Senior Grant Hunter, who led Butler in quarterback sacks for four straight seasons, has signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Butler defensive standout will report to the Bengals on May 10 to begin rookie camp on May 11.

Hunter (6-3, 245), Butler’s Defensive Lineman of the Year last fall, finished second on Butler’s all-time list for quarterback sacks with 35.5 during his four-year career. He led the Bulldogs in 2011 with ten quarterback sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss, while earning honorable mention All-Pioneer Football League recognition. Professional teams took notice of his combination of size and speed.

“I worked out for the Bengals and the Colts,” said Hunter. “I had participated in Ball State’s Pro-Day, but unfortunately while I was running my 40-yard dash I pulled my hamstring and I wasn’t able to do any of the other drills. So I really didn’t have a lot of teams come calling from that.”

“But the Bengals and Colts took another look at me, and those workouts really went well,” added the Butler senior. “At the end of the day, it was the Bengals that came calling right after the draft, and they ended up signing me to a free agent contract.”

Hunter, a native of Liberty Township, Ohio (Lakota West), was a first team All-PFL performer and Butler’s Defensive MVP in 2008, when he recorded a league-high 14 quarterback sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He earned second team All-PFL honors in 2009, while finishing 11th in the NCAA Division I FCS with 7.5 quarterback sacks.

The four-year football letterwinner also excelled in the classroom. He was named first team Academic All-District V and second team Academic All-America in 2009, and he was a three-time PFL Academic All-League pick.

Ironically, Hunter almost didn’t answer the most important phone call of his young career. When the Bengals’ call came, Hunter noticed it was not a 513 (Cincinnati) area code, and he thought it might be a telemarketing or an automated selling call. But he chose to answer it anyway.

“It turned out it was the linebackers’ coach from the Bengals, and I think I was speechless for about five minutes,” Hunter said. “I just remember saying thank you over and over again. It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Hunter faces a busy summer schedule. Following the Rookie Camp, he will attend the Bengals’ Mandatory Mini-Camp in mid-to-late June. The team’s training camp will begin in July.

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