BOONE, N.C. — App State's Baer Hunter has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation's top center.
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound super senior is a two-time All-Sun Belt selection who moved to center in the spring after starting the last 31 games at right guard. Change isn't new to him, though, considering he began his App State career as a defensive lineman and spent time at tight end before becoming a standout offensive lineman who has 38 total starts entering the 2021 season.
"The transition has been great," Hunter said Thursday at Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans. "You guys will be able to see all the hard work I've put in. The motivation behind it? I love my teammates, and I love Appalachian State."
A member of the Outland Trophy watch list last season, Hunter earned first-team All-Sun Belt recognition from the league and led the Mountaineers in knockdown blocks after posting 68 during the 11-game regular season. He helped App State rank seventh nationally by rushing for 264.9 yards per game, including 500 in the Myrtle Beach Bowl win against North Texas.
He made his offensive line debut in 2018 after finishing the 2017 season at tight end.
"He played defensive line, we moved him to tight end, and I wanted him to be a starter because I saw a lot of potential in his ability," said head coach Shawn Clark, who was Hunter's position coach for two years. "I told Baer that if he came in here and bought into it to the best of his ability, he'd have the chance to play in the National Football League, and he's done that. He's taken that seriously. The way he goes about his daily business, there's not much joking with Baer Hunter on the practice field. He wants to be as good as he possibly can be every single day. There's no doubt in my mind he will be a valuable asset in our program this year, and he wants to be the best center in our conference."
Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $4.8 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy's only two-time winner as the nation's finest college interior lineman.
PHOTO COURTESY: Baer Hunter, App State Sports