Confident Baer Hunter ready to ‘dominate’ Giants rookie minicamp

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During rookie minicamp over the weekend, the New York Giants will host a number of undrafted free agents who aim to make the best of the opportunities in front of them.

Among those looking to show what they’ve got is Baer Hunter, an offensive lineman out of Appalachian State.

Hunter comes from a football family where his father played college football at Bowling Green and is currently a coach at Wake Forest.

Hunter is confident in his skillset and looks forward to stepping on the field to show the Giants what he’s made of.

What are you looking forward to with this opportunity?

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New York Giants helmet

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“I’m excited to go up there and show the Giants what I can do, what I’m capable of. Going up there and stepping back on the football field,” Hunter told Giants Wire. “It’s been a while since we did everything with pro days, trying to deal with the combine and things like that, so it’s going to be nice to step out on the football field and do work.”

How did the nickname 'Baer' come to fruition?

“I went by ‘Baer’ when I was a little kid. I was first given the name by my grandfather, Frank Hunter. He passed away when I was in third grade,” Hunter said. “I lived up north in Michigan when he passed away but I was going to school in Teledo, Ohio and I had moved a lot because of my father’s job — he’s a football coach.

“So when [Grandfather] passed — he means a lot to me — I just wanted to carry that name with me. My name is John Luther Hunter III but everybody calls me ‘Baer’ now. I carry my grandfather with me with everything I do.”

How did coming from a football family prepare you for your shot in the NFL?

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“Wake Forest was in the mix when I was getting recruited for college. I ended up first committing to the University of Toledo and then I ended up decommitting and going to Appalachian State,” Hunter said. “The coach had left there and ended up going to Iowa State.

“Having a coach in my family and having a coaching background and having a football background, it’s been very beneficial to me. Ever since I was a kid, having a college coach as your dad. I played a middle school game or a high school game, most kids aren’t coming home with their dad in middle school and high school games — most kids are going out to eat and doing fun things. I was going home and watching film with my father, and having to face what I was doing. Having to watch the work I was doing on the field so I basically had multiple practices, going through everything multiple times.

“It really just benefited me in the long run and it made me realize how much goes in to football. It’s not just like the younger guys [who] think to be a running back you just have to run; you want to play the line you just have to block. You get to realize so many things about the game, so many aspects about the game that make you more of a complete player and more of a dominant player.

“So I just really appreciate having my father as a coach and just being able to talk to him about any questions I have on and off the field. It’s been very beneficial to me. I love my father, I love my mom and dad. I have a very supportive family and I’m blessed for that.”

How do you think switching from defensive line to offensive line has helped your skillset?

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“I mean, in my career I played in every position except corner,” Hunter revealed. “I’ve even kicked in a game in high school, so I’ve kind of done it all. Coming from defensive end to playing offensive line, you kind of already already have a feeling of what the defenders are trying to do. I mean, as an offensive lineman you know what defenders want to do, especially pass rush. They want to swim, they want to rip, they want to bully you into doing different things, you know get to the quarterback.

“Knowing what to look for already having that advantage coming from defensive end. I played defensive end at App State knowing our defensive calls in practice. That even helped me a little bit when I was trying to learn offensive line when I was younger. Any advantage, I took.

“I’m really blessed to have such a great background and with as much football smarts as I have, I feel like.”

Is there anything in particular you can bring to the table?

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“I would be very beneficial to the Giants. I’m a very smart football player, I’m a very quick football player and I do the job. I’m the type of guy who is going to going to go into your team, help you out and get the job done,” Hunter said. “Everywhere I go, I’ve been successful. I’ve been successful at App State, I’ve been successful in high school. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been successful in my football career and [in] New York, I can’t see it not going that way — not being successful. Going to New York and taking over that starting center role.”

Are you comfortable playing anywhere on the offensive line?

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“I’m comfortable anywhere on the offensive line,” Hunter said. “I played three years at right guard at App State before going to play center last year. In those years, we’ve been able to win multiple conference championships, multiple bowl games. I think in my career at App State I’ve had over 50 starts. I think I’ve lost five or six games in my whole career there so I have a lot of experience.”

What kind of prep work have you been putting in ahead of rookie minicamp?

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“Just a lot of strength and speed conditioning, working a lot of position drills. A lot film study from the college game to see where I could have done better,” Hunter said. “A lot of thinking about what is going to make me a better offensive lineman, what techniques to use against certain techniques coming from the defender that might be more beneficial to me instead of what I’ve used in the past.”

Does going undrafted add fuel to the fire?

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“Of course,” Hunter said. “What guy sees 200-plus people getting picked before him and nobody’s picking them up — of course that adds fuel to the fire. But I’m really excited to go out there this weekend.

“There’s a lot of guys that go undrafted or get drafted late; there’s a lot of guys who have never played football before that end up having great NFL careers in NFL. I see myself being one of those guys.”

Is there an NFL player that you think most resembles your play and style?

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“I like Quenton Nelson. I’d like to say I resemble Quenton Nelson, one of the best guards in the league,” Hunter said. “But I feel like everyone brings different things to the table, especially on offensive line. I know Nelson, I see him swiping guys hands down and making them fall when he gets to that next level, a lot of D-Linemen that’s kind of their signature move. He’ll swipe the hands down make you fall while you are leaning on him, let you fall forward and lay on top of you.

“Everybody has their own thing. I wouldn’t say I see myself in another player but I could see myself in the NFL and in that role so I wouldn’t say I see someone that I’m 100 percent similar to.”

What age did you see the NFL as a real possibility?

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“Ever since I was a kid, I thought I’d be able to play in the NFL,” Hunter said. “I mean in high school, I guess is when I thought I would have the opportunity. Adversity hits and I had to make position changes and I had to make moves and transfer high schools.

“You just never know. I never really thought about that, I just went and put the work in and let God take care of the rest. Leave it all in God’s hands. At the end of the day, in life, all you can do is put the work in. I put the work in, I work my tail off every single day and do the right things in life to get the things that I want.”

What are your goals going into camp?

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“My goals are to be dominant right away,” Hunter said. “Step on the field and be dominant and be a vocal leader, be a leader. I know teams are going to want a center that’s a vocal leader — a guy that steps up and takes command and I plan on doing that.”

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