2013 NFL Draft Prospects: My Interview with SMU's Margus Hunt
Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com likens the defensive end to a 'PlayStation football creation'.
This is because he has a 6'8", 280 lbs frame mixed with the athleticism of a much smaller man.
Hunt is from Estonia and moved to the U.S in 2007 in order to train with SMU track and field coach Dave Wollman.
2007 was the first time Hunt had ever played the sport and he showed up well in tryouts.
Hunt was a talented track star: He won both European and World Junior championships for both the shot put and discus.
Now focusing solely on football, Wollman predicts that Hunt will be able to run a 4.6 40-yard dash and rep 225 lbs 45 times at next year's NFL combine.
Although only having five years' experience, Hunt can still make a big impact: he has blocked 14 kicks so far in his collegiate career with SMU.
Hunt should have a big senior year, and I'm sure he will use his near seven-foot wingspan to take down opposing quarterbacks.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with the man himself and I hope you enjoy:
CL: Does your experience in events like the hammer throw, shot put and discus help your performances with SMU?
MH: I would say it does, I always had a good biomechanical understanding of the throwing events and I had to take that knowledge and apply it to football when I was learning and that helped me. The biggest thing was to learn the game itself.
CL: What are the main things that you are looking to improve upon during this offseason?
MH: I'm working a little on explosiveness and power, but conditioning and being able to be on the field the whole game and go fast every play is my main focus.
CL: How are you able to block so many kicks?
MH: We have good schemes, but the main help comes from my teammates who create the gap where I penetrate. None of that would be useful if you aren't fast enough off the football, though, so we work on reaction drills every practice, and during the game it becomes second nature.
CL: You have great height, in what ways do you think this impacts on your performance?
MH: It makes me more exposed to blockers if I don't stay low, but at the same time, If I stay low and use my leverage, it will give me a huge advantage.
CL: Do you see yourself as a future 3-4 or 4-3 defensive end at the NFL level?
MH: I don't know. The only system I know is the 3-4, but I will play whatever they throw at me. Some of our packages include some 4-3 looks, and it's fun to move around during a game and try different things.
CL: By the end of your senior season, which round do you hope to be drafted in?
MH: I would hope to be drafted as early as possible, but we'll just have to wait and see. The only thing I can control right now is my attitude towards practice and it has been really good so far.
CL: Do you think that you could run a 4.6 40-yard dash and set NFL combine bench press records like Dave Wollman predicted?
MH: Running a 4.6 would definitely be possible, I just need some work and practice. I ran a 4.7 while sick and really tired. The combine bench press record would be a totally different challenge, to do reps that high, we need to work on it all the time and find a perfect rhythm to last for 50 reps.
CL: Is American Football growing in Estonia because of you?
MH: I sure hope it is. Sometimes I do get emails from my fellow Estonians who have been watching the games and mentioning that they are really interested in this game. I think we would have some great talent in Estonia to have a great team. We do have a team, but those guys are just doing it for their own fun and they have a great passion for the game.
CL: What made you decide to focus on football rather than track?
MH: I had a left shoulder injury in February of 2011, and that took away a full year of throwing, so I focused on football that year. Also, we already have three world class discus throwers in Estonia and it would be difficult for me to try and make a huge comeback this year, and last season was great for me. That's why I decided to focus on football.
CL: Due to you being relatively new to the sport, which hurdles have been the hardest to overcome?
MH: Getting used to the pace of the game and learning the game itself. When you watch enough film on your opponent and learn them, then the game will be a lot easier and you have some idea of what to expect on certain situations.
CL: What has your best game in your career so far?
MH: I would say the bowl game against Pittsburgh, because that game I was really able to let myself loose and have fun. But I have one more season left, so I hope that my best games are still ahead.
Is Margus Hunt a First Round Talent
CL: Which NFL players do you admire most and why?
MH: DeMarcus Ware and Mario Williams because they are both big guys and know how to get to the quarterback fast.
CL: Which NFL team are you a fan of?
MH: I don't really have a specific favourite, whenever I watch the games I simply focus on what the defensive players are doing and try to learn from that.
CL: What are some of the qualities a defensive end needs that may not be apparent to the casual fan?
MH: I would think that they need to be students of the game. They are the front that has to work together and communicate amongst themselves to know what's going on and what the other guys on the defensive line are doing,.
CL: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
MH: Our team is looking good and I will push the guys to get even better, because I know that this season we can really let it loose and win some major games. It's all about fundamentals and mastering them and being more physical than the other team. I expect us to win our conference and have a great season!
I'd like to say thanks to Margus for doing this interview and to Brad Sutton for arranging it. I wish Margus the best of luck for the upcoming season.
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