There’s talent with a small t and Talent with a capital T, but no matter how you spell it, Toledo’s Kareem Hunt has got it. The final entrant in our 2016 MAC Player Countdown and the second consecutive year that Hunt has finished in the top spot, the 6’0” 225 lb. senior would likely be ranked on any conference’s top player list. He just so happens to play in our league, and we are all better for it.
It’s a rarity that an athlete with Hunt’s skills ends up in the MAC and even rarer that they stay for the entirety of their career. The siren song of the bigger programs or the lure of the Sunday NFL paychecks is strong, but Hunt will finish up his career in Toledo this season, and what a career it has been!
This season Toledo comes in hoping to showcase that their high powered offense is enough to overcome a defense with some significant unknowns and a new head coach in former offensive coordinator Jason Candle. For the Rockets to take flight, Hunt has to guide them around, through, and over their competition all the way to Detroit.
MAC Player Countdown #1: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
This preseason watchlist candidate for both the Doak Walker Award and the Maxwell Trophy has his sights set on becoming Toledo’s all-time leading rusher. He’s already the leading rusher for yards per carry at an eye-popping 6.7. Take a minute and let that sink in.
Last season saw Hunt go for 973 yards and 12 TDs, which only seems less impressive when you look at his sophomore year stat line: 1631 yards and 16 TDs. Sixteen hundred yards, folks. And you thought there was a question about who would be #1 on our list? If you had questions, might I suggest following a different sport and conference? Big Ten tennis is right over there.
His sophomore campaign garnered him a 1st Team All-MAC selection, which makes sense when you realize he led the MAC with that total yards figure and was 10th in the nation. Statistically, Hunt’s been a force of nature at Toledo. He’s rushed for over 100 yards twenty times, and had a streak of 12 straight games over that mark.
Why a Top 25 MACthlete?
Were you not impressed by what we wrote above? The case for inclusion on the countdown was made his freshman season, when he rattled off 800+ yards and was second on his team in yards gained. He played his way into the top spot last season with his, simply put, amazing year. Whether 2016 is closer to 2015 than 2014 or somewhere in between is anyone’s guess, but thinking that Hunt isn’t the premier running back and premier athlete in the Mid-American Conference is a most unwise decision, and one you make at your peril.
His gaudy numbers are the result of a big body that’s hard to bring down and a freakish amount of speed, both of which combine for someone able to outrun or run over those pesky defenders attempting to stop him from doing exactly that.
Hunt set career records for rushing attempts (32), rushing yards (271), and touchdowns (5) against the same opponent... Arkansas State. The same Arkansas State that the Rockets open their season with on September 2.
Video Proof of Awesomeness:
Toledo and Hunt open their season on Friday September 2 against Arkansas State at 9pm on ESPNU.
Missed any of our countdown? You can check them all out here.