Torii Hunter Jr. has visited Notre Dame three times over the last several months, but on Thursday night the Irish wide receiver pledge played host as Notre Dame assistant Kerry Cooks made an in-home visit.
“It was pretty fun,” the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder from Prosper, Texas said.
“We sat around and talked; just me, my mom, my dad and Coach Cooks. My brother came in at the end. It was really casual. It wasn’t too uptight. We talked about football for a little bit and then after that, it was my dad talking.”
Hunter’s father, who recently signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Tigers, is known for his gift of gab, but Cooks had plenty to say as well.
“They kind of know the same people, so they just reminisced about old times,” Hunter Jr. said. “It was pretty funny to hear them tell stories and we just all kind of joked around and stuff.”
The overall feeling of the visit only reinforced the decision Hunter made to choose Notre Dame over other schools like Nebraska, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Arizona among others.
“I really feel like I picked the right place,” he said. “I don’t have to feel awkward around my coach. I can be comfortable around him and just be myself.
“It really does show that they care about me and they really think highly of me; that’s the vibe I got out of it.”
Hunter will be seeing members of the Irish staff multiple times after the new year.
“I think they’re coming down the second or third week of January,” he said. “They’re coming down to watch the All-American game and then I think they’ll be back some time that week of Jan. 14th (with head coach Brian Kelly).”
Hunter is excited to be a part of January’s Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
“That should be pretty fun,” he said. “I’ll get to go up against the top talent in the nation just like The Opening.”
Hunter earned MVP honors at The Opening in Oregon this summer, but isn’t feeling any pressure to back up that performance this winter.
“Not really,” he said. “I just I’ll go out there and play my game.”
He’s been impressed with how much Notre Dame has accomplished so soon on the field this season, reaching the BCS National Championship Game.
“That’s big,” he said. “For them to be as young as they are and be as successful as they are this year, it just shows that everybody on that team has their mind right and that everybody is on the same page. I’m glad I have that and that’s what I was looking for.”
Hunter took his official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan game and it’s unlikely he’ll be able to join many of his fellow commits at the team banquet this weekend.
“I can’t miss school because I’m taking college classes.”