Sports / The Prairie Fire / February 5, 2020

Wideout invited to NFL Junior Day

Hunter Lee, junior, was elated when he heard from Head Coach Damon Tomeo that he was invited to the NFL’s Junior day. The blazing-fast wide receiver started the new year on the right note.

“The second day we got back from break one of the scouts had contacted Tameo and so he asked if I’d want to go,” Lee said.

Of course, he said yes. “It’d be a great opportunity to get my name out there, put my name in the system, all that stuff,” Lee said

The NFL’s Junior Day is a way for players for the next draft class to get exposed to their respective area’s NFL scouts.

The NFL is partnered with two different scouting companies and each team in the NFL, except for the Patriots, have scouts associated with BLESTO and National Football Scouting.

Players in the Midwest get observed by scouts for the Chicago Bears. The players’ weight, height, hand size and reach are recorded in addition to the Wonderlic test (a common-sense test). The 40-yard dash is optional for them as well.

The scouts go through players’ film, which determines who is invited. Knowing that the teams have watched him mattered to Lee.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, you’re good,’ stuff like that. But I never really thought anybody from the NFL would get to me,” Lee said.

After Lee processed the news and what it meant, he wanted to keep it to himself and his coach. Despite being one of the most prolific receivers in Knox history, he didn’t want the news to spread until the event actually happened.

“I tried not letting a bunch of people know, just cause I don’t really like to get all the attention. So we kept it kind of hush until it happened,” Lee said.

With Lee’s senior season approaching, he has a clear vision for what he wants to work on.

“There’s a lot more motivation to do well because this is just the first step. I want there to be a second step, maybe a third step. I’m definitely taking it more seriously in the weight room this spring season. I really want to work on routes, my stance and stuff like that, just knowing that they saw me now. If I can even improve on what they saw to invite me before, I feel like it gives me a better opportunity,” Lee said.

Lee’s bread and butter routes are quick, breaking routes. Those routes contributed to Lee’s 2019 production of 31 catches, 591 yards, and 6 touchdowns. The junior wideout uses his 6’3, 185 pound frame to his advantage.

Chris Jenkins came to Knox College before the 2019 season after two years of coaching at Edisto High School in South Carolina. Jenkins played wide receiver at Charleston Southern before transitioning into coaching. He’s going to play a role in Lee’s route-running development this offseason.

“Hunter’s a bigger body receiver so throwing up deep balls to him has worked well for us. We gotta get him down and moving a lot better to come out of different routes, faster and quicker than in the past. That will elevate his game,” Jenkins said.

The Knox community has played a huge role in the development of the junior wideout. From friends to professors to family, everyone has helped Lee get to where he is today. His position coaches have had the biggest impact on Lee.

“Whether they’re offensive coaches, defensive coach on the line skill position, they all helped me and they all help every other player on the team (É) All the other coaches help just in a little bit different ways,” Lee said.

Both Lee and the team as a whole are optimistic. After a 3-6 finish, Lee sees the 2020 year as a big year for Knox.

“It’s my senior year, but the group that I’ve got is going to be possibly the biggest graduate class since Tomeo has been here,” Lee said.

The all-conference receiver is hoping to save his best season for last.

Kyle Williams
Sports Editor

Tags:  Chicago Bears Knox College knox college athletics nfl Prairie Fire Football

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