Joe Davidson

Del Campo all-star linebacker’s next big challenges: Pre-med and college football

Del Campo Marshaun Hunter, center, runs for a first down while being tackled by Granite Bay’s Zach Grable (7) and Jaylen Latson (21) on Nov. 24, 2017. Hunter will play for the South team in the Optimist All-Star Football Classic on Saturday at Sacramento State.
Del Campo Marshaun Hunter, center, runs for a first down while being tackled by Granite Bay’s Zach Grable (7) and Jaylen Latson (21) on Nov. 24, 2017. Hunter will play for the South team in the Optimist All-Star Football Classic on Saturday at Sacramento State. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Marshaun Hunter is a linebacker who cannot wait to study biology in college.

The Del Campo High School senior aspires to be a doctor, to study the body and brain, to help people. He also strives to impose his will as a tackling terror and disruptive force on the football field.

Hunter, an affable sort, laughs at the irony.

“My family and friends push me to greatness,” Hunter said. “I like biology and chemistry. I’m ready for big challenges.”

Hunter will have an array of challenges on Saturday night as he will suit up in Del Campo colors one last time, representing the South team in the 60th Optimist All-Star Football Classic for Camp Ross Relles. Kickoff is 6 p.m. at Sacramento State.

Practices have also been held at Hornet Stadium, and how fitting, since this venue will soon be home for Hunter.

He made it official with Sac State during the early signing period on Dec. 21, when he turned 18.

“Great birthday,” Hunter said. “When (Sac State coach Jody) Sears called me to offer me a scholarship, I didn’t know what to say. I was so excited. My heart was excited. It was a big accomplishment.”

Hunter’s versatility and instincts got him on the recruiting radar, and a chance to play at home in front of family made the Hornets offer too good to pass up. South coach Max Miller deemed Hunter the most impactful player he saw in 2017, and the famed mentor has soaked in a lot of games in retirement.

“Best player in town,” Miller said during the South practice in the rain on Wednesday. Miller’s staff includes Del Campo coach Mike Dimino.

Said Dimino, “Marshaun can do it all. He just plays.”

Hunter also competes in class as a 3.8 student. He was a new arrival to Del Campo, having moved last spring from Elk Grove, where he had 22.5 tackles for loss as a linebacker for an 11-2 team.

But a job switch for his mother, LaTasha, prompted a move closer to Del Campo’s Fair Oaks campus last spring. Hunter fit in by soaking in everything – academics to athletics. He got to know Del Campo quarterback Tyler Dimino, one of the North quarterbacks, and he soon stood out in summer conditioning drills.

Hunter led Del Campo in tackles with more than 100, blocked kicks and punts and caught 12 touchdowns for the Cougars, who produced their first 10-0 regular season since opening in 1963. Del Campo finished 12-1, falling to Granite Bay 9-6 in the Division II section semifinals.

Hunter earned first-team Bee All-Metro honors at linebacker. Enjoying his games were an older sister and four younger brothers. He said he prides himself in being a role model to those brothers.

“One brother tells me I inspire him,” Hunter said. “That’s another reason I want to be a doctor, and to grow from there. Future kids of mine, my brothers, they will be able to see through me that anything is possible. If they follow my lead, they can do anything.”

Hunter is already poring through medical text books. He has also studied concussion symptoms, “the cause and effect,” he said, adding that he helped a teammate last fall to the sideline after a jarring hit.

“It was hard to tell him he needed to go, but it was for the greater good,” Hunter said.

South notes – The South offensive line will have two scholarly tackles in Bee All-Metro bookends Andrew Cokley of Vista del Lago, headed to Cal Poly, and Del Campo’s Jordan Ford, headed to UC Davis.

The South will look to pass with Dimino of Del Campo and Derek Shelton of Sacramento, and catch with Del Campo receiver Trevor Brouhns, Sacramento receiver Anthony Bradley and Franklin tight end/hybrid Brady Johnson. The South will run with Del Campo’s Greg Cabral, Vacaville’s Tim Jackson, Vista del Lago’s Dominick Norris and Bradshaw Christian’s Gerrett Robbins. Norris led the section in rushing yards with 2,227 yards while scoring 25 touchdowns.

North notes – There is lot of bulk in the trenches on the offensive line with Tucker Dunbar and Noah Lunday of Folsom, Darrell Abraham and Oscar Umana of Grant, and Howard Filbert of Whitney, Austin Parker of Casa Roble, Trey Price of Christian Brothers and Luke Sedrik of Woodcreek.

Line coach Scott Brownholtz can appreciate the blockers. He played center at Georgia and is the son-in-law of a center – North coach John Volek, who played the position at Placer, Sierra College and UC Riverside.

“As (South coach) Max Miller exits the practice field ever day, I have been reminding him we average 295 pounds on the line,” Brownholtz said.

Passing fancy – Gunnor Faulk of Christian Brothers, who set school passing records, will look for Jadon Johnson of Natomas, Gabe Thomas of Antelope and Lincoln record breaker James Sweet. The North also has bruising fullbacks and Bee All-Metro picks Austin Baze of Bear River and Jason Gallager of Jesuit.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

If you go

  • What: 60th Optimist All-Star Game
  • When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Sacramento State
  • Tickets: $12 (at the gate)
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