Jarquez Hunter Sets Historic Mark

Sep 8, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Jarquez Hunter (27) runs longest touchdown run between Auburn and Alabama State at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Sep 8, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Jarquez Hunter (27) runs longest touchdown run between Auburn and Alabama State at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

It isn't often that Auburn has had a freshman rush for 100 yards in his first game. The first to do it was the legendary Bo Jackson, and it didn't happen again until 2009, when freshman Onterio McCalebb outran Louisiana Tech for 148 yards on the ground.

On Saturday, Jarquez Hunter became the first to break the century mark at Auburn in both of his first two games. Against Akron on September 4th, Hunter burst onto the scene in the second half with 110 yards on the ground, capping off his night with a nine-yard touchdown run. Against Alabama State, Hunter turned eight carries into an astounding 147 yards, including a record-breaking 94-yard touchdown run down the middle of the field. It is the longest run in Auburn history, breaking a record that has stood since 1936.

Hunter was a late pickup in the 2021 class. A three-star running back out of Philadelphia, Mississippi, he received only a handful of offers until January of 2021, less than a month before National Signing Day. He then received scholarship offers from Auburn, Iowa, and Virginia, ultimately choosing the Tigers on February 5, 2021.

The pickup was a move to bolster a thin running back room, and reports began to flood in over the summer of Hunter's progress in summer workouts and in fall camp. By virtue of his freshman status, he was listed as the third-string running back on the fall depth chart, behind superstar Tank Bigsby and senior Shaun Shivers.

And with Shivers unavailable to play Saturday, Hunter made the most of being the second running back on the board.

Bryan Harsin praised Hunter's humility after a headlining performance. "What I love about Jarquez is... for him, it's just a matter of 'how do I continue to keep getting better?'"

Hunter also competed in track and field when he was in high school, and fans could see that level of speed on his 94-yard run. When asked, Hunter said he was "feeling adrenaline" and had a smile on his face knowing that it was going to be his last drive of the game and he had made the most of it.

Two games into the season, Hunter leads the team in rushing yards with 257 yards on just 17 touches, an average of 15.1 yards per carry. He's also recorded one reception for a 14-yard gain.

If Shivers is unavailable again next Saturday, the Tigers could look to Hunter again when they take on No. 11 Penn State. Kickoff for that game is set for 6:30 p.m. CST and ESPN College Gameday will be there.

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