There was lots of talk about Devon Hunter entering fall camp and while he appears to be living up to the hype, Reggie Floyd is expected to be the starting rover after another great camp performance. While Floyd definitely earned the job, Hunter has dealt with some injury issues that may cause him to have a smaller defensive role early in the season.
“Devon (Hunter) is probably a little bit behind schedule right now. He had a little bit of a concussion issue early and sat out our first two scrimmages, which was unfortunate. You’d like to see him take the next step so actually, tomorrow will be a big tell-tale sign… if he’s quite ready to go compete.”
“I’ve been pleased with Devon’s (Hunter) development. You know we’d like to be sooner than later but that’s all a part of it. There’s a good battle there, there’s just some good competition at that spot.” – Bud Foster on Devon Hunter
According to Bud Foster, Devon Hunter had a “concussion issue” at the beginning of fall camp, causing him to miss the first 2 scrimmages. However, Hunter is healthy again and should be able to get more involved in Bud Foster’s defense and push for a role in some sub-packages.
While it’s difficult seeing Hunter taking the rover job from Reggie Floyd at this point, Hunter should push Floyd throughout the season with this duo emerging as the starting safety pair in the future whether that’s in 2018 or 2019 depending on what Terrell Edmunds decides to do after this season.
There is no chance of Hunter redshirting this fall as Justin Fuente has stressed throughout fall camp that Hunter will play some on special teams this season. However, Hunter’s concussion issue likely has hurt some of his defensive playing time hopes given simply by how he missed out on many reps early in camp when the focus is more on scheme implementation.
While Devon Hunter is having to do some catching up, he does have the ability to do so because of his physical tools and his football IQ.
Hunter has the size you want in a collegiate safety at 6 feet and 216 pounds. Hunter also has the range and athleticism to be useful right around the line of scrimmage and as a center fielder in coverage.
Beyond being a great athlete, Hunter has a high football IQ for a true freshman that showed on his high school highlight tape with some of the instinctual plays he made along with his ability to operate in coverage and keep his eyes on the QB.
This combination of athleticism and football IQ will make Hunter a star and someone who Bud Foster won’t be able to keep off the field this fall. Now Hunter’s concussion issue will prevent from having as large of a role early in the season as Foster may have been hoping for or expecting. By mid-season though, don’t be surprised to see Hunter have a semi-regular role on defense in sub-packages in addition to his special teams responsibilities.
Devon Hunter has been slowed down by the concussion issue he had at the beginning of fall camp during a time when the primary focus was scheme implementation. However, Hunter still had a very bright future as a future defensive star that should gain a larger defensive role as the season goes along due to his great athleticism and above-average football IQ.