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Tigers keep it in family, draft Torii Hunter Jr.

Tigers keep it in family, draft Torii Hunter Jr.

Tigers keep it in family, draft Torii Hunter Jr.

It's been quite a time for Torii Hunter Jr. Last week he graduated from Prosper (Texas) High School. On Friday he celebrated his 18th birthday. And on Saturday the Tigers made him their 36th-round selection (1,086th overall) of the First-Year Player Draft.

Hunter is also a highly regarded football recruit, and he has signed a Letter of Intent to play wide receiver at Notre Dame. He recorded 71 receptions for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season, according to Yahoo! Sports, but he's also good on the diamond, although he didn't have a chance to play during his senior season due to a broken left femur, an injury he sustained in the first practice before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 1.

"It was hard for him," his father, Torii Sr., said. "He was devastated. He cried, he wanted to be out there, he was with his teammates every game in the dugout, pushing them and trying to lift them up."

When he learned after Saturday's game that his son had been drafted by the Tigers, Torii Sr. beamed. He said, "That's awesome" before laughing and later shaking general manager Dave Dombrowki's hand.

Because of the strong future that awaits him at Notre Dame, Hunter Jr. is unlikely to sign with the Tigers. He will have the opportunity to play both football and baseball in college when he's healthy.

"He's a ... really good baseball player, unfortunately he broke his leg, and he's really good at football," Torii Sr. said. "He signed with Notre Dame, so we'll sit back and we'll talk about it and try to wait, but it's good that they put the stamp on him. I like this organization, and trust me, I think he'll be taken care of here."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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