Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2013.
There were 13 this year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a nimble speedster looking to put a gruesome injury behind him and crack the receiving rotation.
WR, Torii Hunter Jr.
Hometown: Prosper, Texas
247Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
4-star, No. 28 WR, No. 30 TX, No. 205 USA, 0.9156 score
Need at Position: Low-to-mild
Expected Spot on the 2014 Depth Chart: Backup with decent snaps
Here's what I said about Hunter following last year's National Signing Day:
Hunter's broken femur knocked his grade down a couple points but if he comes back completely healthy there's little doubt he's the top receiver in this class. I really love his speed and athletic ability. He strikes me as the type of player who will be 6'1" add some weight to get around 190 pounds and be a huge weapon in the slot.
Hunter looks really comfortable with the ball in his hands, and his ability to accelerate out of cuts is really impressive. I'm excited to see him come back from his injury. A redshirt is probably a good idea even if he does get healthy by this summer.
This RtR post might have been written differently if we started on the offensive side of the ball instead of defense and didn't have the benefit of the majority of spring practice to lean on. Following the 2013 season there were whispers that Hunter was blowing people away in practice and was primed for a major breakout season in 2014. Now that we've been able to look at the receiver rotation this spring I think it's completely fine to try and see the big picture, take a step back, and perhaps realize Hunter might not explode on the scene this fall.
That's not to say that he won't have an impact. There was a time when it was uncertain if Hunter was ever going to come back from his serious leg injury. We might have gotten carried away a couple months ago thinking Hunter was going to explode this spring but let's keep in perspective that even having a small role in 2014 is a big step forward after a broken femur.
Let's also remember that Hunter was the most highly rated Irish receiver from his class, a U.S. Army All-American, and a fairly polished receiver from a good league who highly impressed at all-star camps. He's clearly working behind the more college experienced Will Fuller and Corey Robinson from his class right now but that's okay.
Hunter's one of the 4 or 5 players I'm most curious to watch in the Blue-Gold game next weekend. I really liked his skill-set coming out of high school, most of all his explosion and initial quickness, and I'll be taking a good hard look at his other receiving skills.