The speculation is over, not that there was really any doubt. It’s official that Omar Hunter is a commitment for the Florida Gators. The Under Armour All-American defensive tackle, a 6-0, 315-pounder with quick feet and extraordinary power, has committed to Coach Urban Meyer and his staff, adding one more jewel to a fast-closing recruiting class that is shaping up as one of the two or three best in the entire nation.
Formerly a Notre Dame commitment, Hunter de-committed Notre Dame in December and honed in on the Florida Gators. He was probably 99.9 percent certain what he was going to do when he visited the campus in Gainesville officially over the weekend, but by the time the weekend was over, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind.
Hunter says there were a variety of considerations that factored into his choice of the Gators, one of which is Florida never stopped recruiting him and letting him know he was the top defensive tackle prospect on the board even after he committed to the Fighting Irish.
“I chose them because they were there from day one,” said Hunter. “They never stopped and they always said they will be there. It is closer to home and my parents can come see me more and the coaches are unbelievable. Their 4-3 defense is fast and up-tempo and I love it like that. It is definitely a defense I know I can do well at.”
The distance element had plenty to do with Notre Dame falling off his map. Gainesville is certainly more accessible to his home in Buford, Georgia than South Bend, Indiana. Once his parents got to Gainesville, they fell in love with the place, too.
“They loved it,” Hunter said. “My mom is wearing a Gator sweatshirt right now, she loved it. My dad loved it, they loved Coach Meyer the most, they saw Coach (Greg) Mattison, too, and loved both of those guys.”
Hunter has the ability to dominate in the middle of the defensive line. It is expected that he and redshirt freshman John Brown of Lakeland will form a lethal 1-2 punch in the middle for the Gators for the next few years.
With his quickness, power and ability to pursue the ball, it’s not surprising who Hunter is often compared to.
“I have the size and the strength to create havoc up the middle,” he said. “I also have speed and power. I think I am a good run stopper. I am quick off the ball and explosive. My coach says I am quick like Warren Sapp and powerful also.”
Coach Jess Simpson thinks that Hunter is a great player but an even better person.
“Omar is one of the best players we have had come through Buford High School,” Simpson said. “He is probably a better person than a player. He has so much humility and is a great teammate. He is a very unselfish kid and is a whole lot of fun to coach.”
Simpson sees Hunter as a player that can be a dominator at the college level.
“He is that explosive defensive tackle can really burst and can really run,” Simpson said. “It is unnatural to see a guy with those things. I just think he is going to be a heck of a football player at the next level.”
Hunter is the 22nd commitment for Florida’s recruiting class of 2008. He is also the second player from Buford. Hunter’s teammate and best friend T.J. Pridemore, who is capable of playing fullback or linebacker, committed to the Gators just a little over a week ago.