Derick Hunter has a lot riding on his college decision. The four-star defensive lineman from Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar knows that choosing where to continue his academic and football career is a life-changing decision that will directly impact his future.
Hunter says he remains committed to Florida State, the school he gave a verbal commitment to in June. But he is still going through the recruiting process and has a lot to think about, as he continues to be pursued by several other major programs, including Clemson.
The Clemson Insider visited Dunbar on Wednesday and spoke with Hunter, who really opened up about his recruitment and the struggles of making a decision that will determine his future path.
“I’m committed to Florida State,” Hunter said. “Like I tell everybody, man, all I can do is pray. I don’t owe nobody nothing in life. Like I said, I’ve got a family I’ve got to take care of, and at the end of the day, I don’t owe nobody nothing. This decision’s going to be the best decision I’ve ever made for me in my life, and I’ve got to be a man.
“It’s all business at the end of the day. I’ve got people I’ve got to take care of, people I’ve got to feed. It’s just business, man, so all I can do is pray about it. That’s all I can do.”
Hunter (6-4, 285) has dedicated his whole life to the game of football and grown to become one of the best prospects in the country at his position.
For Hunter, who comes from a less fortunate environment, football is his best shot at a better life.
“We dogs, man. That’s all we got,” Hunter said of football. “Some kids, they wake up in the morning… Like me, I wake up, I look straight across to practice. It’s right there. So, it means a lot to us, you know. This is really all we got.
“Some kids are bright in the head and can go further on with the education part. Some can do both at the same time. But that ball comes in your hand as a little kid, you fall in love with it. It changes everybody’s heart, especially in Florida.”
It is easy for fans to sit on their sofas and judge a prospect. In this day and age of technology and social media, it is all too common for fans to criticize and attack recruits when they don’t like their college choices.
Fans want what’s best for their favorite team, but many fail to realize what people like Hunter are going through as they try to make the decisions that are best for themselves and their families.
“Some people just don’t understand,” Hunter said of the haters. “Like I said, when you come from nothing, this means something. This can change your life completely. Just one decision can change your life completely.”
The process has been especially difficult for Hunter, who doesn’t have a big support system to lean on. He is thankful that his head coach at Dunbar, Sam Brown, has stepped in to help and serve as a father figure and mentor.
“I mean it’s hard, especially when you come from nothing, just to go through this process and not really have a guidance,” Hunter said. “I can really thank coach Brown for being with me throughout this whole process. I mean since day one he’s had my back with everything in life — everything. Even if I didn’t have a meal at night, he was there for me.
“I can see with some of my teammates… he treats all of us like brothers. We’re all like his children, and we all can really depend on him.”
There are times in the past where Hunter has had to worry about where the next meal is coming from for him and his family.
Fortunately for Hunter, things will get better after signing day.
“It’s going to be the best day of my life,” he said. “I wake up in the morning, I think about it every single day — the goods, the bads. But man, that’s going to be the best decision of my life because I can actually sit back and think like man, I don’t have to think of the times when we didn’t have anything to eat. I can go out their on the road, I can send some money on to my people, I can do this type of stuff so I can actually take care of my family and also take care of me at the same time and push myself to the next level to get better.”