In the Locker Room with Jontrey Hunter

Photo by Trent Legaspi | The Signal

Earlier this week Jontrey Hunter took some time to sit down with The Signal to give insight into his past and his potential future. After a session of weightlifting at the gym at Center Parc Stadium, Hunter explained his high school career, recruiting and collegiate career. 

Jontrey Hunter plays linebacker for the Georgia State Panthers, however in Tampa at Sickles High School, Hunter played quarterback, running back, outside linebacker, wide receiver, safety and cornerback. During his senior year at Sickles High, Hunter gave a verbal commitment to stay in Florida and attend the University of South Florida There were also offers pending from Iowa State and Georgia State University. Regarding the switch of commitment from USF to Georgia State,  Hunter explained “As I got older, I wanted out [Tampa]…” and that “Georgia State presented an offer at the right time, during my senior year.” 

Leaving Sickles High, Hunter weighed 195-pounds and was classified as a non-descript athlete. As a senior, Hunter weighs 205-pounds and plays primarily at the linebacker position. “I like where I am at,” said Hunter. Being able to play at this weight has given him power while still being able to hold onto his quick-twitch speed. 

“[Georgia] Southern is always fun, it’s going to be my fourth time playing them. It will be good especially after back-to-back times beating them,” Hunter said in preparation for the game against Georgia Southern. Hunter accounted for four tackles against the [Georgia Southern] Eagles last year.  In 2020, the annual rivalry game was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. In this week’s game against Georgia Southern, Hunter accrued two tackles and an interception; while the Panthers’ defense held the Eagles’ rushing attack to merely 92 yards. 

Hunter’s career thus far as a Panther can be surmised in one word: consistency. Hunter became a starter in 2020 accumulating 33 tackles, a single sack and two forced fumbles. In 2021, Hunter grew from the previous year with 40 tackles and one-and-a-half sacks on the season.  Currently through the 2022 campaign has 32 tackles,  a single sack with a fumble recovery and  a pick-six. This consistent growth in Hunter’s production embodies the Panthers’ ideology that Coach Shawn Elliott has broken down into four words: Attitude, Accountability, Effort and Faith

These words are written on either side of the Georgia State logo on the team room whiteboards.  Hunter defined these words as: “[Attitude] the right mindset to do your job. [Accountability] hold yourself accountable and your teammates, coach holds us accountable too. [Effort] non-negotiable! Effort is needed every play. [Faith] got to believe it will happen; if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen.”

When looking to the future Hunter expects to play in the 2023 season as he has one more year of NCAA eligibility due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hunter will play through his last year and continue to pursue a career in the NFL as he stated “It is everyone’s dream to make it to the NFL, so that’s my plan.”