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Omar Hunter accomplishes childhood dream as member of team

| Friday, November 18, 2016

The lifelong dream to attend Notre Dame, regardless of being on the football team, started when senior receiver Omar Hunter was only in second grade.

“Why I chose Notre Dame is more of a cliche, lifelong dream,” Hunter said. “When I was younger, being from Texas, kind of far from [Notre Dame], I went to a private, Catholic elementary school. A lot of our teachers there were ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) teachers so quite a few of them were from Notre Dame. Quite particularly, my second grade teacher came here and he talked about it quite a lot and always mentioned how great of a school it was and that got me into researching the school.

“I am being honest when I say second grade, I can pinpoint it to that year. Ever since then, it’s been a lifelong dream to come here and I’ve been fortunate to get in and be accepted and be part of the football program as well.”

Irish senior receiver Omar Hunter, still recovering from a torn ACL, takes in warm ups in street clothes before the Irish took on Miami.Michael Yu | The Observer
Irish senior receiver Omar Hunter, still recovering from a torn ACL,
takes in warm ups in street clothes before the Irish took on Miami.

During the college decision process, Hunter said he was focused on attending a school that fit him best academically. He was accepted into Notre Dame first and then decided to try to walk-on to the football team.

“I was accepted here first and in the spring of my senior year in high school, I talked to the football coaches and David Peloquin, who is the main recruiter, about joining the team and got in contact,” Hunter said. “I started emailing him back and forth, and I sent him my film. It was pretty surreal, and a couple days after he contacted me and told me I was going to be a preferred walk on for fall camp. Immediately after I found out, I called my mom and was crying on the phone because I was going to have this tremendous experience for the next four years.”

Since he has made the decision to walk-on, Hunter said he could not picture attending any other university or being a part of any other football program. He said the camaraderie amongst the team and the coaches defines his experience here.

“Being on this team, the coaching staff really does care about you, the players care about each other, the training staff, strength staff, we are just one really big family,” Hunter said. “For a lot of programs, everything is separated, but here everything is stemmed together. We train together, eat meals together, practice and bond outside of football. What has been special here for me is that we are one giant family. Especially this season with all we have been going through, we really have been able to stick together and continue to work hard every day, despite what our record may show.”

Highlighting the family atmosphere among the team, Hunter said one of his most distinct memories as part of the Notre Dame football program is his first time celebrating with the team.

“I remember the first time running onto the field my freshman year and then just getting to celebrate in the locker room after the game with the rest of the team,” Hunter said. “We were singing the fight song after the game and so many emotions were running through me. There was so much happiness and joy in the room, it truly was an incredible experience that I don’t think I will ever be able to forget.”

Along with building unbreakable bonds with the staff and his teammates, Hunter said the program has provided him with resources to succeed academically and develop as a person off the field.

“It’s been really difficult balancing school and football, but it has taught me to have really good time management skills,” Hunter said. “We spend a lot of time here in the [Guglielmino Athletics Complex] and on the practice field doing a lot of football things, but they do leave us with enough time to get back and do work at night. It’s been beneficial to have our own specific tutors and counselors who do their job extremely well.”

Hunter is majoring in management consulting and added that he is grateful to have been a part of the Mendoza College of Business.

“Being part of business school has been tremendous, I’ve had so many opportunities and so many great professors,” Hunter said. “I can’t say enough about the program. One of my favorite professors has been Laura Hollis. I had her for entrepreneurship and she was a tremendous professor and won’t be able to forget her.

“ … As for after college, I am still undecided but I have been looking into different consulting firms in Chicago.”

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About Meagan Bens

Meagan is a junior Visual Communication Design major and Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minor living in Lyons Hall. She serves as a sports writer and hails from the suburbs of Chicago.

Contact Meagan