Junior to Watch: C.J. Hunnicutt
School: Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee HS
Position: Defensive End
Size and Speed: Hunnicutt is 6-3, weighs 220 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. Hunnicutt also bench presses 335 pounds, squats 455 pounds and clean-and-jerks 310 pounds. He also boasts an impressive 37-inch vertical jump.
Statistics: As a junior, Hunnicutt had 22 sacks, 48 solo tackles and 22 assists. He also blocked 2 punts.
Favorite Schools: Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, LSU, Miami, Iowa, Iowa State among others.
Skinny: Usually when you hear of something wreaking havoc in Bradenton, Fla., it is usually the sign of Mother Earth working her magic in the form of a Hurricane. But as of late there have not been any hurricanes terrorizing the Bradenton area, instead it’s been a Hunnicutt in the form of 6-3, 220-pound Bradenton Manatee defensive end C.J. Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt has been a force on the football field and is making his own news throughout Bradenton and the country.
"He has a great first two steps at defensive end,"" Manatee head coach Howie DeCristofaro said of his explosive lineman. "He understands the game really, really well. He is very strong."
Using his quick speed and strength, Hunnicutt racked up some very impressive numbers at the defensive end position his junior year. Hunnicutt compiled 22 sacks, 48 solo tackles and 22 assists and also blocked two punts which is impressive for a defensive lineman.
When the postseason awards were handed out, Hunnicutt was not left off many lists. The most impressive honor he earned was being named first team All-State in Class 5A. Hunnicutt was also named to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune All-District team, as well as being voted on by the local coaches to their All-District team.
"He is a kid who is going to grow and get bigger," DeCristofaro said. "He is a leader."
His capacity to grow and get bigger is what the college coaches are drooling over. He is getting serious attention from Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, LSU, Miami, Iowa, Iowa State, South Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Auburn. According to DeCristofaro, everyone is praying that Miami doesn’t offer the defensive end.
"He is high on a lot of depth charts," DeCristofaro said. "However, I think if Miami offered him he would sign with them. I think he fits right in with the type of defensive end Miami recruits."
As well as being a talented football player Hunnicutt also plays basketball and is on the weightlifting team. Another appealing fact is that Hunnicutt has already qualified for college with a 2.7 GPA and a qualifying score on the SAT.
"I have coached two different defensive ends at the University of Miami, Kenny Holmes and Brian Stinson, and C.J. has the chance to be better than them," DeCristofaro said. "He is much stronger and faster."