4-star wide receiver Torii Hunter out of Prosper, Texas has verbally committed to play football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
If the name sounds familiar, you're correct—this is indeed Torri Hunter Jr., son of MLB star and current Anaheim Angels outfielder Torii Hunter. Hunter Jr. will also be playing baseball at Notre Dame, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.com in his report on the commit.
This is a big pickup for the Irish, as Hunter has the potential to be a very good player for Brian Kelly and company. Here's my scouting report on the Irish's newest verbal commit as well as some predictions regarding his college career:
Right away, you know that Hunter is going to be a good athlete considering that he can play two sports at the collegiate level. As far as football is concerned, he's got good size at 6'1", 172 pounds, and he runs a 4.57 40, according to 247Sports.
He can see the field well as a receiver, especially after the catch, and he's very agile and elusive as a ball-carrier. He can go up and make a play on the football at its highest point, and he displays well above average body control, footwork and soft hands.
Most wide receivers possess many of those same qualities, though, so I try to look for something that will make them stand apart from the pack.
In Hunter's case, his greatest asset is his ability to create separation.
Like I said, he has very good body control and awareness in space. A lot of that starts with the separation he's able to get from the cornerback.
In the picture below, you'll see him engaging the corner on a simple fade route. Many high school wide receivers will try to just use their speed to get outside of the corner to run the fade, but the good ones like Hunter know that true separation comes from using their hands to create space. Just that little bit of physicality gets the corner on on his heels enough to let Hunter get the outside leverage, and then he lets his speed and athleticism do the rest of the work for him.
In this next set of pictures, you'll see how he puts everything together to create separation.
In the first picture, you'll see him using his hands not to engage the corner, but to help him create natural separation by extending his arm between them. In the next picture, you see him dipping his shoulder, which allows him to cut off the corner from getting any leverage on his route.
The last point of separation comes in the end zone, where he is able to jump higher than the corner and high-point the ball, making it impossible for anybody other than him to make the play.
These are simple strategies of creating space as a receiver, but they came naturally to Hunter. Considering he's still just a senior in high school, that's a very good sign for the Irish. He has unlimited potential.
Hunter is a player that I can see developing into a superstar for the Fighting Irish. He's got the raw football instincts that you look for in a wide receiver, and with coaching and time, I only see him getting better.
Notre Dames' sophomore quarterback Everett Golson has a great arm and appears to be the real deal, so Hunter can really thrive in Brian Kelly's offense. He's got the hands and awareness to be a very good possession wide receiver, but he's still athletic and quick enough to take a few deep shots with.
He already has a big name because of his father, but I expect Torii Hunter Jr. to make a name of his own with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.