Jaden Hunter, a 4-star junior linebacker from Westlake High School, is a UGA legacy. The son of the late Brice Hunter, a former UGA wide receiver, said he’s heard sparingly from his father’s old school.
“I haven’t really heard much from them,” Hunter said. “But I talk to coach (Bryan) McClendon a lot when he comes up here.”
It is still early in the junior’s recruitment, and Hunter said that he plans on giving everyone a fair shot.
“Not right now,” Hunter said when asked if he was going to narrow down his list. “I’m just keeping it (open) so that all schools can get after (me).”
The 4-star linebacker plans on making his final decision after his senior season, and said that there were too many schools on his list right now to rank. But he did reveal which SEC schools he’s most interested in.
“Alabama, LSU and Georgia.”
McClendon is UGA’s recruiting coordinator and visited Hunter at school before Westlake’s game against Langston Hughes earlier this season.
“He said he wanted me to go out and play my best that night and just, you know, ball out,” Hunter said.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, who honors his father’s memory by writing “R.I.P. 88” on his wristbands, knows why he would be valuable to UGA.
“Because of my pass rush, I’m a really good pass rusher,” Hunter said. “And my run-stopping abilities.”
Linebackers like Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins and Jarvis Jones have thrived as pass rushers at UGA, and Hunter could become the next player to assume that role. He hasn’t been up to UGA recently, but said he watches most of the team’s games on TV.
“They’ve got a bunch of young players on the team, and young players on the field, too,” Hunter said.
The 4-star believes that UGA’s youth is a sign that the team could be good over the next couple of seasons as the players gain experience. But UGA’s coaches will have some tough competition.
Alabama appears to be the team to beat for Hunter. In fact, he almost committed to the Crimson Tide early in the summer. He also named Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as the coach he has the best relationship with. Smart played football with Hunter’s father for one year at UGA. The Alabama coordinator has been a popular name for coaching vacancies, and Hunter said he could see Smart staying or leaving.
“I think it’s either way, because he’s been at Alabama for a pretty long time,” Hunter said.
When asked what moment in his recruitment stood out to him the most, Hunter gave another indication of his opinion on Alabama.
“Jan. 27, 2015,” he said. “That was when I got the offer from Alabama. I was like ‘Wow, is this really happening right now?’ And I had to think ‘Yeah, because I worked hard for this.'”
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.