by J.T. Hunter
Photo courtesy of Georgia State Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Georgia State, Linebacker/Safety, Jontrey Hunter
Name - Jontrey Hunter
Pos - LB-S
Team - Georgia State
HT/WT - 6’2” 240 lbs.
Home – Tampa, FL
Jontrey Hunter was a standout at Sickles High School in Tampa, Florida. He was used at several positions on offense and defense during his career. He was named to the All-Hillsboro team by the Tampa Bay Times, which rated him among the top 100 prospects in the Tampa area in its preseason rankings. He was rated a 2-star prospect by Rivals and eventually committed to Georgia State.
As a true freshman in 2018, he played in 11 games off the bench for the Panthers and tallied 9 tackles. He redshirted in 2019 after only playing in the last game of the season, the Arizona Bowl against Wyoming, making 1 tackle.
Hunter capped off a great season in 2020 by being named the Defensive Player of the Game in Georgia State’s Lending Tree Bowl victory over Western Kentucky. On the season, he started 9 games at linebacker and collected 33 tackles, 1 sack and 1 interception. Hunter showed in 2021 that he keeps improving from season to season. He started 10 games at linebacker and had 40 tackles, 7.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks for the Panthers.
As a senior in 2022, Hunter started to dominate and had to be accounted for on the Panthers defense. He started 10 games and finished with 55 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. He decided to use his extra year of eligibility and come back to school for the 2023 season. He was asked to move to inside linebacker and added 15 lbs to do so. The decision paid off for him and he had a huge season for the Panthers. He started 12 games and collected 96 tackles, 7 TFL and 1.5 sacks.
Jontrey Hunter is an athletic linebacker who has a quick burst off the snap and can attack blockers before they can get set up. When playing outside linebacker he was able to fluidly drop back into coverage and did a quality job of mirroring the tight end or receiver out of the backfield. He is a physical tackler who breaks down well and drives through the ball carrier. When chasing the ball he has exceptional closing speed and with his non stop work ethic, he is never out of a play. He uses his instincts well and is very decisive in the way he attacks the runner.
He is what many experts call a “hybrid” type player. He has been used at outside linebacker and inside linebacker and many see him being able to play safety (which he played in high school). In coverage he does not recognize routes effectively and is slow to respond. He gets caught with his eyes in the backfield occasionally and is late to his coverage assignment. He has the “tweener” feel to him and isn’t quite big enough to play in the middle and his speed is below average to play on the back end. His aggressiveness gets him in trouble from time to time, he will overplay a run on the edge and lose his angles in pursuit. Teams will question his competition level at college and want to see him perform against bigger and faster athletes. The combine and all-star games can go a long way to helping his draft stock.
Jayron Kearse is a good pro comparison to what Jontrey Hunter can become. Kearse was a 7th round draft pick out of Clemson in 2016. Kearse is taller than Hunter but they share a lot of the same attributes that make them a “hybrid” player. Kearse has had a wonderful career between Minnesota, Detroit and now Dallas. He can be counted on to make a tackle and can line up all over the defense. Hunter has the capability of becoming the same.
Recognition of routes
Jontrey Hunter is a unique prospect who can be used in several different formations and positions. The “hybrid” defensive position is becoming a part of the game and gives the defensive coordinators a lot of different options and packages to use. Hunter is on the raw side but has some ceiling, and could be a diamond in the rough later in the draft.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 6th or 7th round