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Draft Buzz: Catching up with Ball State RB Caleb Huntley

caleb huntley ball state
Ball State running back Caleb Huntley is one of the most underrated prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. He recently sat down with Jon-Michael Salter of NFL Draft Diamonds.

Ball State, Running-back, Caleb Huntley, is arguably one of College footballs, most underrated runner’s. At 5’10 230 LB’s, light feet, that help him get on his horses quickly, and a violent punch, to break tackles. Huntley is a load to deal with. Think thunder and lighting, all in one dynamic runner. With over 2,600 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns, and a tape full of highlights, you can see why NFL scouts, are keeping a close eye, on the Georgia, native. I sat down with the Locust Grove High School, alum, to pick his brain about his style of play, among other things. But before that, I spoke to an NFL scout in the AFC, that had some kind words to say about the rising star.

“Just put on the tape. Really, that is all you need to do, to be sold on this kid. He is big and strong, yet he is sneaky fast, very athletic, and a good teammate, from what we are told. I love his game, really I love MAC football, and Huntley is the epitome of MAC football. I think as far as Draft status, you never know really, that is such a fluid thing, but him on a roster, I wouldn’t put it past him. That team (Ball State) is stacked with talent, and in my opinion, they go as he does. He sets the tone, he has the big runs that gets the fans going. Gets the line juiced and ready to play. He is great, great to watch, he will lower his shoulder, spin out of nowhere, and break a long run. It is such a fun playstyle, how can you not enjoy this kids game?”

Needless to say the future is bright for the Ball State product. While he is an amazing runner, it was his personality that stood out to me. Extremely humble in his words, he lit up when I asked him about his teammates, which says a lot about the person he is, when he is more excited to talk about the guys around him, even in an interview about him. To get a feel for the RB, I asked Huntley, who he was outside of football?

“Man, I am a very laid back guy. Very chilled, I am definitely an outside kind of guy, like to be outside, I like to fish. I can enjoy being by myself, or with family and friends. Not really a big hype guy or a wild guy. You won’t see me doing all that, but being in nature, relaxing, those are my things, those are things I like to do.”

Moving forward, I asked him who he was on the field?

“Well, I am the same guy. But, at the same time, I like to set the tone. I stay engaged in the game, in what my team is doing. Always like to know the situation. I don’t get too high or too low, I think if you worry about what you can control you should be good. That is really all I do, and I think that spills over to my personality, on the field. While I can get excited and a little hype, I usually only get like that for my teammates. Or a big play, but I guess it depends on the game as well, what was going on around us. If we need a pick me up or to get back into it, I can adjust. ”

As far as his game goes. Huntley is a true tone-setter. With his ability to wreck the middle of a defense, with his strong punch, or the speed to pull away from defenders, and take it the distance. What I think I found the most interesting was how well he understands what defenses are trying to do. He never really seems to be out of position, as he finds blitzes, or open men, to block, in which he does well. He rarely takes a misstep, which helps him in any assignment. I asked the versatile kid, where he found the most comfort on the field? Did he like mixing it up in the middle of the defense, or he rather take a carry outside, and pull away?

“Honestly, I don’t care at all. Coach gives me my job I am going to do it. I have always been like that, I learned that in my everyday life, to get your work done. I do it the same on the field. I will go inside and do the dirty work, getting the short yards, or blocking, or whatever they need. I will lead block, I will take a pitch outside, it doesn’t matter to me really.”

Continuing on he spoke more about his play style.

“I think I can help in both the passing game and run game. I can catch passes, I can block, and I can run the ball. I feel comfortable doing it all. That is our coaching staff always getting us ready, that is the work we put in as players. I am not the only one like it either, my teammates can do it all, as well. I feel confident in all the guys around me to be able to make the play when needed. That is how we all approach it, that is how I will always approach it. I think versatility is key, the more you can do the better. For this team, or at the next level.”

It is easy to see why scouts and the media alike are salivating at the thought of Huntley playing at the next level. He has the goods to be a legit star for years to come. But it is the man beyond the field that makes you want to root for him. Humble, kind, generous, and a good teammate. the kind of guy you want with you on the foxhole, take it from a guy who has literally been to war. While his tape is impressive, and will no doubt get him a few looks at the next level. It is his humble approach to life, that makes you want to be a fan of the kid I have dubbed “Thunder and Lightning”.

Follow me @JonM_Salter

Veteran, Father, Husband, football lover. Sports writer.

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