Notre Dame wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. announced Thursday that he will be following in his father's footsteps and pursuing a career in professional baseball rather than returning to South Bend for a fifth season in 2017.
Hunter was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 23rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft and signed with the team, allowing him to play this fall. Hunter, who redshirted his freshman year in 2013, will not look to come back for a fifth season and instead will join the Angels' organization, where his father Torii Hunter Sr. played for five years.
Hunter Jr. was second on the Irish in receiving in 2016 with 38 receptions for 521 yards and three touchdowns. With quarterback DeShone Kizer likely entering the NFL Draft, quarterback Malik Zaire transferring and now Hunter departing for baseball, the Irish passing game will feature different faces in 2017.
In his four years at Notre Dame, Hunter appeared in only 23 games with the baseball team, going 2 for 12 (.167) with seven strikeouts at the plate. For the most part, his speed was employed in a pinch-running role.
The Angels currently have the worst farm system in baseball and MLB.com does not list Hunter among their top 30 prospects. Baseball America did not rank Hunter among the top 13 prospects in Indiana before the 2016 draft.