To football fans around the Glass City, Kareem Hunt was already a household name; with his recent performance in the National Football League, everyone is talking about Hunt.
His journey is a modest one. He began on the practice squad for Toledo before the staff realized that this was not the place for a guy with the talent that he has, and Hunt took over as the starting running back in only his second season on campus.
What followed was three seasons of 1,650 yards, 999 yards and 1,512 yards. Hunt was an absolute superstar for the Rockets, finishing second in school history in rushing yards behind Toledo legend Chester Taylor.
Toledo never won less than eight games in Hunt’s four seasons, and they made it to a bowl game each year. He had some incredible teammates, including Storm Norton, Trent Voss and Logan Woodside, but there was no question he was the leader.
He has a chance to better than them all to succeed in the NFL. He was drafted in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs to be mainly a backup running back. An injury to the starter in the preseason saw Hunt take over, and he never looked back.
In his first two NFL games, he has 355 total yards and five touchdowns. He helped his Chiefs defeat the Patriots in an impressive fashion, then defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20, a game in which Hunt scored two touchdowns. Against the defending champion Patriots, Hunt caught a 70-yard touchdown pass to announce his presence in the NFL.
The league has not seen a rookie running back put up those type of numbers since Marshall Faulk, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Like Faulk, Hunt can catch the ball out of the backfield as well as run in between the tackles, which means he can play on all three downs.
The team he was drafted to is important. His head coach, Andy Reid, an offensive-minded coach, is known for having a great running game. Reid has coached running backs like Brian Westbrook, Lesean McCoy and Jamaal Charles.
These are all guys who have had massive success under Reid and Hunt appears to be the next in line. All of these guys have the ability to run and catch the ball, which is what Reid is looking for.
He has found a guy who rarely has to come off of the field because of his versatility. The Chiefs have looked like the best team in football early on. Hunt adds an explosive option out of the backfield to go with playmakers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill on the outside.
We all knew the Chiefs were good, but when they embarrassed the Patriots on their home field to open the season, it appeared to be something different this year. Then on Sunday, they beat an Eagles team who many people picked to go to the playoffs this year.
The biggest difference seems to be Hunt coming out of the backfield. He will continue get the ball and looks to be squarely in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year. No pun intended. The Chiefs have playmakers and a very good defense, so they will be a playoff team and have a real chance to make it to the Super Bowl.
It will be a heavy load on his shoulders, but I think his time in Toledo has prepared him for the job.