Since 2006, Ball State Football has had 12 players hail from Muncie, with countless others calling Indiana home.
Fast forward 14 years later, and there are three players from Muncie on Ball State’s 2020 roster. The last time the Cardinals didn’t have a player from Muncie was 2015.
Next season, Ball State will welcome another Muncie-based product.
On May 1, the Cardinals received a verbal commitment from Delta High School senior quarterback Brady Hunt via Twitter. He is the first Delta product to join the Cardinals since current Ball State redshirt senior offensive lineman Kaleb Slaven and the first Eagles’ quarterback to become a Cardinal since Ozzie Mann in 2012.
Hunt vividly remembers when Ball State offensive coordinator Kevin Lynch first reached out to him.
“I was shocked,” Hunt said. “I've been on a couple visits, but one day, coach Lynch texted me and said [he] and coach [Mike] Neu would be coming in. They took me into the coaches’ office and just said that they wanted me on the team, and I was kind of speechless. I didn't really know what to say back, but I definitely left the room with a smile on my face.”
There are currently seven quarterbacks on Ball State’s roster. While Hunt isn’t guaranteed to immediately see on-field action, he knows a thing or two about competing for a starting job.
Hunt played quarterback throughout middle school. However, in his freshman year at Delta, he just wanted to get on the field, and he decided to take on a receiver role.
At the end of his freshman season, though, Hunt knew exactly what he wanted.
“We had our one-on-one meetings with our players,” Delta head coach Chris Overholt said. “When I was having my one-on-one with Brady, he looked me in the eyes and told me he wanted to be the quarterback here and he’ll do whatever it takes.”
Overholt said Hunt competed with a returning senior for the spot and ended up winning the role in the summer heading into his sophomore season.
“He's a student of the game and a great teammate,” Overholt said. “Anytime you have a smart kid that plays and works hard and cheers for his teammates, I think you're in a lucky spot. No matter what his role has been, he’s been a great role model for Delta football, and he also just continued to get better on the physical side.”
Hunt echoed similar sentiments when describing his coach of the last four years.
“Coach [Overholt] taught me how to be a better man and how to build relationships with anybody,” Hunt said. “Football teaches you a lot more than what's on the field, and he's taught me how to be a good community member, how to be a leader and how to pick guys up when they’re down.”
Overholt said he could tell early on in Hunt’s career he was coaching a potential Division I athlete.
“I thought his sophomore year that he was a Division I guy — a guy that could do it if he had the drive to work and get to that level, especially with his natural body frame and how athletic he is,” Overholt said.
However, football isn’t the only sport where Hunt’s talents lie.
When deciding what school to attend to continue his academic and athletic careers, Hunt also had to choose what sport he wanted to play in college. While Ball State was the only school to recruit him for football, Indiana Wesleyan offered him a spot on its men’s basketball team.
“I feel like my ceiling is higher in football,” Hunt said. “As far as Ball State goes, they checked off all the boxes that I wanted: great school, great team, great coaches and I get to stay close to home.”
This past season, Hunt led the Eagles to an 8-3 record and their first sectional championship game since 2016. He finished the year completing 76 of 152 passes for 1,078 yards and 14 touchdowns. On the ground, Hunt added 150 carries for 850 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Hunt said he is looking forward to running out onto the field in Scheumann Stadium come fall 2021 and working his way up the ranks to become the first Delta quarterback to start for the Cardinals since 2012. He added that he hopes his skill set and sense of leadership will bring Ball State a couple of Mid-American Conference Championships along the way.
“This is something that I've always dreamed of as a kid: being able to play a sport at the Division I level,” Hunt said. “I'm excited to get in there, get to work, hopefully earn a starting spot and help [Ball State] win a lot of games.”