Johnson "Jeep" Hunter III is in his third season with the Gamecocks. Hunter moves over to the defensive side of the ball in 2011, overseeing the Gamecock safeties. He spent his first two seasons in Columbia coaching the tight ends and serving as an assistant special teams coordinator after being hired on Feb. 3, 2009.
The safety position is not unfamilar territory for Hunter, as much of his early career was spent on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. In a prior stop at Eastern Kentucky the versatile coach mentored a highly-ranked Division I-AA secondary.
Johnson, 44, oversaw Patrick DiMarco's transition from fullback to tight end in 2010, where the team captain was a key blocker for a much-improved Gamecock rushing attack. DiMarco also had a career-high three touchdowns among his 15 catches for 147 yards.
In 2009, his first season in Columbia, Hunter's top tight end, junior Weslye Saunders, was among the Gamecock leaders with 32 receptions for 353 and and three touchdowns.
Prior to his arrival in the Palmetto State, Hunter spent two seasons (2006-07) as the tight ends coach at Georgia Tech, where he mentored Michael Matthews, who was a member of the 2007 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Hunter went to Georgia Tech after working the previous three seasons on Tommy West's staff at Memphis. While at Memphis, he helped coach All-America running back DeAngelo Williams, the nation's leading rusher in 2005 at 178.6 yards per game. Williams rushed for more than 6,000 yards and 55 touchdowns in his career and finished as the NCAA's all-time leader in all-purpose yards. Hunter helped the Tigers reach a bowl game each of his three seasons in Memphis.
A native of Denver, N.C., Hunter went to Memphis in 2003 after two seasons at Eastern Kentucky, where he coached the secondary. In 2001, the Colonels ranked in the top 10 in NCAA Division I-AA in all defensive categories. At Eastern Kentucky, he coached safety Yeremiah Bell, who has gone on to a Pro Bowl career with the Miami Dolphins.
Hunter served an NFL Minority Internship with the St. Louis Rams in the summer of 2001. Prior to that, he spent one season (2000) coaching defensive backs at UT-Chattanooga.
Hunter first worked with Tommy West at Clemson, where he served as a graduate assistant for two seasons (1996-97) and then spent one year as Assistant Athletics Director for Football Management.
Hunter played his collegiate football at Catawba College, an NAIA Division II school in Salisbury, N.C., for three years before suffering a career-ending knee injury. He remained at Catawba as a student assistant coach from 1987-1990 before moving on to Bandys High School in Catawba, N.C., as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator for three seasons (1991-93).
From 1994-96, Hunter was an assistant football coach at North Carolina A&T State University, where he worked with wide receivers, outside linebackers and defensive backs.
Hunter received his bachelor's degree in business administration/physical education from Catawba College in 1991.
He is married to the former Susan Potokar of Cleveland, Ohio. The couple has three children, a daughter, Sophia Marie, and two sons, Joshua and Jude.