Travis Hunter: State’s No. 1 junior is electric and still very firmly committed to FSU
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry details a recent conversation with the remarkable 5-star junior CB/WR Travis Hunter of Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County.
The hype kept gushing all season long for 5-star junior CB Travis Hunter. This was the sort of rare praise that deserved that blue “verified” check that appears on social media sites.
He’s rated on the 247Sports Composite for the 2022 class as the state’s top junior, the nation’s No. 2 cornerback and the No. 4 overall recruit for his cycle. Hunter probably performed even better than that.
Especially after tearing through the state of Georgia on offense AND defense in the state of Georgia more than any other player has in quite some time. We’ve seen it done at lower classifications, but not in 7A and the extent that he did so this fall.
Hunter, who emphatically states he’s a cornerback first at the next level, had eight interceptions and 51 tackles from that position playing in Georgia’s largest classification. He added another 1,746 receiving yards and 26 total scores (Includes a rushing score and a Pick-6) in 2020.
This prospect could have been the Class 7A Offensive or Defensive Player of the Year for the Georgia High School Association. North Gwinnett’s Barrett Carter would give him a stout run at the DPOY honor, but nobody has played like Hunter on both sides of the ball in 5A or 6A or 7A in quite some time.
Not for a whole season.
He made ESPN’s SportsCenter for “Mossing” this defender in the 7A state finals last week.
Collins Hill's (GA) 5-star @TravisHunterJr had one of the best catches of the 2020 high school football season tonight.
The 2022 Florida State commit is a DUDE! pic.twitter.com/4NElOwCkwk
— Zack Poff (@Zack_Poff_MP) December 31, 2020
Noted play-by-play voice Matt Stewart echoed a “The Matrix” nickname for Hunter last week on the Georgia Public Broadcasting statewide telecasts of that 7A state final.
Collins Hill head coach Lenny Gregory feels there’s nobody better in America.
Best player in the Nation!!! https://t.co/HnKOI8Pt7E
— Lenny Gregory (@GregoryLenny) January 4, 2021
5-star Georgia signee Amarius Mims even took notice.
@TravisHunterJr is 🐐’d never seen anything like it!!!
— 〽️ I 〽️ S (@amarius_mims) December 31, 2020
Gregory might be right. Considering what Hunter did on both sides of the ball and his vast physical gifts and where he was rated heading into the 2020 season.
Every school in America would love to add a 6-foot-1 170-pound athlete like Hunter to their program. Yet here’s where he also shows he is uncommon.
Hunter is committed to FSU. Steadfastly. It is unusual to hear him so definitively shut down his recruitment when he was still a junior.
Other highly-regarded All-American state peers have been solidly committed at the same stage of their high school careers, but they at least entertain the notion they would look around or need to wait and see. Or they are listening to what Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State have to say.
Not Hunter. He locks that thought bubble down like he would an All-State wide receiver.
Are schools coming at him hard? Which schools? How hard are those elite programs working on a flip?
“I am a Florida State Seminole,” he said.
Georgia is trying, but those efforts sound rather moot. This is the rare recruit who is not sweating the no-contact visits or the NCAA’s ban on on-campus recruiting or visits at all.
“It didn’t affect me,” he said. “I already knew once I committed, I knew where I was going.”
When the recruiters and the schools still try, he shuts all of that down.
“I’m a Florida State Seminole,” Hunter said.
His dynamic 2020 season highlights are below.
Travis Hunter: Why FSU is a snug fit for the electric 5-star
Hunter is a Florida native.
“I play for my Grandma and my family,” he said. “We come from Florida so there is nothing much you can do in Florida but play sports. So when I moved up here [to Georgia] my main focus was to play for them. So when I go back down there when I go to play for Florida State that is still going to be my main motive.”
He mentioned his Grandmother Diane Edmonds at length during a five-minute chat with DawgNation in the middle of December. Hunter actually spoke fondly of both of his grandmothers.
“She’s always been there,” Hunter said. “My other grandma, Shirley Hunter, she has always been there, too. She’s the one who got me started playing football. Signed me up my first day and never looked back.”
Florida is home. FSU’s pass defense stats are going to benefit from that.
“It is a lot closer to West Palm Beach,” he said.
He’s a Seminole. Already living his dream.
“I vibe with the staff very well and that’s my dream school,” Hunter said. “So once I went there, it already felt like family.”
