And now, a brief history of Andre Hunt's brief-but-buzzy eight months on campus in Lincoln.
The buzz started to build for the wide receiver in the middle of August. Because the escalating excitement for football is particularly virulent that time of year, a 10-second video from the BTN crew’s annual visit to fall camp may have been patient zero here.
In that clip, from Dave Revsine, true freshman Hunt made a nice touchdown catch against starting cornerback Lamar Jackson on a slick touch pass from fellow true freshman Adrian Martinez.
Martinez TD pass in Red Zone drill pic.twitter.com/jSXvHUWS2Z
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 18, 2018
It set hearts and minds a racin'. Freshman-to-freshman, a touchdown combo for the future. It wasn't all just fall camp folly, either. Four days after that catch, offensive coordinator Troy Walters officially entered Hunt's name in the players-to-watch race and said he had a chance to play in 2018.
“He knows how to run,” Walters said on Aug. 22. “He’s a good route runner, that’s what really drew us to him. He knows the details of route running and how to get open and he has some speed, so he can create separation from the corner. Those things allow him to be successful.”
Perhaps Hunt's quick rise up the ranks after a few weeks of fall camp wasn't surprising. He was committed to USC at one point and the Trojans tend to have their pick of wide receivers in recruiting, particularly California receivers. When Hunt moved on from USC, or USC moved on from him, Walters went after him hard. He was a guy Nebraska, and Walters, clearly wanted and after three weeks of fall camp he was making a case.
Hunt made his debut against Troy. He played against Bethune-Cookman. But that was it for 2018. Heading into the Illinois game, Walters effectively flipped Hunt's storefront sign to "Back in Four Months," saying he "probably needs another year, another offseason of just getting stronger in the weight room, learning the offense where he can go out and be more consistent." (He said virtually the same thing about junior college transfer Jaron Woodyard that day, too.)
Four months on, Hunt appears to have picked up where he left off in fall camp. Walters mentioned him last week. Scott Frost did too, calling him "super talented" but also mentioning a need for consistency.
Then, on Monday, Walters mentioned Hunt again. “He's probably the most consistent pass catcher that's been out there."
More camp chatter or is Hunt making the turn? Even without knowing the answer, that's enough to make him the second player on the Spring Game Short List.
Nebraska needs a reliable pass catcher or two to emerge outside of JD Spielman. It's vital if the Huskers are to progress in Year 2. And to be fair, Woodyard has been mentioned often this spring as well.
On Saturday, we might get our first extended look at each of those guys. At least one needs to emerge by the time next fall rolls around.
The Grab Bag
- Speaking of reliable pass catchers, don’t forget about Jack Stoll in this conversation.
- Walk-on Moses Bryant is moving from the defensive backfield to the offensive backfield.
- OL coach Greg Austin said no positions are locked up at this point, but he’s seeing progress from the Huskers up front.
- Infielder Cam Chick earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.