That left Marshall without its top two tacklers in 2012. Hunter was third on that list, and Holliday often talks about putting the best 11 players in the starting lineup. So Hunter, standing 6 feet and growing from 204 pounds last season to 207 pounds this spring, slid back into his old role.
Hunter said he tried to play the strong side like a strong safety last season, so there isn't a ton of rust to knock off in terms of remembering how to be a defensive back. He'll get refresher courses on how to play deep and get back into zones. It helps that his new coordinator also is his secondary coach.
"Coach Heater is a good coach. You've seen that he's coached the best. He's been everywhere. He was at Florida when they won a national championship. Whatever he's got to say, I'm going to listen, fix the things I need to work on and try to get better every day."
Hunter will spend the spring improving his coverage skills - "Going against Tommy Shuler every day, you've just got to get better," he said - as well as his tackling. He doesn't see a huge difference between strong side linebacker and strong safety, mainly that a safety plays a little farther away from the ball. Holliday said the skills Hunter learned at linebacker won't totally go to waste.
"It's going to help him as far as his physicalness is concerned," Holliday said. "He's still a linebacker at times when you watch out there. He's got strong safety beside his name, but he's going to get dropped down into that box quite a bit and play the same thing he played a year ago. That experience he had playing in the box is going to be valuable because he'll be there at times this year."
Hunter is happy to return to an old role. He's willing to play wherever he's needed, but feels more comfortable as a strong safety.
"I'll do whatever they ask me, for real," he said. "But in my heart, I wanted to go back to safety. I was fine with it whenever they asked me to go back."
The Herd defense seems fine with the switch, too. And the folks at The Sporting News? They should go grab a Powerball ticket.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.