UT running back Kareem Hunt, right, runs position drills for NFL teams in March. Hunt elected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday night. BLADE
University of Toledo senior running back Kareem Hunt knows he has big shoes to fill after being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday night.
But that doesn’t make Hunt, the 86th overall selection, any less excited for the opportunity that now presents itself with the Chiefs.
Hunt, the all-time leading rusher in UT history with 4,945 career rushing yards, will join a roster with a notable name not in the mix at running back. In February, Kansas City released Jamaal Charles, also a third round draft pick and one of the best backs in franchise history.
“Jamaal Charles leaves some big shoes to fill,” Hunt said. “I definitely think I can get out there and fill those shoes. I feel like I can do it all. I’m a good pass catcher and I’m good running through the tackles. I know Jamaal Charles is a possible Hall of Famer and it’s just great to be in his shoes now.”
The Chiefs, who still have running backs Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West on the roster, showed a clear desire to make sure they could get Hunt in the third round. They traded up 18 spots to grab the Toledo standout, giving up their third, fourth, and seventh round picks in this year’s draft.
“It shows that they really believe in me and it shows that they know that I’m a player worth trading for,” Hunt said. “They really had a lot of interest in me to trade up and give up picks in the draft. I’m excited. They definitely got a steal and I’m ready to come in and give the Kansas City Chiefs everything I got.”
Hunt said he hopes the Chiefs will be able use him right away this upcoming season.
“I talked to the running backs coach a lot and he said ‘Be ready to come in and go to work,’” Hunt said.
Hunt will fly to Kansas City on Friday for rookie minicamp.
At Toledo, Hunt was a three-time All-MAC running back for the Rockets, including first-team honors in 2014 and 2016 and second-team honors in 2015.
Hunt is the fourth-highest draft pick in UT history behind Dan Williams (11 in 1993), John Greco (65 in 2008) and Curtis Johnson (81 in 1970).
"It really means a lot," Hunt said. "It's another milestone or record. I'm excited to be representing Toledo and I'm going to go out there and put on for the Rockets."
Hunt watched the draft on Friday night with friends and family at the Barley House in downtown Cleveland. He says being drafted really hit home today after last night was kind of a whirlwind.
“I really had no idea who I was going to,” Hunt said. “Honestly I was just excited to hear my name being called. It was like a dream come true. I was very emotional and I had all my close family and friends there with me.”
Contact Brian Buckey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.
At Toledo, Hunt was a three-time All-MAC running back for the Rockets, including first-team honors in 2014 and 2016 and second-team honors in 2015. BLADE