FORT MYERS, Fla. — Derick Hunter, one of the nation’s top defensive linemen, announced a verbal commitment to Florida State in June. However, the Dunbar High School standout continues to be recruited by other schools, including Clemson.
The Clemson Insider stopped by Dunbar on Wednesday as part of our Blue Chip Road Trip and spoke with Hunter, whose special bond with Clemson defensive tackles coach Todd Bates is one of the main factors keeping the Tigers in the mix for his services.
“I talked to him today in school,” Hunter said. “Me and coach Bates have a close relationship. Every time I went up to Clemson… He’s just a genuine dude. That’s one of the coaches that has been honest with me throughout this whole recruiting process. Never pressured me to do anything. Just told me to take my time with everything.
“He’s been there for me since day one, and the talks that we have… I feel like I can talk to him about everything, especially when my grandmother and my grandfather died during the summer. The whole Clemson staff was there for me, he was there for me, and then when his auntie passed, he came straight to me and talked to me about it because I’ve taken a lot of losses in my life and he just wanted to get that knowledge from somebody that has been through that pain before.”
Bates is a unique recruiter in the sense that he often sends poetry, authored by himself, to prospects.
Hunter said the poems he’s received from Bates have made an impact on his life.
“He gives me those poems, and those poems hit the heart because sometimes you need it — it makes your day,” Hunter said. “It really makes my day. I wake up and if I have a poem in the morning, I’ll read it and it gets me motivated. It keeps me going.”
Hunter (6-4, 280) received an offer from Clemson in March. He has made a couple of unofficial visits to Clemson since then and told TCI he is looking to return to campus for a game in the fall.
“Right now, they’re looking at September 1st for me to come up,” Hunter said of the Tigers. “But I think I have a family event that weekend, so I really might go up there Louisville game.”
A few other schools besides Clemson are under consideration by Hunter for a potential visit this season, as well.
“Penn State, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and that’s pretty much it right now,” he said.
As a junior last season, Hunter recorded 54 total tackles including six for loss and a sack. He is the No. 278 overall prospect in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Hunter hails from the same hometown as former Clemson and current Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins.