ATHENS – Just got back from a little day trip to the ATL to meet with another one of Georgia’s newest Bulldogs for the Next Generation series. Hoped to post a little something about my visit earlier as I’m asked to do but, between our infamous Atlanta traffic and the unwavering requirement of having to attend a (make-up) Little League coaches’ clinic, my efforts were delayed until now.
Nevertheless, our latest subject in the Next Gen series is none other than Jaden Hunter. As most people know, the 4-star linebacker from Westlake High is a double legacy for UGA, with his father being the late Brice Hunter, former wide receiver, and his mother being Brandi Decker-Hunter, a key player on two of Georgia’s Final Four women’s basketball teams in the 1990s. But Jaden Hunter’s story goes much deeper than that and we’ll get into all of it when the Next Generation feature is posted at DawgNation.com on Monday.
In the meantime, my charge is to tell you something maybe you didn’t know. How about this? Don’t be surprised if you see Jaden on a movie or television screen someday.
I found that notable at least. And, after meeting the kid in person, quite frankly, not that surprising. Don’t want to give the wrong impression or anything, but he’s a good-looking kid. Like, Hollywood good looking.
His coach, Kareem Reid, was laughing about it when we were talking about him earlier.
“When you see him, you know he’s an athlete right away,” said Reid, who has been at Westlake just a year. “Physically he’s so mature with his body, he’s just physically blessed and athletically gifted. He’s sculpted like a Greek god. He’s sort of unique in that way.”
I laughed. Then I met Jaden and understood.
Different recruiting profiles list Hunter as standing 6-foot-2 and 6-3. He’s listed as 6-2, 213 pounds on Georgia’s official roster. He runs the 100 and 4×100 on the Westlake track team and is thinking about taking on the 400 this year.
As for his looks, he looks a lot like his late father did at the same age, but is the perfect combination of his mother and father, who are both good-looking people.
“I’m confident that he’ll be an actor or a sports journalist,” said his mother. “That’s what he aspires to do. I know he’ll be doing something in front of a camera. He has a natural knack for that. That’s just part of his gift.”
But Jaden’s interest in acting really doesn’t have anything to do with his haunting looks. It was sparked as it should be, through education. He took a natural interest watching TV and movies, but became really intrigued when he took theatre and drama classes at his previous high school, Riverwood.
“That is part of what I think inspired his love for it,” Decker-Hunter said. “Even before this football thing and all this, he had taken a huge liking to it. He talked about going to school in California and pursuing acting. That was part of his original plan.”
Turns out that Jaden is pretty good at this football thing, too. He did explore Southern Cal in recruiting and the thought of going to the West Coast to play ball not far from the movie studios was appealing. But, as we all know, the football is a little better down here in the Southeast, and they have a pretty good fine arts and theatre reputation right there at good ol’ UGA.
We all can only hope that four years of SEC football doesn’t ruin Hunter’s good looks.
For his part, Jaden didn’t get into his acting aspirations too much. Like any recent signee, he’s focused on the things Kirby Smart wants him to be focused on, like football, football, football. But he admitted it’s something he wants to consider.
“I’ve wanted to be an actor since seventh grade,” he said.
As for whether he was more action hero or Shakespeare, Hunter committed to neither.
“I’m into comedy and suspense,” Jaden said.
We’ll just leave it there then. You’ll have to tune into his career to find out.