Junior to Watch: Hunter Cantwell
School: Paducah (Ky.) Tilghman
Size and speed: Cantwell is a gifted all-around athlete with a tremendous frame. He is 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and has recorded a personal best of 4.65 in the 40-yard dash.
Honors: As a junior, Cantwell was an honorable mention all-state selection. He may have threatened for one of the top spots on those teams if it were not for the stellar play of fellow Bluegrass State quarterbacks Michael Bush, Brian Brohm, Justin Haddix and Andre Woodson. He was also named first-team All-Western Kentucky by the coaches association in that part of the state.
Statistics: Cantwell completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,356 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior, leading the Blue Tornado to a 10-3 record and the third round of the Class 3A playoffs. He’s thrown for 5,002 yards and 52 touchdowns in his career.
Favorite Schools: Cantwell made three unofficial visits to Kentucky last season and has received a lot of interest from the Wildcats. He’s also received letters from Illinois and Arizona State early in the process. Tennessee, Georgia and Ole Miss are other personal favorites.
Skinny: The 2003 season figures to be a banner year for Paducah Tilghman with Cantwell and high-profile teammate Joe Casey (2,358 yards, 30 TD rushing as junior) powering a dangerous Blue Tornado offense. He says the early recruiting interest has been flattering, but his focus is on one thing as a senior.
“I just want to win a championship,” he said. “We’ve got so much talent on this team, if I do what I’m capable of doing, the statistics are going to fall in place and I’m going to have a lot of college opportunities.”
Who, if anyone, has the early edge?
“Well, I was born in Chattanooga (Tenn.), so I grew up liking the Vols a lot. They’ve always been one of my favorite teams,” he said. “But I like Kentucky a lot, too. I got a chance to see them play a few times last year. It’s nice up there. A few others are Illinois, Arizona State, Georgia and Ole Miss.”
Cantwell hasn’t decided which camps he’ll be attending this spring and summer, although he’s thinking about making a third trip to the Bowden Quarterback Camp in Alabama.