After playing sparingly on defense and regularly on special teams as a true freshman last season, Hunter is primed to have an impact at defensive end this season, coach Les Miles said. Hunter learned as an understudy to Cleveland Browns first-round draft choice Barkevious Mingo last season and Miles said Hunter reminds him of Mingo in some ways. Hunter (whose first name is pronounced “Duh-neel”) talks about having an impact on defense.
The Advocate: You played a lot on special teams last season. Did you learn anything on special teams that you can apply to defense?
Danielle Hunter: I learned the speed of the game on special teams and that carried over to defense.
TA: How many defensive snaps did you play last season?
DH: About 20.
TA: Did that help?
DH: It did, but not as much as it needed to. This spring and camp helped me out a lot more.
TA: Coach Miles has said you’re batting down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage. Where does that come from?
DH: It’s something I learned from Mingo. l’d watch him in practice, and I developed the habit and started doing it myself.
TA: What’s the key to doing that?
DH: It’s just instinct. I look at the quarterback, and when he throws it, I bat it down.
TA: What else did you learn from Mingo?
DH: All the speed things.
TA: Do you think you’re the same type of player as he is?
DH: He’s faster than I am, but I’m a little more powerful.