Jeremy Hunt remembers the recruiting process with North Greenville University.
He was a senior playing receiver and safety for the Porter-Gaud football team in 2014, and was in constant contact with the Upstate school, hoping it would bring him on board.
The atmosphere felt right to him, and it didn’t hurt that NGU head coach Jeff Farrington had Lowcountry ties, graduating from The Citadel in 1982.
Much to Hunt's disappointment, the Crusaders went in another direction. So he headed to Brevard College, a small, private school in Brevard, N.C., but never gave up on playing for North Greenville. While a freshman at Brevard, he reached out to Farrington about playing at NGU the following year.
“I had always wanted to go to North Greenville, so I called them up to see if they could find a spot for me on the roster,” Hunt said.
There were no promises made. Farrington told Hunt he would have to walk on and earn his playing time. And that’s what Hunt did.
“He’s been so impressive,” Farrington said. “Over the past few years, he’s really become a huge part of what we do.”
Hunt’s pass-catching days remain in Charleston. But his linebacker skills have proved even better, making him one of the leaders on the NGU defense.
The Crusaders are 4-2, including a 3-1 record in their first season in the Gulf South Conference. Hunt leads the team with 28 tackles, which ranks him fifth in the conference. He’s also among the best in sacks and tackles for loss.
To that end, the Crusaders have held four of their six opponents to 20 points or less this season.
“We take pride in that,” said Hunt, a 5-11, 200-pound senior. “That’s our job. We want to make plays and get our offense back on the field.”
Farrington led his team to a Victory Bowl Championship in 2014 back when North Greenville was an independent.
Now in a Division II conference, the competition is a little steeper, he said. Still, as he looks at his roster, the Crusaders have the tools to make it interesting.
“It comes down to battles on the line of scrimmage and that’s where we rely on guys like Jeremy,” Farrington said. “He’s athletic and makes a difference out there.”
Hunt, 22, started playing football when he was 7. It’s surreal, he said, knowing there’s just a few more games left in his college career.
He wants to leave North Greenville on top and is proud to be part of the Crusaders’ inaugural season in the Gulf South Conference.
“Coach (Farrington) says you should leave a program better than you found it,” he said. “That’s all I want to do here. I just want to leave a legacy of having a strong work ethic.”
He’ll get to build on that legacy Saturday when the Crusaders travel to conference powerhouse Valdosta State.
It’ll be a battle, to say the least. Valdosta is averaging more than 50 points per game. Hunt and his teammates have allowed just 21 per game.