Scholar Athlete of the Week: Hunter giving all to excel academically, athletically

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal junior two-way lineman Terrence Hunter struggled with giving 100 percent effort during his freshman year.

But thanks to some coaching by Saints football coach David King, Hunter has stepped up his game on the field and in the classroom — and the results have been noticed.

Claes Nobel, the National Society for High School Scholars’ founder and chairman, recently selected Hunter for membership into the society. Nobel is a member of the same family that founded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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“This means a lot for me and my family,” Hunter said.

“My mom didn’t really care about me playing football, but she’s always wanted me to have good grades. I’ve always been an honor roll student, but when I started playing football (at Trinity), my grades dropped a little. After I stopped being lazy, though, they shot right back up.”

Hunter said he currently has between a 3.2 and 3.3 GPA, and recently scored 21 on the ACT. He said laziness on and off the field in his ninth grade year at Trinity led to him getting some tough love from King.

“I was lazy and didn’t do anything, and he really got onto me,” Hunter said. “The summer of my sophomore year is when I finally bought in to what he was preaching.

“He was telling me he knew I had the ability to play at the next level, that I just needed to put forth the effort.”

Grades and the team concept are the two things King tries to pound into all of his players, Hunter said.

“He preaches grades first,” Hunter said. “He always preaches that. He also preaches being a team player and being humble on the field.”

As a lineman, Hunter said he knows he has to play with a mean streak, so being humble on the field carries a different meaning than playing nice.

“It means making sure I do my job, because a play won’t work unless everyone does their job,” Hunter said. “We all have to function as a unit.”

Hunter said he decided not to play basketball this season so he could focus on his grades and becoming a better football player.

“I lift every day, and I run every day,” Hunter said. “It’s good to have no other distractions, because I want to focus on getting ready for my junior year.

“I want to raise my grades up even more. It’s a million times harder to balance school and sports during football season than after it.”

But staying in a good routine helps out a lot, Hunter said.

“During football season, I usually get some food as soon as I get out of practice, then I do my homework,” he said. “It’s a routine, and if I stick to it, I’m good.”

Hunter said he’s grateful to attend Trinity, and being a Saint has made him a better person.

“It’s helped me realize what I can do, and I’m glad they taught me what they have,” he said. “It’s really paid off.”