Thick fog engulfed the Glass Bowl in Toledo on a Wednesday evening in November making it nearly impossible to see the other football sideline.
Holding a 10-point lead over Ball State, the Toledo Rockets needed one big play to put things out of reach in a game where it was hard to move the football given the blurred visibility.
Kareem Hunt answered the call. On the second play out of halftime, quarterback Logan Woodside tossed the ball to Hunt on a slip screen. Hunt made a catch in the backfield, eluded four defenders and exploded down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.
“One thing that makes him different is his spirit,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said. “The energy, the competitive spirit he brings to practice. He was the same guy everyday when it came to practice and games.”
Hunt is hoping to translate the same energy and skill-set to Kansas City. Hunt, the Chiefs’ third-round pick has made an early impression on Chiefscoach Andy Reid through seven practices at St. Joseph.
“He’s a smart kid,” Reid said. “’He’s picking it up … I’ve been around a lot of good backs and smart backs and he’s right in there. He picks it up quick.”
Hunt left Toledo as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,945 career yards. He also takes pride in blocking, but hopes his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is what separates him.
“I think I can compete with some of the best of the best,” Hunt said. “I definitely feel comfortable with catching the ball out of the backfield. I was aware they like to use the running backs in the passing game because of Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware and all those guys. It’s exciting to be a part of something like this, getting guys in space, and I like catching the ball and out of the backfield.”
Reid’s system has always been known to use the running back heavily throughout the passing game. Ware and Charcandrick West combined for 76 targets last season. During Hunt’s senior year at Toledo, he had 41 receptions and forced the second-most missed tackles (22) on catches for running backs.
Hunt said he spends extra time perfecting his hand skills.
“I spend all my time studying and watching myself catch the ball,” Hunt said. “I always have somebody throw it (to me), even if it was my college quarterback or one of my old high school buddies.”
He added, “I feel like I’m getting up to speed. I’m getting more comfortable with the plays and just trying to get better at something everyday.”