Player Profile #71 – RB Kendall Hunter

Although their arrivals were separated by more than three decades, Earl Campbell and Kendall Hunter traveled very similar paths in the world of football.

Campbell was the original “Tyler Rose” coming out of the east Texas plains where he was raised under tough circumstances by his mother who held multiple jobs to keep the family together. Hunter was also born in Tyler and was raised by his mother who held multiple jobs to keep Kendall and his family together. Campbell earned All-America status at the University of Texas. Hunter earned All-America status at Oklahoma State University.

Where they differ is physically – Campbell was a freight train at 5-11, 233 pounds. Hunter preps for the 2011 NFL Draft at 5-7, 199 pounds, soaking wet. Yet both were productive on the football field.

Here’s Kendall Hunter’s story.


FAMILY AFFAIRS

Kendall Hunter

Born – September 16, 1988 in Tyler, Texas.

Family – Parents are Freddie and Kenneth Hunter, with a brother and sister. His parents separated when Kendall was a youngster and he was raised by his mother Freddie in Tyler.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 5-feet, 7¼ inches.
  • Weight – 199 pounds.
  • Arm – 31 inches.
  • Hand – 8¾ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.46 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.55 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.52 seconds.
  • Bench press – 24 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 35 inches.
  • Broad jump – 10-feet, 2 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Hunter graduated with the class of 2007 from John Tyler High School, part of the Tyler Independent School District. He played three seasons for the Lions, his sophomore and junior seasons under Dereck rush and in his senior season for Thomas Brooks.

He was an All-State pick after his senior season and was twice voted first-team All District 12-5A. His career rushing total was 2,799 yards with 3,396 all-purpose yards and 32 touchdowns.

He also ran track.

FOOTBALL

2006 – The Lions were 4-7, losing in the state playoffs to Dallas Carter. He ran for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 429 yards.

2005 – Finished 7-4 on the season, losing to Garland in the state playoffs. Hunter ran for 1,056 yards on 102 carries with 12 TDs and he caught three passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He suffered a broken ankle that required surgery with a plate and screws implanted in the joint. He made an amazing rehab to get back on the field for the ’06 season.

RECRUITING

Hunter saw plenty of interest from schools in the Midwest, including TCU, Iowa State, Kansas, Purdue, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State. In December 2006, he picked the Horned Frogs at TCU. But after the holidays, he changed his mind and committed to the Cowboys in January 2007.

COLLEGE

Hunter majored in education at Oklahoma State University.

He earned consensus first-team All-America status in 2010 and also made some All-America teams after the 2008 season. As a senior, he was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as college football best runner and he was second in the voting for Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

In 46 games, Hunter finished as the fourth leading rusher in school history 4,181 yards on 708 carries with 37 rushing TDs and a 5.91-yard per carry average. He also caught 63 passes for 519 yards and 2 TDs. He finished career with 10 fumbles, losing eight of those.

2010 – Hunter started and played in all 13 games, running for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns, plus another 101 yards on 20 catches.

2009 – He played in 8 games with only 2 starts, missing 5 games because of a sprained right ankle injury. Hunter only ran 89 times for 382 yards.

2008 – It was a career season for Hunter, as he led the Big 12 Conference in rushing with 1,555 yards. At 119.6 yards per game, he was the seventh leading rusher in the country. He had nine games with 100 rushing yards or more. He added rushing 14 TD and caught one TD pass. He had 15 runs that went for 20 yards or more, including 68-yard TD run vs. Missouri. His best performance came against Houston, when he ran for 210 yards on 22 carries. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in the time between the end of the regular season and the Holiday Bowl.

2007 – Hunter played in 12 games and averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 107 rushes. In back-to-back games in September he ran for 125 yards against Troy and then 113 against Texas Tech.

Year

G

S

Att.

Yds.

TDs

 

Rec.

Yds.

TD

2010

13

13

271

1,548

16

 

20

101

0

2009

8

2

89

382

1

 

11

83

0

2008

13

12

241

1,555

16

 

22

198

1

2007

12

0

107

696

4

 

10

137

1

Totals

46

27

708

4,181

37

 

63

519

2

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Runs like a back much bigger than his 5-7 size. He’s short, compact but with a strong body. His low center of gravity makes him hard to knock out with a knockout tackle. He’s got a burst with good quickness and agility and is an excellent runner with very good vision and instincts. He shows patience as a runner and can run outside and inside. He will make defenders miss. Wasn’t asked to catch much, but he has soft hands and can handle the blitz pickup. An intelligent young man with a good work ethic, he’s displayed leadership skills.

Weaknesses – Durability will always be the question for Hunter, as he dealt with injury issues in his junior season that cost him five games, and he was limited in three others. While he can make defenders miss, he’s not really elusive or shifty in open field and will take some hits. Just average as a blocker and will have to improve that part of his game. Sometimes dances too much when his first step is stopped by the defense. He’s very limited in production on the goal line or short yardage because he can’t move the pile. More quick than fast, he has no long speed, so he seldom breaks long runs.

Analysis – Kendall Hunter is a younger version of Darren Sproles. Actually Hunter is an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier. If used properly and he stays healthy, Hunter can be a dynamic offensive threat because of his ability to run outside the tackles, and get off yardage just as well inside the tackles. He’ll never be a featured back, but he could be an offensive-special teams force.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

An NFC scout said – “Good player who can help a bunch of teams. He’s not an every down kind of guy, but I think he’s the best of the small backs that are everywhere these days. He’s a better all-around player than (Dexter) McCluster.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“Yes, it’s an advantage (to be short). You can run under people, set up your blocks, because the linebackers really can’t see you all the time. You can just be patient and cut off the block.”

Here’s a portion of his press conference at the NFL Combine:  Kendall Hunter

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy – “When good things happen to people that are trying to do the right thing, it’s really satisfying for us as a coaching staff. He really kind of stands for what we think is the ideal student-athlete.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

If there was no Dexter McCluster already on the roster and the No. 1 back wasn’t Jamaal Charles, then Hunter would probably be a serious consideration for Pioli/Haley. But all of that goes into the evaluation of Hunter and whether it makes sense to select him. The way the chips fall, it doesn’t seem likely that Hunter is on any Chiefs wish list.

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