Report: Hayden Hunt expected to sign with Tampa Bay
Hayden Hunt was one of the most successful specialists in the history of Colorado State football. Now the four-year starter (2013-16) will have an opportunity to show off his skills in the NFL.
According to Greg Auman of the Athletic, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign Hunt to a futures contract on Wednesday. Futures contracts were introduced by the NFL at the conclusion of the 2013 season and allow teams to agree to terms with individuals before the official start of the ensuing season. Essentially the deal means Hunt will not count against Tampa Bay’s salary cap until next spring, but the Buccaneers want him on the roster.
From 2013-16, Hunt was a three-time All-Mountain West selection, averaging 43.8 yards per punt during that time. As a junior, Hunt was named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s most outstanding punter.
While Hunt was not known for having the biggest leg on the field, in the 2015 loss to Minnesota at Hughes Stadium, the Long Beach, Calif., native, boomed a 73-yard punt against the Gophers, which at the time was the eighth longest punt in school history.
More of a precision player than anything else, what made Hunt so dangerous was his ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory. Of Hunt’s 52 punts in 2015, only one traveled into the end zone for a touchback. With a touchback rate of 1.9 percent, Hunt was the most accurate punter in all of college football, and ultimately earned second-team All-America honors from USA Today and first-team recognition from Pro Football Focus.
Hunt was also crafty and converted on two different fake punts during his senior season (2016). In a narrow loss to Boise State, Hunt successfully used two different onside kicks to get the Rams the football back. The Rams ultimately fell, 28-23, but without Hunt, CSU would have never even had the opportunity for a comeback.
After not being any active rosters for two consecutive seasons, Ram fans will be rooting for the former special teams standout to make a name for himself at the next level.