September 7, 2011

Freshman fullback Hunter is a physical presence

Hunter Joyer is making a strong first impression.

The freshman fullback has impressed teammates with his physicality, intelligence - and most of all - pure strength.

As a high school senior, the 242-pound Joyer set a school record at Tampa Catholic by bench pressing 500 pounds - a little more than double his weight. Now, at the next level, he is impressing teammates who have the misfortune of having to go up against him.

At a Wednesday press conference, junior linebacker Jon Bostic explained his reaction to his first encounter with Joyer.

"The first time I went against him, I came in the hole and I hit him," Bostic said. "I came back and I told Jelani [Jenkins,] 'You hit Joyer yet?' He said no. I was like, 'He didn't move.'"

Eventually, he said, Jenkins went up against Joyer - with similar results.

One of the bigger challenges with Joyer, aside from his strength, is his height. At 5-10, Joyer plays with a low pad level and gets leverage on linebackers he blocks. Bostic said the key to playing Joyer is to try and get even lower than he does.

"He's really physical," said Gators guard Jon Halapio. "He's a really smart player for a freshman, but the thing that stands out to me and my teammates is how physical he is."

On Saturday, Joyer got an early chance to show the Gator faithful what he can do. After fullback Trey Burton was forced to leave the game with a hip injury, Joyer was thrust in during the first quarter of Florida's 41-3 win over Florida Atlantic.

Though he registered no statistics in the game - outside of one tackle - Joyer silently had an impact on the game's outcome.

He threw blocks for Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Mike Gillislee, helping the trio of backs generate 217 of the team's 227 rushing yards.

"He's one of those guys, you know, people always look over and they see Rainey scored - Demps scored," he said. But he's that guy that puts in the extra work that gets them to the next level."

Bostic said silence is more than just a part of Joyer's role in the offense. It's a part of who he is.

"He's quiet," Bostic said. "He's real quiet. He just goes out every day and he works hard."

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