Barry Sacks would not let Houston (Tex.) Cypress Falls defensive tackle Jacobi Hunter out of his sight this weekend. That's how much the new California defensive line coach wanted the 6-foot, 285-pound tackle to pledge his commitment to the Golden Bears. Of course, Sacks got his wish.
Crazy like a fox, apparently. Both Hunter and his father -- who also made the trip -- were tickled by the eccentric Sacks.
"He's my kind of coach," Hunter laughs, "oh yeah. Sacks is just in a different world. That's the best way I can put it. He's just always saying off-the-wall things. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. He was a lot of fun."
For Sacks's part, he's quite enamored with Hunter's game, particularly helping him fill a need for interior defensive linemen in the new 4-3 scheme, on a day where Sacks also got a commitment from Marcus Manley -- a 6-foot-2, 279-pound defensive tackle out of Santa Monica City College in Southern California.
"He likes that I have a wide girth," chuckles Hunter. "He also likes my technique and the use of my hands, and also my explosion off the ball."
Hunter says the Bears want to use him as a 4-3 nose tackle.
"I'll be playing the nose position, the inside tech, splitting the guard and the center," says Hunter, who had eight sacks, 65 tackles, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. "We ran a 3-4 in high school. It's different, because I'm normally playing on the center, instead of splitting him and the guard."
Hunter says he has "mixed emotions" about shifting over to the 4-3 nose instead of the 3-4 nose, but he's also excited for the challenge.
"It's always fun to try something new, and you never know," Hunter says. "The guard doesn't have to snap the ball and then block me, so he's going to come at me differently. It's a whole ‘nother mentality."
Hunter will get to learn his new spot from Sacks in a place he's already very comfortable, following his official visit.
"It was the academic side of it, and also the athletic side of it, and just the beauty of California; the weather was great," Hunter says.
When asked what his favorite part of the visit was, Hunter growls with a bit of playful frustration.
"It's tough to say," he finally says. "It was everything, from sitting with the coaches to going out on the town to hanging with the players, doing the campus tour and talking to the academic advisors and everything, the professors. I just lived it. That's all I can say."
Hunter has a 3.51 GPA measured by the UC standards, and intends to study finance, with a minor in African American Studies.
"It was going to be accounting, but accounting wasn't personal enough, and financing allows me do investments for people," Hunter says.