Posted On: 06/3/20 7:54 PM
Despite the barbaric and disgusting murder of George Floyd in South Minneapolis more than a week ago and the turmoil and chaos that has engulfed the city since, there is still positive and encouraging news coming out of the 612 that should be celebrated and shared. Four days ago on Twitter it was announced that MPLS Patrick Henry’s captain, DB, & RB Jakari Hunnecook committed to play his college football at the prestigious and tradition-rich St. John’s University, who are coming off a DIII national semifinal game appearance last season. Hunnecook – who was featured in PrepRedzone’s recent top unsigned 2020 defensive backs feature – is an athletic and natural DB with smooth hips, physical hands, and isn’t scared to stick his head in the run game. PrepRedzoneMN is really high on his game after the senior bounced back from a three-game injury to make some game-changing plays and help the Patrick Henry Patriots finish above .500. Additionally – and more importantly – Hunnecook is continuing a successful tradition of Patriots playing football in college. With small pipelines to UMD and Gustavus, Patrick Henry football is now putting players into college programs every year which is something that was not happening when I was playing in Minneapolis in high school. Hunnecook was kind enough to give PRZ some of his time to answer some of our questions about his recruitment process and eventual commitment to the Johnnies, his career at Henry, the Patriot’s college football conduit, and more. Thanks for reading! Senior SZN
PRZ: Congrats on the commitment, Jakari! Please begin by telling us about the recruiting process as a whole. When did you start hearing from schools? You didn’t report much activity on Twitter, can you give us some insight into what happened with that whole journey?
Hunnecook: “I started hearing from schools at the end of my junior year, the recruiting process was long and hard, it seemed like every school that was recruiting me had something positive to offer. When I signed up for NCSA that’s when I found out what schools were best for me and schools found out I was best for them. I didn’t report my offers and stuff like that, because I didn’t really feel the need for it as much, as in “ok I got an offer, let me show the world” I was very happy of course, but I wanted people to know where I am going, instead of hyping it up and people will start to ask questions seeing if I’m gonna go, just because I got an offer, I just didn’t want to put it out there.”
PRZ: What made you commit to SJU? What did you like about the program and what made them stand out to you?
Hunnecook: “I committed to SJU because the atmosphere and the location, it’s in Collegeville/St.Cloud so of course the games are going to be packed. Also the sports Medicine major, this is going to be the first year they bring in sports Medicine and I would love to study it, and also the business major is top notch, And it’s a big D3 school, I know Ben Bartch just got drafted to the Jags and Jackson Erdmann is going to the CFL and they have a receiver going to the CFL as well, so they were already known, now there going to be known more and going to looked at more by the next level. If your not getting looked at by D1 schools or D2, SJU is your choice, even if you are getting looked at by higher level schools. Other schools I were talking to were Gustavus, Bethel, Wisconsin-River Falls, and Montana! But SJU stood out way more for me.”
PRZ: Share a little bit about your season as well as Henry’s! What were some big games for you and what can you say about your career personally?
Hunnecook: “The past season at Henry was a little rough for me as I sprained my ankle in our first scrimmage and a week before our first game, so I had to sit out for 3 weeks, which sucks, because my stats will be way better. But they were good but those 3 games I missed could’ve boost my stats up a little higher, but overall as a team our season was pretty good, we had a winning season, wish we could’ve got farther in the playoffs, but my career at Henry was “good” to say the least. I could’ve done more as a teammate off the field, like talking and hyping my teammates up more, but my play on the field, I loved to lead by example on the field, making a big hit, getting a interception or a big run gain, I loved to set the tempo.”
PRZ: What position will you be playing in college? What kind of player are the Johnnies getting?
Hunnecook: “I don’t know what position I want to play at SJU, either cornerback or slot receiver, I know I’m going to be receiving kicks though of course! And the Johnnies know what type of player their getting, hard worker, never says no, an athlete I know every position, I live on the field, willing to stay after practice and get some more work in!! I’m going to make my mark at SJU and that’s a promise!”
PRZ: You’re continuing a line of Patriots to play football in the NSIC and MIAC in MN, what can you say about the Patrick Henry college pipeline. Do you think it would have been harder to play in college if you didn’t have teammates before you playing in college?
Hunnecook: “Henry is not a known school like that, for kids/young men to go to college from Henry is great and for me to join that group of people is a blessing, especially in the MIAC and nahh not really I mean I wouldn’t know about these colleges as much, but I mean the recruiting and stuff will be the same, I just wouldn’t be receiving as much information as I need.”
PRZ: What is appealing to you about Division III football and what do the Johnnies offer in terms of DIII football you found unique and exciting?
Hunnecook: “The D3 level is where the best college football action is at, you see people that didn’t get recognized by big schools and is willing to show everyone that they have what it takes to play in the NFL, everyone has the same goal and that is to play in the NFL and nothing will stop them from getting there, D3 level is top notch! SJU has the atmosphere and fans, I heard they average 10,000 fans every home game and they play St. Thomas at local stadiums, this year we play them at the US Bank stadium and that’s 70,000 seats, it’s going to be at least 40,000- 70,000 fans there, that is a lot! last year I went to the game at Allianz field and the stadium was bumping…literally, it was PACKED, I can’t wait to be on that field and hear 10,000 people yelling and screaming, when I score that touchdown or get that interception. It’s gonna happen I promise you… SJU is in for a surprise!”
Good luck and Go Johnnies, Jakari!