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DE Derick Hunter attending Florida spring game
Top-200 overall recruit Derick Hunter plans to visit the Gators this weekend for the fourth time in six weeks.
The 4-star defensive end from Dunbar High School (Fort Myers, Fla.) attended Florida’s junior day in late February and has visited twice this spring, most recently last weekend.
Florida State and Miami were both trying to get Hunter at their spring games this Saturday, but he has decided to return to Gainesville for the Orange & Blue Game.
“I can’t miss that,” said Hunter, who is ranked No. 190 nationally in the 247Sports composite. “I just want to see the fan base come together. I’ve been seeing how it looks in practice throughout the spring, so I want to see the Gators come alive again and I want the fans to get a good glimpse of it. Last year was a little downfall, but it’s time for a major comeback.”
Hunter has a lot of confidence in the direction of the Florida program under first-year coach Dan Mullen and his staff. The nation’s No. 14 strongside defensive end watched the opening weekend of spring ball in mid-March and saw improvement from the team in its second scrimmage.
“They are making major progressions,” Hunter said. “Everything is moving fast and all the pieces are falling into place. It looks like it’s back to the old days, which is what everybody wants it to be like. … It felt good just being around everyone on the team and some of the other top recruits.”
Florida assistant Sal Sunseri made a strong impression on Hunter during the first practice he saw this spring, and the veteran defensive line coach wowed him once again last Saturday.
“It’s amazing just to see what he’s doing for these boys and how much they’re developing,” Hunter said of Sunseri. “I could actually see that in the scrimmage instead of talking about it over the phone or in the film room. He’s a man of his word and lately he’s been showing up with it.
“In the scrimmage, I saw him talking to his players and going over their corrections. Just what they can improve on the next play and how they can make plays, which was huge. Right after they got done talking, they went out there and did exactly what he told them to do.”
Announcement coming for ‘Dirty D’
Hunter had a film session with Sunseri after Florida’s scrimmage and enjoyed soaking up more knowledge from his potential position coach in college.
Sunseri serves as the primary recruiter for Hunter and they’ve formed a close bond. ‘Rambo’ is the nickname Hunter goes by on Twitter, but Sunseri has his own catchphrase for the 6-foot-4, 276-pound pass rusher.
“He calls me Dirty D,” Hunter said. “Every time we’re watching film, he says, “Did you see that Dirty?” We were just in there going over film with each other the whole time. We’ve just built a relationship that’s probably unbreakable right now.
“The first time he laid eyes on me it was like love at first sight. He’s one of the funniest coaches I’ve ever been around. He makes everybody laugh and have a good time around him. The whole D-line loves being around him.”
Hunter also has a tight relationship with Mullen, who contacts him on a weekly basis. There’s comfort level between the two of them and Hunter said they were cracking jokes during his last trip.
“We talk all the time. I talk to him every few days and we play around with each other. Now we just have that relationship,” Hunter said of Mullen. “We don’t need 1-on-1 time where he tells me, ‘This is what it takes to be a Florida Gator.’ I know what it takes to be a Florida Gator. Coach Mullen is always juiced up about football and that’s how I am.”
Hunter plans to visit Clemson on April 19 and attend Georgia’s spring game April 21. He will then make an announcement the following week.
The Gators are considered the team to beat in his recruitment at this time, but the Bulldogs, Hurricanes and others have been making a push for his pledge.
“Everything is tight right now,” Hunter said. “I have an announcement coming up on April 25. That is my mother’s birthday. She passed away on April 21 and I didn’t want to announce anything that day because I will have a lot going on. I just want to celebrate her birthday, so I’ll drop the announcement on April 25.”
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