Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Stressful recruiting journey finally over for Hunter Lee
As national signing day approached, Flower Mound running back Hunter Lee waited for the call. Even after signing day, when other star football players had locked up their schools, Lee kept thinking it was going to happen.
“The entire time,” Lee said, “I thought I was going to get a call from some big, cool school.”
It never happened. Despite a senior season in which Lee averaged more than 100 yards rushing per game, scored 38 touchdowns and caught more passes than any other player in the Dallas area, powerhouse schools never lit up his cell phone.
On Saturday, with relief instead of fanfare, Lee made his decision to walk on at Louisiana Tech, the Western Athletic Conference school in Ruston, La. He’ll be playing for Sonny Dykes, the second-year head coach at Tech who previously was an offensive coordinator for the spread attacks at Texas Tech and Arizona.
Lee (5-11, 190), who can bench press 280 pounds and squat 520, is already stronger than most college running backs. His physical maturity and versatility could earn him playing time, and a scholarship, in the fall.
The Louisiana Tech coaches made it clear. They wanted Lee.
“I hadn’t really gotten that before from a college,” Lee said.
It’s still hard to understand why. District 8-5A was one of the state’s toughest football districts last season, and more than a dozen of its players signed with schools in power conferences. But Lee, the 8-5A MVP, had no scholarship offers.
Some scouts said Lee wasn’t quite fast enough, and others said he was too small. But many recruiters said they were impressed by Lee but didn’t have a scholarship available.
Many high school football players hear that each year, and some end up as invited walk-ons. Lovejoy running back Blake Martin, the District 11-3A MVP, will also be trying to earn playing time and a scholarship at Louisiana Tech.
As a three-year starter at the highest level of Texas football, Lee could end up as a poster boy for the recruit who falls through the cracks. But Lee is definitely a man now, and not only because he looks like he could dead lift his offensive linemen.
It was a frustrating year for Lee, who also had an invitation to walk on at West Virginia. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he never gave up hope or blamed anyone. He just prayed about it and figured it would all work out.
And it has. The Louisiana Tech campus is great, Lee said, and so are the coaches. There’s an opportunity to play early, and it’s only a four-hour drive for his parents to see home games. Tech’s engineering program is also a good fit for Lee.
The only part that doesn’t fit is that Louisiana Tech isn’t the big, cool school of Lee’s dreams. But Lee’s larger dream was the chance to play college football and prove what he can do.
Thousands of high school players wish for that opportunity and never get it, so Lee is relieved. He’s excited, too, and ready to get started.
“I can’t wait until summer,” he said. “I’m just ready to play football again.”