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Devon Hunter is a star in the making for the Hokies. [Credit: Evan Morrison][/caption]The Virginia Tech Hokies had a huge weekend on the recruiting trail and it all started with what was one of the biggest commits in the past several years for Virginia Tech as four-star 757 safety Devon Hunter announced that he had committed to Virginia Tech on Friday night. The Hokies have made Hunter their number 1 priority in the Class of 2017 for years now with last Friday's commitment being the big moment that they've been waiting for.
Hunter now is the face of the best recruiting class in years for Virginia Tech that should only get stronger as National Signing Day approaches and has seen the Hokies do better at keeping the top recruits in Virginia. Hunter also is now a player who could start on a defense that is loaded going into 2017 and has a spot open at safety that would fit perfectly for Hunter.
To start, Devon Hunter is one of the best athletes that Bud Foster likely has gotten to work with over the past years with ideal size for a safety at 6'1'' and just over 200 pounds. Hunter has the size that you want and the frame to grow even stronger while also having that combination of great athleticism that will give plenty of opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers nightmares.
Hunter was the fastest guy on the field almost always in high school and is legitimately fast as someone that can close down quite quickly to breakup a pass or lay the boom on an opponent. Hunter's great athleticism makes him someone who can get somewhere in a hurry while also being able to make up for some mistakes he may make defensively because of his great speed.
Hunter isn't afraid of contact and getting into the box to make plays as someone who does a great job of getting down the field quickly to help close out an opposing running back. Hunter has proven that not only can he make things happen in pass coverage but that he can work out of the box as an extra safety and either drop into coverage quickly or find the running back and shut down any potential for a big running play.
Hunter's defensive awareness and football IQ is quite good as someone who does a great job in pass coverage of keeping his eyes on the backfield and keeping track of the quarterback. Hunter's defensive awareness is impressive for a player of his edge and his defensive IQ is quite high for a high school football player while he proves that he can make the steady pass breakups that you want from a free safety being used to prevent the big play over the top.
On top of that, Hunter is quite good at getting out of the box and dropping into coverage along with using his eyes to follow a quarterback that's scrambling to put himself in the best possible position to make a play. Hunter knows how to play in space and has the football IQ to put himself in great positions to make big plays.
One thing with Hunter is that he is not very proven in man coverage and with Bud Foster being apt to use his safeties in man coverage somewhat often, Hunter will have to get better. However, Hunter definitely has the athleticism to develop in man coverage and not be a liability while working with Bud Foster should help him with that.
Another thing for Hunter is that Foster's defense is looking to use more zone coverage to also help deal with mobile quarterbacks and Hunter has the football IQ and defensive awareness to be very effective in zone coverage early on in his career whether he is the one deep safety in cover 1 or if the Hokies use zone all across the field.
The biggest question surrounding Hunter is whether he can start as a true freshman for the Hokies? While Hunter is an elite talent that will be starting by 2018, not being here in the spring doesn't help those odds as being here early would make it very likely that Hunter would be starting as a freshman for the Hokies. The Hokies also have the ability to move Mook Reynolds to free safety to replace Chuck Clark and start Anthony Shegog at whip linebacker next fall after Shegog had a breakout performance in the Belk Bowl.
However, Hunter has the talent to start as a freshman and his above-average defensive IQ and awareness gives him a great chance to do that. Foster hasn't been afraid to play true freshman at safety with Adonis Alexander being the latest example and while Alexander did arrive early, Hunter is already at a very high talent level and will absolutely play as a freshman with the potential to be a Freshman All-American.
The one thing for Hunter may be that he may not be able to be the same leader as Chuck Clark in the heart of the defensive backfield given his youth but having Terrell Edmunds should help with that along with having a trio of experienced cornerbacks with two seniors in Greg Stroman and Brandon Facyson plus a junior in Adonis Alexander.
Down the road, Devon Hunter has all the makings of a future star in Virginia Tech's defensive backfield that can definitely be a regular All-ACC performer and an All-American. Hunter is a home run get for the Hokies and no one should be surprised if the four-star safety from the 757 ends up starting at FedEx Field against West Virginia at free safety or even rover or a nickelwhip role as someone that has shown he can make plays in the box.
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