There was no silver medalist here in his recruiting.
“There is no second-place school,” he said. “There is no runner-up. There is only Florida State.”
Gregory appreciates that. As he should.
“Travis is a loyal guy,” the Collins Hill head coach said. “It has been his dream to go there and more power to him. How many kids today do you see flip flop around? I say hats off to Travis if that’s where he wants to go and that’s where he needs to go.”
It means a lot that he would be the first member of his family to play college football.
“I’m motivated to go farther in football than all of my ancestors did,” Hunter said.
Collins Hill QB Sam Horn is a high-level prospect in his own right. He’s the nation’s No. 4 pro-style QB and the No. 97 overall prospect (247Sports Composite) in that same 2022 class.
“You throw a screen pass to him you know he is going to take that ball and get at least 10 yards,” Horn said.
Gregory knew he was a special player from the first time he says him doing a conditioning run. Those were timed 200-meter runs. Those were in sets of six. Hunter just ran by everybody. Even all the seniors.
He thought then that his first one was going to be his best. Just trying to look good. It might have been his worst. All six of those timed springs by the rising freshman looked like Xerox copies of what a 5-star athlete would author.
“He’s wowed us every day he has been here,” Gregory said.
This new Eagle wasn’t even out of breath. That’s when he knew Hunter was going to be different.
“Travis is one of the most natural football players I have ever laid eyes on,” Gregory said. “He was just born to be an elite player. He’s just really good. I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. He can throw a ball really well. Can kick a ball great. I mean he can kick it and throw it both over sixty yards.”
“I mean if we didn’t have Sam and I’m so glad that we do. Then Travis would be the quarterback here. He’d be the guy and he’d be a good one there, too. If we needed a punter, he’d go punt. If you watch him at receiver, he looks like a Power 5 receiver. Then turn around and watch him as a DB he does the same thing. He plays safety. He plays corner. Probably the only thing he can’t do is play offensive line and defensive line.”
Great kid. Joy to be around. Always got a smile. No problems with him. Confident kid.
Gregory said all those things when it comes to Hunter.
“He’s the same guy if you bring him over for a cookout at the house as he would be playing here in a big game,” Gregory said. “He’s just a good kid having fun playing football.”
CB? WR? Both? The really tough question for Travis Hunter
Is he going to be on an island in Tallahassee? Both ways?
“I’m a corner,” Hunter also said matter-of-factly.
But what about all that great film and that 1,700-yards and 26 TDs in GHSA Class 7A football?
“I’ve got that dog in me,” he said. “I want to be the best at whatever I can play.”
Horn would use him differently.
“You have to play him both ways,” Horn said. “He’s way way too good not to play both ways. You’d just have to.”
His coach agrees.
“I personally think that wherever he goes I think they are going to, or should, use him on both sides of the ball,” Gregory said. “I think he is a Deion Sanders type player. They’ll find ways to use him. He’s too good of a player not to use him everywhere.”
The best tape on his tape, Hunter says, is from a 2019 game against Discovery. He basically broke 5-6 tackles and then dove into the end zone for a touchdown.
It is embedded below as the second play on that HUDL game reel.
Hunter said that he gets his speed from constant training. But his method is unusual.
“Nah, I just run,” Hunter said. “I run miles and miles. Almost every day in the summer.”
Hunter likes to eat some candy before games.
“Then I watch Marlon Humphrey and all the other top ‘DBs’ in the NFL before games just to get my mind off things,” he said.
Hunter said he will not be able to enroll early next January at this time.
“I’m just going to keep getting after it and going after it,” Hunter said. “It doesn’t matter what my rankings are or will be. I am going to keep getting after it.”
Horn views Hunter’s rare speed as something most are just not accustomed to dealing with.
“It is a weird type of speed,” Horn said. “He’s so long and it is unusual to see him once he gets going. He’s very quick to be so long and then once he then gets going, he’s gone. He’s both long and quick and then has that speed where he’s just absolutely gone once he gets going. He has it all.”
Gregory already used the name Deion Sanders, but he called on another NFL Hall of Famer as a player parallel to describe Hunter’s gait.
“I would say Jerry Rice,” Gregory said. “Right? Just runs by you as smooth as he can be. It looks like he floats in the air.”
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 interviews with Jake Fromm and Brock Vandagriff coming up over the next month. You will only be able to find it on the DawgNation YouTube channel.
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
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