Since the NFL scouting combine, one of the most intriguing names that's been floated around is Southern Methodist defensive lineman Margus Hunt.
Hunt seemingly arose out of nowhere to become the hot name at the combine after his workouts were off the charts. His blend of size and athleticism are a rare commodity at any level and have certainly gotten him noticed.
But, he's still a relatively unknown when it comes to the casual fan. So, here's everything you need to know about Margus Hunt.
Full Name: Margus Hunt
Hometown: Karksi-Nuia, Estonia
High School: N/A
Born in Estonia, Hunt quickly familiarized himself with athletics, namely track and field. He competed nationally in the Junior World Championships in 2003 where he placed eighth in the hammer throw. In 2004, he placed sixth in the discus.
Hunt arrived in the United States from Estonia in 2007 to attend SMU and throw for their track and field team. But by the time he arrived in the States, SMU had dropped its men's track program. Coach Dave Wollman, who continued to work with Hunt on his throwing ability, suggested that his unique frame (6'8", 280) and athleticism may garner him a football scholarship with the school.
Hunt didn't play organized football until the age of 22 when he first set foot on the field with the Mustangs, where he finished his career as a three-year letter winner.
Freshman: Hunt opened his college football career at the age of 22 and appeared in all 13 of the Mustangs' games in 2009. He made his most significant impacts on special teams, blocking an NCAA record seven kicks and nearly doubling the former school record of four.
Hunt was named to the All-CUSA Honorable Mention team by the league's coaches, and although his defensive impact was minimal, he got stronger with more playing time.
2009 Stat Line: 8 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks
Sophomore: In his second season, Hunt continued to dominate on special teams, even with a much reduced role. He blocked three more kicks in his sophomore campaign.
More importantly, Hunt started all 13 games for the Mustangs at defensive end and began his career as an every-down player just 12 months after learning the sport. Hunt became a force for the Mustangs against the run and was among the team leaders in tackles. His pass rushing left a lot to be desired, but he batted down two passes on the season.
For the second straight season, Hunt was named an All-CUSA Honorable Mention performer.
2010 Stat Line: 45 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 PD
Junior: Hunt continued to be a kick-blocking machine, batting down a pair of extra points in SMU's opener against Texas A&M. He also blocked kicks against Northwestern St. and UTEP.
But Hunt struggled a little more on the defensive end, especially in terms of getting to the quarterback.
Regardless, he dominated in the BBVA Compass Bowl in 2011, recording three sacks and five tackles. For the third straight year, he was named Honorable Mention All-CUSA.
2011 Stat Line: 28 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3 sacks
Senior: All the work finally came together for Hunt in his senior season as he posted his best numbers to date. He recorded a career high 11.5 tackles-for-loss and finally got his pass rushing going, recording eight sacks on the season.
Hunt finished his college career with a total of 17 blocked kicks.
2012 Stat Line: 31 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 8 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PD, 2 FF
Weight: 277 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 3/4"
Hand Size: 10"
40-Yard Dash: 4.60
Bench Press: 38 reps
Vertical Jump: 34.5 in.
Broad Jump: 121 in.
3-Cone Drill: 7.07
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.51
Hunt's 40-yard dash time ranked third among defensive linemen at the NFL combine. He was behind only Trevardo Williams (4.57) and Barkevious Mingo (4.58), both of whom are at least 30 pounds lighter than Hunt.
Hunt's 38 reps on the bench press tied him for the top spot with Missouri Southern State defensive lineman Brandon Williams, who is 55 pounds heavier.
Combine Results via NFL.com
- Before his football career started, Hunt was an elite-level Junior World Champion in a few throwing events in track and field.
- 2006 Junior World Champion in both discus and shot put.
- Set the Junior World Record in discus in 2006 three times with three separate throws at the same event. He now owns the top three slots, including No. 1 with his throw of 67.32 meters.
- In Estonia, Hunt trained with 2004 Olympic Discus Bronze Medalist Aleksander Tammert.
- Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Michael Roos is the only Estonian-born player currently playing in the NFL.
- 16 career sacks rank him 16th in C-USA history.
Hunt initially moved to the United States from his native Estonia to further his amateur track career (he won gold medals in the shot put and discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships). Now the 25 year-old uses his elite size/athleticism combination to make an impact on defense (three sacks in the BVAA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh to finish off 2011, a sack and two forced fumbles against Fresno in the Hawaii Bowl) and special teams (17 blocked kicks in four years). Fulfilling his potential as a starting NFL five-technique defensive end as a senior could land him in the top half of the first round in April.
Mel Kiper, ESPN (Mock Draft 4.0)
Justin Smith will be 34 in September, and the 49ers need to think about who could take over for him long term, and spell him in the interim. Pound for pound, Hunt is as good an athlete as you'll find in this draft, and the 49ers currently have a roster that allows them to draft for ceiling at this slot. Hunt could add a little bulk and could become a rotation player behind Smith this season, with the potential to become that rare kind of impact pass-rusher in a 3-4 scheme from the defensive end position.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
Hunt certainly has a unique blend of size and athleticism that will have NFL teams clamoring for his services. But in terms of being a football player, Hunt is still extremely raw.
His pass-rushing prowess didn't come around until last season at SMU, and although he was a very good run defender throughout his career, a lot of that had to do with his athleticism against weaker opponents.
There are going to be teams tempted to pull the trigger on Hunt in the first round, but in reality, he shouldn't be anything higher than a second-round selection given the amount of time teams will need to spend working with him.
Still, that kind of athleticism for a 3-4 defensive end could be a nightmare for opponents.