Welcome to Miami: Exeter’s Hunter Long Ready To Work for Dolphins
The selection of former Exeter Blue Hawk football player Hunter Long by the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Draft is getting mostly good reviews especially from his past and future football coaches.
Long, a tight end who played for Boston College was picked by the Dolphins Friday night in the third round, the latest stop in a football career that started at Exeter High School.
Long posted a tweet Saturday that he's already in Miami.
"Just landed in Miami for the first time, excited to be here and get to work. Fins up," he said in a video on his Twitter account.
The reaction to Long's pick were mostly positive from analysts and writers who cover the Dolphins.
"I don’t like him. I love him. In two years, we’ll be talking about a Pro Bowl tight end," NFL Network analyst and former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that Long was not quite as pleased with the pick and said he is "much too passive and unskilled as a run blocker" but liked that he makes tough catches easy especially throws near his feet.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores and former BC Eagle told the Miami Herald said he got to see Long at the Senior Bowl and liked what he saw calling him tough, smart and "team-first." That's not news to Coach Ball.
Ball couldn't say enough good things about Long as a player for the Blue Hawk team that won a state championship in 2015 and believes Long's best years as a football player are ahead of him.
"Friday night was a big night for him. He deserves all the accolades he gets," Ball told Seacoast Current, adding that he represents Exeter well thanks to his family's support and that it was a special night for the entire Long family.
"He was an incredibly talented young man. I've watched his maturation from junior high to high school to prep school to Boston College. He's incredibly athletic, he's fast, he's agile. He has tremendous ball skills. He catches anything and everything. He adjusts to the thrown ball well, he knows how to use his body well," Ball said.
Ball said Long was a "young senior" when he graduated and benefited from a fifth year of high school at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
"When he was a senior his age was chronologically with with the junior class. He went for a year to Deerfield to play for Brian Barbados who was one of my captains in 1998 and that was a really beneficial year for him. Brian did a really great job with him. Jimmy Reeve was his recruiting coach at Boston College at the time. They were really excited to get him. Really excited," Ball said.
Ball also couldn't say enough about his academic skill that the coach said makes his parents especially proud.
"He graduated Boston College in three-and-half years in computer science. He's completed his graudate degree. It just goes to show you this guy is focused. He's not 'let's go play video games.'He's focused and he knows what he wants to. He wants to have a career in the NFL.
Long is not the first Blue Hawk to make the pros, according to Ball, who said Ted Kucharski played for the NFL's Providence Steamrollers in 1930.