Travis Hunter Jr. is the most interesting case study in college football this fall. Not only is Colorado going to be must-watch T.V. with Deion Sanders at the helm, win or lose, but his star wide receiver is also his star cornerback.
Hunter is a full-time, two-way player— and might be the only one on the Power Five level. Certainly with his amount of playing time. He rarely came off of the field at Jackson State last season, and that is set to be the case again in Boulder.
Balancing both positions poses an interesting challenge.
Hunter, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022, will be a sophomore this fall. After all signs pointed toward him playing college football at Florida State or Georgia, he shocked the world by flipping to play for Coach Prime at an FCS program on National Signing Day.
A large part of Hunter’s decision to play for the Tigers was his desire, and ability, to play both offense and defense. The Seminoles and Bulldogs were primarily interested in him as a defensive back.
Hunter wanted to do both, so he joined Sanders in Mississippi to do exactly that, and did. Although an injury kept him off of the field for a good chunk of the season, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound freshman caught 18 passes for 190 yards and four scores.
He also made 19 total tackles (15 solo) with two interceptions and a pick-six.
As soon as Sanders left Jackson State for Colorado, Travis Hunter Jr. followed. The move out West put him in a very exclusive club.
Hunter’s athleticism is next level, so he will fit in just fine on the FBS level. Sanders has said before that Hunter can be a First Round NFL Draft pick at either position.
That doesn’t mean that there will be not be a transitionary period from high school and the FCS. Especially considering that he missed a large chunk of his first year, and has to balance time at both positions.
Travis Hunter Jr. started the year focusing on receiver.
After getting to Boulder, Sanders put an emphasis on getting Hunter up to speed as a receiver. Coach Prime even got his friend, and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens in the mix.
Offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, who left his role as the head coach of Kent State to take the job on Sanders’ staff, runs a different offense than the one Jackson State ran last season. Thus, Hunter had to learn a new system while also trying to perfect his craft and spent the majority of the spring as a receiver.
He needs to learn everything about being a receiver because he’s a natural DB. He has to learn the signals, he has to understand the route movement, arms staying in tight to his body, the shoulders over his knees. Travis has to learn everything about being a receiver— checks and everything. He’s focusing a lot on receiver right now and we’re happy with his progress.
— Deion Sanders
Sure enough, Hunter scored the first touchdown of the Buffaloes’ spring game.
With his first semester at Colorado behind him, the focus has shifted.
Travis Hunter Jr. is working at defensive back.
Hunter is more comfortable at receiver than he was just six months ago, so it’s time to go to work on the defensive side of the ball. He was putting in work over Memorial Day weekend and, although it was just an offseason workout, looked shifty and explosive.
Watching Hunter and the Buffaloes is going to be a lot of fun this fall. There is no one else in college football who is doing what the former No. 1 overall recruit is set to do in on offense and defense for Colorado.