Player: Torii Hunter Jr.

Position: OF

DOB: June 7, 1995 (21 years old)

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 180 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

School: Notre Dame

Previously Drafted: 2013 (36th round, DET)



A 4-star wide receiver recruit out of high school, per 247Sports, Torii Hunter Jr. opted to honor his commitment to play football at Notre Dame despite the Detroit Tigers selecting him in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB draft.

Hunter Jr. caught 71 passes for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at Prosper High School in Texas, and ESPN ranked him as the No. 95 prospect in the nation.

However, he suffered a broken leg during practice for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and wound up missing his freshman season with the Fighting Irish as a result.

Once he was healthy, he appeared in 10 games in 2014, making seven receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown before stepping into a bigger role this past fall.

For a Notre Dame team that went 10-3 and earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, Hunter Jr. hauled in 28 receptions for 363 yards and two  touchdowns.

Now with first-round pick Will Fuller (62 catches, 1,258 yards, 14 TDs) joining the NFL and both Chris Brown (48 catches, 597 yards, 4 TDs) and Amir Carlisle (31 catches, 355 yards, 1 TD) graduated, Hunter Jr. ranks as the team’s leading returning receiver heading into the 2016 season.

Following that breakout performance on the gridiron, Hunter Jr. made the decision to try out for the baseball team this spring.

He hit .393 with six home runs, 27 RBI and 13 stolen bases during his junior year of high school, per, but missed his senior season while recovering from the aforementioned broken leg.

He’s been used sparingly this spring as he continues to shake off the rust. He appeared in 19 games and went 2-for-11 with seven runs scored and two stolen bases.


Pick Analysis

Hunter Jr. has the bloodlines as the son of 19-year MLB veteran and five-time All-Star Torii Hunter.

He’s on scholarship to play football, but the youngest Hunter grew up playing baseball, so it’s no surprise that he wanted to get back at it now that his leg injury is behind him.

Growing up, I played a lot of baseball because of who my dad is,” Hunter Jr. said in a video on the Notre Dame YouTube channel. “I wanted to continue it after high school even though I received a football scholarship.”

So how exactly does his superior athleticism translate to the baseball diamond?

Even when we watched him in high school, he was a kid that could go get the ball in the outfield,” Notre Dame baseball coach Mik Aoki said in the aforementioned video. “I think he could provide game-changing-type speed on the bases in terms of looking to steal, going first to third, first to home, that sort of stuff.”

That may not make him a future All-Star, but if Hunter Jr. doesn’t have the opportunity to play football at the highest level, he has the tools and upside to get a chance at pursuing a baseball career.


Pro Comparison: Kenny Lofton

All right, hear me out.

During his time at the University of Arizona, Kenny Lofton made a name for himself not on the baseball field but on the basketball court.

Serving as the Wildcats’ backup point guard, Lofton teamed with future NBA players Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler, Tom Tolbert and Anthony Cook to help lead the Wildcats to a Final Four appearance in 1988.

Despite his role as a reserve, he still made an impact, averaging 4.9 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

That spring, he tried out for the baseball team, and despite appearing in just five games and recording just one plate appearance, he showed enough raw talent for the Houston Astros to select him in the 17th round.

Lofton would go on to establish himself as one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball history over the course of a 17-year career.

He racked up 2,428 hits and 622 stolen bases (15th on the all-time list) while making the All-Star Game six times and winning four Gold Gloves.

Now that sort of finished product is an absolute best-case scenario as far as Hunter is concerned, but it’s an intriguing comparison nonetheless.


Projection: Fourth outfielder, pinch runner, defensive replacement


Major League ETA: 2021


Chances of Signing: 20 percent

Hunter has a chance to be a breakout star this season for the Notre Dame football team as the leading candidate to take over as the No. 1 receiver. That should be enough to keep him on campus, and even if he does wind up going the baseball route, he stands to significantly boost his stock with more action on the diamond next spring.


All college stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube, unless otherwise noted, and current through Wednesday, June 8.

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