July 9, 2008

Hunter finds great fit at UT

Just more than a five-hour drive back to Middletown, Ohio, and plenty of annoying traffic along the way couldn't spoil the day for D.J. Hunter. The talented defensive back had spent the last two days in Knoxville checking out Tennessee and as of just after 10 a.m. this morning he became a Tennessee Volunteer.

"Just the people was so nice," Hunter said. "My dad really liked it and my mom was cool with it. It was just a great fit and I knew it was where I wanted to play my college football. The team was really cool and it was really like a big family."

Hunter lives just about 45 minutes from Cincinnati and was ready to commit just after he hit campus.

"I thought I was going to commit when I saw the campus and the stadium and walked out on the field," Hunter said. "But I had to wait to talk to coach (Phillip) Fulmer."

Mid-morning Hunter went to Fulmer's office and that's when the top Vol delved into his bag of recruiting tricks and proved why he is one of the top recruiting head coaches in the country.

"He was low key," said Hunter, who was initially recruited by new Vols offensive coordinator Dave Clawson. "He showed me the championship trophy and told me that they were hoping to collect more trophies. I told him I wanted to do that and he asked If that was a commitment and I said, yes sir."

Aside from the people, it was the structure that stands on the banks of the Tennessee River that made the biggest impression on Hunter.

"I love that stadium," Hunter said of the Vols' venerable Neyland Stadium. "I can't wait to play in there. I want to get back as soon as possible. It was beautiful. Man, I love that stadium."

Hunter could play either cornerback or safety at the next level and he has no preference.

"I don't care," Hunter said. "Whichever one gets me on the field quicker. I just want to play."

Also on his trip, he got to check out the academic side of things and talk to a professor in the field that he hopes to major in.

"I think I want to major in Criminal Justice," Hunter said. "I think that is a tight degree and would be awesome to work in law enforcement. I got to talk to a professor about it and he explained how things work."

The decision is behind him and Hunter is now focused on becoming the best player possible before he arrives in Knoxville.

"I'm going to be working like a dog before I get there," Hunter said. "I'm not going to come in out of shape. I'm coming in there in tip-top shape.

"I want to focus on my final year of high school football and help my team do as good as we can."

So no chance of Hunter changing his mind, right?

"Nope, I'm done!" he exclaimed.

Rivals.com rates Hunter a 4-star defensive back and a member of the Rivals250 for the class of 2009.

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