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New England Patriots Top 30 Visit: Houston Christian ED Jalyx Hunt

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NFL Draft prospect Jalyx Hunt of Houston Christian (All Images are Copyright to Juan DeLeon Creative)

Every NFL franchise is allowed to invite up to 30 draft prospects to visit their facilities and meet with the members of the organization before the NFL Draft. These selections range from first-round targets to players who might be available as undrafted free agents. As news about the New England Patriots Top 30 visits surface, Patriots Football Now will highlight each of the visitors. Today’s feature is Houston Christian edge defender Jalyx Hunt.

College Career

Jalyx Hunt was not ranked by any of the major recruiting services coming out of University High School in Orange City, Fla. He was given preferred walk-on opportunities at CFP schools (Florida, Marshall, SMU) but did not receive any major scholarship offers.

Hunt committed to Cornell. He spent three seasons as part of the Big Red program. Hunt’s time with Cornell was unremarkable for a player being talked about as an NFL Draft prospect. He appeared in seven games as a freshman in 2019, recording three tackles. The Ivy League canceled the 2020 season due to COVID. As a junior, Hunt played in all ten Cornell games, making 26 tackles.

The 2022 season found Jalyx Hunt with a new team and a new position. He transferred to Houston Christian. The coaching staff moved Hunt from safety to edge, primarily using him as an outside linebacker.

“I really just started growing late,” Hunt told FCS Football Central. “I got to Cornell, at first I was 195. If you want to play with the big boys, you got to get bigger so I just automatically gained weight off of eating and lifting weights being in a college program. Got up to 235 when I transferred and when I transferred my coach thought I’d be better playing that outside linebacker, edge position.”

Jaylx Hunt thrived in his new home. He started all 11 games and earned second-team All-Southland Conference honors. His 2023 season proved to be even more impressive, with Hunt receiving the 2023 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. During his two seasons with the HCU Huskies, Hunt recorded 133 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and forced five fumbles.

NFL Draft

Jaylx Hunt received invitations to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. Despite his relatively low profile and lack of experience against major competition (or at his position), he did not appear out of place at either event.

Hunt measured 6-foot-4 and weighed in at 252 pounds at the combine. A far cry from his 195-pound frame as a freshman safety at Cornell. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash. Only one edge at his weight ran a faster time. Hunt graded out as the fifth most athletic edge at the combine. This was aided by an impressive 37.5″ vertical and the longest broad jump in his group.

While Hunt having played against lower competition and being inexperienced as an edge might work against him being ready to contribute in 2024, it could help his draft stock. There appears to be a ton of untapped potential for a player who is continuing to improve, even after five years of college. Hunt went in the fifth round (No. 172 overall) of the seven-round NFL Mock Draft on Patriots Football Now. No question there is an opportunity for him to go significantly higher.

Jalyx Hunt is an intriguing prospect based on his combination of size, speed, and productivity. One can argue if he went to an SEC school he’s be a first-round draft pick. There’s also an argument that had Hunt played for a major program he never would have gotten on the field. NFL decision-makers now need to figure out if Hunt is just a late bloomer who Houston Christian was fortunate enough to find as a diamond in the rough. He has shown enough tools for a team to use a high Day 3 selection and find out.

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