Terrel Hunt: The Man Behind the Mask
He has a story that could have hardened his heart, yet, he’s one of the sweetest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet. Terrel Hunt, starting Quarterback for the Syracuse University Football Team, is the epitome of a student-athlete who’s worked extremely hard to earn everything he’s ever had. And while his athletic talent may make it appear he is privileged, Hunt’s road to Syracuse wasn’t a smooth one.
Hunt excelled in both basketball and football in high school, but SU’s coaches had their eyes on him for football. He had a close relationship with his mother, who was also his best friend. It was her wish for him to attend Syracuse University, however, she passed away before she saw her wish come to fruition.
Hunt’s relationship with his father became stronger around the 7th grade, and much of his work ethic comes from principles instilled by his dad.
His father drilled into him that no matter how well you do, you can always do better. Although he knew his father was proud of him, his dad said that he would never tell Terrel he was proud until Terrel “made it.” Unfortunately, Terrel’s father passed away the day before he committed to Syracuse University.
Losing both parents at such a young age is dangerous. Losing the protection of the people who love you unconditionally can put you at the mercy of the worst influences in the world. Terrel Hunt overcame that danger with hard work.
Everyone who knows this young man says he works ridiculously hard at everything he does.
Earning an athletic scholarship and becoming the starting quarterback, he’s already accomplished a great deal. But as his father taught him, he knows he can always do better.
He recognizes that making it to the NFL is difficult and he remains focused in school. He has a 3+ GPA, will graduate from college a semester early, and will start his Master’s Degree in Sports Management in the spring.
Although he does well in school, he acknowledges that football has a significant impact on his life. It’s been an escape from home, has helped him grow, and kept his mind on the positive aspects of his life. He’s also gained a brotherhood from it, a family that he knows “has his back.”
He dislikes the public’s negative perception of athletes. He hates how others think he and his teammates are guys who are handed everything they want. “We’ve dedicated our bodies, our time, and sacrificed a lot for what we have,” says Terrel. “People place judgment, assume that we’re lazy, but in reality we’ve worked hard for everything we’ve got.”
Outside school and football, he has a variety of interests that no one bothers to ask about. He loves listening to and analyzing new music. He is in awe of the power of art (particularly Banksy, a social activist graffiti artist), and he expresses himself through distilled poetry.
Being well-read, he has a library of quotes and aphorisms in his head. The quote he currently lives by is from an interview with John Lennon who said “When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”
This morning Hunt was up early working. You missed it, but it was still a noble and beautiful acknowledgement of the gifts his parents left for him, and a celebration of the beauty of a life lived with gratitude.