COLUMBIA — Jimmie Hunt does not want to predict the number of touchdowns he will score this year.
He is not trying to be politically correct. He just thinks that whatever number he provides will not be enough.
“I don’t want to limit myself,” Hunt said. “It’s going to be a lot.”
That’s quite a bit of confidence from a junior receiver who caught 11 passes last season. Of course, he averaged 18.1 yards on those catches and racked up three receiving touchdowns to go along with an 87-yard kickoff return score.
But when will all of this year's touchdowns materialize?
The crop of wide receivers is thick. Dorial Green-Beckham, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas have already made headlines with superior spring and fall performances. To crack the starting lineup, Hunt has to beat out those guys.
A high ankle sprain and ensuing surgery in the spring didn't help his cause, but he’s been running at full speed in recent weeks and is filled to the brim with confidence.
"As long as I'm healthy, I'm going to win," he said.
Hunt does have one advantage over the other players in his position group: pure speed.
“Jimmy brings great explosiveness,” said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. “He can catch the ball and accelerate out of the break fast. His five- and 10-yard acceleration is really outstanding.”
Pinkel said that poor quarterback and offensive line play brought down everyone’s stats last season, not just Hunt’s. He said the Tigers will use him much more in 2013.
Hunt's teammates are already envisioning the fireworks.
“He’s going to get more of a chance to show that explosiveness this year,” said Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy. “When the season comes and you see Jimmie Hunt going across the field, don’t be surprised when he catches a pass and breaks it for a 60-yard touchdown.”
Hunt said his teammates call him “Touchdown" Jimmie Hunt, but he also has a reputation as a foul-mouthed trash-talker.
He chews the ears off of Missouri defenders during practice. It’s a ploy, he said, to make sure they give him their best effort.
“I talk a good game to the defensive players,” Hunt said. “Let ‘em know when I touch it, I’m gonna go score, so you better come with it, ‘cause I’m bringing it.
“That right there fires ‘em up and lets them know that I’m about my business.”
Hunt hopes his on-field business will help lead the Tigers to more wins this year.
"We're all pretty confident in our ability," said the man of unlimited touchdowns. "I feel like I'm overly confident."