The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Block party

Standing a 6-foot-8, Margus Hunt has established himself as a force to be reckoned with
The Daily Campus, SMU
Margus Hunt sings “Varsity” after SMU defeated Rice, 31-28 in Ford Stadium. CASEY LEE/The Daily Campus

Margus Hunt sings “Varsity” after SMU defeated Rice, 31-28 in Ford Stadium. CASEY LEE/The Daily Campus

Margus Hunt towers above the SMU student body on his way to classes. Since enrolling at the university in 2007, the freshman defensive end has established a tough-guy reputation, brought on by his enormous size and intimidating build.

Born and raised in Karksi-Nuia, Estonia, Hunt came to the United States to train privately with SMU’s world-renowned track and field coach, Dave Wollman, in shot put and discuss. Prior to coming to SMU, Hunt won gold medals in both events at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, becoming the first junior athlete ever to win a shot and discus gold medal combination.To this day, Hunt is also the former junior world record holder in discus throw.

At the end of last year, Hunt was told he had two options: return to Estonia or remain in Dallas at SMU and try his skills at football. Having never played a down of football in his life, Hunt willingly agreed to join head coach June Jones and the Mustangs in their pursuit of a bowl game.

“I had my doubts about playing football, because Coach McKnight was talking to me all the time in the weight room that I should join the team, but at that time I was sure SMU would bring back the men’s track and field program,” Hunt said. “After finding out that wasn’t going to happen, I took the choice by trying out for the football team.”

With just nine games of experience, Hunt has already established himself as an important part of SMU’s special teams unit. With his first blocked kick against TCU, Hunt has continued to rack up blocked kicks and field goals.

Now with six blocks on the season, Hunt is just two away from the NCAA for most blocks in one season.

For a student who has never played football, Hunt has already made a name for himself not just at SMU but around the country. As teams look to take on SMU, players say teams pay just as much attention to the special teams as much as they do to SMU’s offense and defense.

“He’s one of the most powerful guys,” Jones said. “One of the really neat things has been is that he has no bad habits. He does what he’s coached to do. You tell him to step with this foot, place your hand here, do all those little fundamental things, he does them absolutely right.”

Hunt biggest play of the season so far has been a blocked field goal against East Carolina University that resulted in a 63-yard touchdown from Bryan McCann.

“That was one of the smartest moves Coach Jones has made. Margus has won a lot of game for us this year,” senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.

Since the game against ECU, Hunt has established a reputation of the player responsible for all blocked kicks, even when others deserve credit.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge part for the special teams, we have a great unit out there for field goal blocks,” Hunt said. “I’ve had a lot of help from Taylor Thompson, who just basically opens up the gap for me and I have to stick my hand in the air.”

While several players concern themselves with breaking new records, Hunt focuses more on the overall experience than making a name for himself in record books. When asked if it would be a “dream come true” to break an NCAA record, Hunt remained humble, saying it would be nice, but it’s not his priority.

“I can’t say that it would be a dream come true because I never thought I would be able to do this,” Hunt said. “I try not to think about breaking the record so badly because then it becomes an obsession and it’s not going to happen. I just go out there and do what I’m supposed to do.”

Despite being 22-years-old, Hunt still has three years of eligibility remaining at the end of the 2009 season. With an already impressive performance in just his first year, Jones sees a bright future ahead for Hunt.

“He’ll be a first or second round draft pick for sure if he doesn’t get hurt,” Jones said. “He’s been the difference in finding a little niche in his pass rush ability and being able to block kicks.”

For many of the players on SMU’s roster, making an appearance in the post season is their top goal. But for Hunt, just getting the opportunity to play for SMU each weekend is a blessing.

“It’s been an incredible season for me, and I’ve exceeded every thought imaginable,” Hunt said. “I’m just excited to finish up this season strong and start with the new one.”

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