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October 9, 2012

Hunter ready to tackle experience at Army Bowl

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster

As the son of MLB All-Star Torii Hunter, Torii Hunter Jr. knows well the hard work and dedication it takes to be a successful athlete.

Like his father before him, Hunter has become one of the best at his craft on the football field, and Tuesday at Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas, Hunter was recognized for his talents.

"I'm excited about it because when I was going to The Opening, everybody was saying, 'I'm playing in the Under Armour,' or 'I'm playing in the Army (Bowl),' so I was like 'I'm here with the big dogs.' So it was kind of weird," Hunter said.

"Then I got the call from coach saying I'd been nominated (for the Army All-American Bowl). I took it right away. It's a big honor to be an Army All-American."

Hunter has put in a lot of work over the years, but the honor still comes as a surprise, at least to him.

"I really had no idea what was going on. I didn't think I would be selected," he said. "I'm just from a little small-town school. I knew I was getting a lot of media attention, but I didn't know if I would get nominated. But I did and I'm excited about it."

Over the years, the standout receiver has been a handful for opposing defenses. He is noted for his ability as a deep threat with flypaper hands and explosiveness, and quickness that creates a mismatch for defensive backs.

It did not take long for college coaches to fall in love with his skillset. Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and West Virginia all extended offers, but after his performance at The Opening this summer in Portland, his stock skyrocketed further. On Sept. 23, he committed to the Fighting Irish.

"I made a lifelong decision," Hunter said. "By choosing Notre Dame, my scholarship will go a long way. I'm happy to be an Irish and going out there and making plays for them too."

In addition to his abilities on the football field, he is also noted for his baseball skill, of course, and Notre Dame, baseball and football fit nicely.

"The baseball coaches are on board with me playing," Hunter said. "I've seen Golden Tate and Jeff Samardzija and I think I can do that, too."

As he looks toward the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 and his trip to San Antonio to play in the Alamodome, there are several aspects he is excited to experience.

However, there is one part of the week he is looking forward to more than any other.

"Just playing against the top competition in the nation again," Hunter said. "It's just The Opening, Part Two."

Hunter will be joined by future Notre Dame teammates Steve Elmer, Jaylon Smith, John Montelus, Doug Randolph, and Corey Robinson in San Antonio.

"I just want to have fun and go out there and play and experience good things with the top players in the nation," Hunter said.



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