CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When The Sporting News rolled out its Freshman All-America team, Marshall's D.J. Hunter was on the list.
That should be no surprise, considering that in his first year with the Thundering Herd, he totaled a whopping 102 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
Funny thing about that honor, though. Look down that roster of the magazine's top freshmen in the country, and Hunter is there as a defensive back ... a position at which he played all of one game in 2012.
Was it a typo? An oversight?
Or was it ESP?
Hunter is back on the field this spring and back at his old strong safety position, a spot he feels is more natural and a spot that will keep him on the field in any scenario.
With new coordinator Chuck Heater at the helm of the defense, Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said the packages will be a little different this season than they were last season under former coordinator Chris Rippon. Fans will see more five- and six-defensive-back sets in Heater's defense, which means linebackers will head to the sideline.
"When you do that, you don't want D.J. sitting on the bench watching," Holliday said. "You want him in there playing. At that safety position, he won't come out."
He rarely came out of games last season, starting 11 of the 12 he played. He came off the bench as a strong safety at West Virginia, as the Herd started Raheem Waiters at strong side linebacker. One week later, Hunter usurped Waiters as the top man on the strong side and stayed there the rest of the season.
Marshall coaches had to fill two big holes in the Herd's secondary this offseason, as last year's starters at strong safety and free safety - Boston College transfers Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha - both graduated.