Travis Hunter Named No. 1 Overall Football Recruit by SI All-American

SI All-American has named Florida State football commitment Travis Hunter as the top overall recruit in the college football recruiting class of 2022.
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Travis Hunter has long felt it, has long verbalized it and pushed for it without hesitation. The Atlanta-area football star has never lacked confidence in where he stands versus the rest of the top high school football players nationally. 

On Tuesday, it is now confirmed. 

Hunter has been named the No. 1 overall college football recruit by Sports Illustrated for the class of 2022. 

"I feel like I'm the best guy in the class," Hunter says. "I feel like I can do anything you need me to do. I can impact a team in multiple ways, by playing offense and defense. 

"I think I'll be the best to ever do it, the best to play two ways."

The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect has earned attention for years with his viral football activity, from Friday nights to camps and 7-on-7 highlights, living up to the hype at seemingly every turn. 

Hunter stars at both wide receiver and cornerback for Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill High School, helping the Eagles get to the state championship game in 2020 with gaudy two-way production to his name.

Offensively, he led the nation with 137 receptions and made the most of the volume, going for 1,746 yards and 24 scores against some of the nation's top prep competition. Even in getting fewer snaps on defense, he managed eight interceptions and seven more passes broken up, with a forced fumble and another recovery for good measure. 

Combining 2019 and 2020, from a statistical perspective, amounts to nearly 2,700 yards and 36 receiving scores along with 15 interceptions. 

Whether projecting on offense or defense, the résumé is already drawing comparisons to college and NFL legends like Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey with a full year of high school football still to play. 

"I'm a guy that once I touch the ball, it's electric," Hunter says. "Once I get the ball in my hands, you don't know if I'm about to score or not. I'm gonna get some greedy yards, so every time I touch the ball you have to hold your breath.

"[On defense] I can lock down the whole field, I can lock down the best receiver anybody's got. It's easy. I just lock in. If I see a person as the best on another team, I'm gonna show him that I'm the best player in the whole game. That's the mindset for me."

Attributing the rare success to hard work and energy, Hunter is quick to not pick a side when it comes to the position projection. SI All-American tabs him as the top wide receiver in the class, in addition to top overall prospect, but there was plenty of consideration for the spot at cornerback, too. 

Hunter has plans to play both spots at Florida State, where he has been committed for more than 17 months

"He is the definition of a pure football player," Collins Hill assistant head coach Todd Wofford says. "He would be the best at whatever position we played him at. Just an elite athlete."

Speaking to the class of 2022 prospect, he is quick to bring up the focus he has within the game, both short term and long term. Unshy of Sunday ambitions at the sport's highest level, there is no hesitation from Hunter on how good he is now or how good he will be for years to come. 

"I don't want to be the best in high school, I want to be the best in the league," he says. "I'm not worried about high school, I'm worried about the league. 

"I've got a long mindset."

Hunter does hesitate when the comparisons to NFL Hall of Famers comes up, not because he doesn't see similarities in his path or some elements of Sanders's or Woodsons's game, but because he doesn't aspire to play like them in particular.  

Instead he looks up to Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey for his mindset and demeanor on the field. On offense he keeps an eye on Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy for his route-running ability and Green Bay Packers wideout Davante Adams for his overall game and ability after the catch. 

Those around many of those names say similar to what is said of Hunter -- the greatness goes beyond the natural talent and even the hard work at times. There is an element of consistency and pure love for the game that shows up on a daily basis. 

"Most talented player I have ever coached," Collins Hill head coach Lenny Gregory says. "That said, one of the best parts about Travis is that no one loves the game of football more than him. Not only is he an elite player, he is a great guy to be around. He always puts his teammates first and is loved by so many kids in our community."

For the next wave of Collins Hill Eagles looking to catch more time with Hunter outside of the football field, find a body of water and an early morning. 

Hunter has long countered the two-a-day workouts, top recruit status and other abnormal high school pressures by spending time with family and/or fishing. 

"In my off time I just go fishing, I don't really do too much," he says with a laugh. "If I ain't at school working out, I'm either fishing or at home. I don't really go out too much, I don't like to be around bad energy.

"I've been fishing since I was little, my cousin has always taken me out fishing. My family is really important."

Naturally, there are some parallels between the Friday night lights in the state of Georgia and the discipline of the other sport. Patience and focus will come up in the football and fishing discussion, as does decision-making and timing. 

Hunter's time is now and yet he says he works as if he has yet to arrive.

As the best player in high school football in 2020, he'll defend that crown beginning later this month when Collins Hill opens up the 2021 season Aug. 21 against Brookwood (Ga.) High in the Corky Kell Classic.

He'll suit up at Mercedes Benz Stadium for his second straight game there. CHHS fell to Loganville (Ga.) Grayson at the home of the Atlanta Falcons in the Class 7A championship game in December.

The top player on the field sees things going quite differently in 2021.

"We're going all the way this year ... ain't no doubt."

Travis Hunter