Westerville (Ohio) Central defensive end Dontay Hunter could turn into the subject of a classic Big Ten recruiting battle.
The Columbus-area standout is a 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect with more than a dozen offers, and he took back-to-back visits to Ohio State and Michigan on March 28 and 29. Although neither the Buckeyes nor Wolverines have offered the defensive end yet, Hunter said both schools indicated to him that he could receive an offer on a subsequent visit to the respective campuses.
With major offers under his belt from Pitt (his most recent), Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, and Rutgers, Hunter already has a number of options. The two Big Ten powerhouses could be worth waiting for, however.
“I liked Ohio State. But then again, Michigan is a great school as well. I know they’re rivals, but it might be hard to pick between Ohio State and Michigan,” said Hunter, a 3-star strongside defensive end on the 247Sports composite. “I might wait for it, I don’t even know. It would be really hard. I would love to go to Ohio State, absolutely love it.”
Hunter grew up in central Ohio closely following the Buckeyes, and as he’s grown older, Ohio State has reciprocated that interest. The Westerville Central standout watched Ohio State’s March 28 spring practice and spent time after it meeting with multiple assistant coaches, including defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The hometown appeal of the school would be strong for Hunter.
“Ohio State can offer me the experience to be back at home and still be with my family as I’m playing at the collegiate level,” Hunter explained. “I have my parents as support just 15 minutes down the street if I need them – I wouldn’t have to drive three hours to go see them or vice versa.
“I spent a lot of time with the Ohio State coaches. They absolutely love me as well. They want to keep me here because they know that I’m right down the street. They love my film and I’m pretty sure I’m very close to an offer from Ohio State. That’s another situation where they’ll want [him] to camp before they offer.”
Just because the Buckeyes are the hometown team doesn’t mean that they have a monopoly on his interest. He had some eye-opening comments about his visit to Michigan – a perfect experience that left him seemingly ready to sign on with the Wolverines if and when they offer.
“It was probably the best visit I’ve been on so far. Michigan is just a dream school for me. I love the facilities that they have, I love the uniforms, I love everything about them,” Hunter said. “The coaches, they brought me right in like I was family. Everything was just perfect about Michigan, words can’t even explain.
“Coach [Greg] Mattison said they really love me and they just want to be able to coach me one time for one practice. At the camp, they’re going to offer me. That’s essentially what’s going to happen. If they offer, I’m committing.”
Michigan can offer Hunter what he views as the perfect fit at the college level, both on and off the field. The scheme seems to accentuate what Hunter brings to the table as a prospect, and he’d be happy to line up in any number of positions for Jim Harbaugh’s program.
“I got to talk with Rashan Gary and Donovan Peoples-Jones also. I fit in perfectly with that team. Their defensive scheme – it just fits me perfectly. Academically and athletically, it’s perfect. Academically, they’re one of the top schools in the nation for what I want to major in – which is business management, sports management or medicine,” Hunter detailed. “Athletically, I can either come in and play defensive end or play linebacker or tight end or receiver. I can do it all in their offense or their defense with how they’re set up.”
The state of Ohio has a loaded defensive line group in the 2019 class, and Hunter will be competing with some elite prospects for an offer from either school. Three Ohio defensive linemen – Zach Harrison, Noah Potter and Jowon Briggs – hold offers from both schools. Three others – Gabe Newburg, Rodas Johnson and DeWayne Carter – have been offered by Michigan. Other players, such as Isaiah Gibson, Steven Faucheux, Karter Johnson and Spencer Bono, have landed more than a half-dozen Power 5 offers.
To be frank, Hunter doesn’t really care about any of them. He leaves no room for quibbling about rankings or anything else and doesn’t mince words about how he feels he stacks up.
“I don’t compare – I’m the best in the state. I can give teams more with my body type and my brain. I’m just a hybrid. You don’t see a lot of the these. You don’t really see me a lot,” Hunter said. “A lot of defensive ends, they’re just defensive ends and that’s all they can do. But I can play skill positions or I can be in the trenches, it doesn’t really matter. That’s what separates me.”
Hunter is ranked as the No. 509 prospect nationally, the No. 36 defensive end, and the No. 19 prospect in Ohio in the 2019 class on the 247Sports composite rankings. He’ll take visits to Toledo, Pittsburgh and Indiana in the coming weeks.