there would be teaching me and coaching me up. I can take all of that and take myself to the NFL with that.”
Smart then handed him off to Smith.
“Then he had Nolan come down and then he also had C.J. Clark come down and talk with us. He started talking to both of us.”
Hunter said that was “the beauty part” of it. The three of them sitting down in the indoor facility.
“We were all chilling with each other,” Hunter said. “I had already known Nolan and Clark sat right by us, too. That was the beauty part there. There was no jealousy going on Nolan sitting down and talking to me and another recruit. Nolan and I are close and some kids would not understand that, but we brought [Clark] on in. We knew he was cool. It was good. It was a good vibe between all of us.”
Hunter said he had a lot on his mind that day.
“I had a lot going through my mind that day and now I have the chance to reminisce on all of that now,” Hunter said. “It was a good day. That was a good day. It was a very good day.”
A quick recap of another impact visit
Have you read about Demon Clowney on DawgNation yet? That’s the second cousin of former South Carolina great Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney is also an athlete in his own right. Well, it turns out that first-year Georgia linebackers coach Dan Lanning got to him first.
Georgia was the first school to offer the outside linebacker prospect a scholarship. That is still his pinned tweet on his Twitter account.
— DC (@DemonClowney) February 27, 2018
Clowney was impressed by true freshman OLB Brenton Cox on that visit. The Bulldogs eventually turned Cox away from Ohio State.
As it turns out, Clowney has also already visited that school. But he told DawgNation that the G-Day trip now ranks as his best college visit so far.
The 6-4 edge rusher from Maryland is a rising junior in the class of 2020.
Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.