Tennessee hosted junior college standout defensive lineman Derrick Hunter Jr. on Saturday night for a visit. The Hinds C.C. and former Texas A&M defender discussed his thoughts on his gameday visit to Rocky Top.
“It was amazing,” Hunter said following the game. “It was great hospitality by everybody around here, from the staff to the fans. It was electrifying. I didn’t think it was going to be like this; it was everything I needed to see. We played here in 2020 when I was at Texas A&M, but it was the COVID year, so there wasn’t fans or anything, but to have everybody pack out the house was good.”
For Hunter, it was also an opportunity to connect with the Tennessee coaches in person after Saturday night’s win.
“I talked with Coach G and Coach H some, and I am going to come back and talk to them in the morning and sit down with them and have some more one-on-one conversations with them,” Hunter said of his time with the Tennessee coaches. “Everyone was excited for the win and having fun. Spent time with some of the players, Omari Thomas is my boy, and he had a good game. It is good to see him ball out for sure”
Hunter came away impressed with Tennessee’s defensive line, which was lights out against Kentucky on Saturday night.
“Just the aggression,” Hunter said of what stood out to him about the defensive line during the course of the game. “Creating a new line of scrimmage every single time. That was the main factor in the game. The rushing yards explained it. They barely had enough rushing yards. The defensive line got after it tonight, and I give them props for it.”
Hunter has been through the process once already, so he knows what he is looking for in a school. One thing that stood out to him about Tennessee on Saturday was the camaraderie in the locker room.
“The brotherhood in the locker room,” Hunter said of this. “Everybody was together after the win. Everybody was one. There wasn’t groups where everybody split up, even with the coaching staff, even with the head guy himself. He is a player’s coach. Not everybody is going to be a player’s coach. That is the type of environment I want to be a part of. That is what I call a family.”
Hunter’s relationship with the Tennessee staff dates back to his high school days, so he has always viewed the Vols as a contender in this recruitment, but Saturday night solidified things on that front.
“Tennessee has always been a contender,” Hunter said of this. “Probably the top, I don’t know. Coach G has been real with me since day one, so I am always going to keep them in the loop. Coach H and me have a relationship from when he was back at UCF, and he recruited me coming out of high school. When they hit me up the first time, there wasn’t a hesitation to put them on the list. Tonight definitely solidified them. They were already up there, but just everybody around here is genuine. You are not going to get that many places. I really don’t have a leader right now, but if I did, they would definitely be in the conversation.”
Hunter wants to make a decision sometime in December before he signs with a school and enrolls in January.
“December,” he said of the decision timeline. “I just want to finish out academically. My football season is over, so I just want to take some more trips and keep cutting people off the list. Go through depth charts and all of that. But, December after I am done taking my official visits.”
Tennessee will get an official visit in December. Hunter will also visit Texas in two weeks and Mississippi State in the near future. He is unsure of anywhere else that will currently get an official at this time.