OSU football: Kendall Hunter making waves
Oklahoma State has lived up to its Tailback U. reputation in recent years. But the Cowboys — nor anyone else — haven’t lived up to the standard set in the 1990s by Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas. Good luck with that.
But the Cowboys do keep putting running backs into the NFL. Tatum Bell rushed for 2,773 yards in four pro seasons. Vernand Morency rushed for 726 yards over three years. Dantrell Savage ran for 98 yards in two seasons. Keith Toston gained 54 yards as a rookie last season. Reggie White got into five games with the Jags but never carried.
So that’s five OSU tailbacks in the 2000s alone who have at least played in the NFL. Impressive. And now Kendall Hunter will be six. He also has a chance to be the best since Sanders and Thomas.
Hunter, a fourth-round draft pick of the 49ers last spring, gained 105 yards on nine carries Saturday night in an exhibition game against the Raiders, including a 53-yard touchdown run. Hunter is listed No. 3 on the depth chart behind Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon, but Gore is oft-injured, and there’s talk in San Francisco that Hunter could carve out a bunch of playing time.
“He’s done considerably well,” 49er coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game. In addition to the running, Hunter has shown the ability to catch the ball, and his blocking has been a pleasant surprise — he upended a blitzing Raider linebacker 49er running back coach Tom Rathman, a former Nebraska (and 49er) fullback “has him working on that quite a bit in practice and he’s really done a good job.”
Hunter was a two-time all-American at OSU but arrived in Stillwater with little fanfare. Same in San Francisco.
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