New Hampshire

NH Native and Boston College Eagle Is Among Top Tight Ends in NFL Draft

Hunter Long, who went to Exeter High School and Deerfield Academy before playing for the Boston College Eagles, is ready for the 2021 NFL Draft

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A New Hampshire native is gearing up for what could be the biggest night of his life.

Hunter Long went to Exeter High School and then Deerfield Academy before playing tight end for the Boston College Eagles. He's now considered one of the top tight ends in this year's NFL Draft.

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Long's parents tell NBC10 Boston it was long before he played football at Exeter High that he had his sights set on the NFL, and in the next few days, those dreams could very well come true.

"In the fourth grade, he came to us with a list of the reasons why he should play tackle football," said Hunter's mom, Jean Long.

For Jean and her husband, Stephen, it seemed like just yesterday that their only son, Hunter, was a little kid with a big dream.

"His hero was Brett Favre, and he wrote that someday, he hoped to play in the NFL like Brett Favre, and I still have that," Jean Long recalled.

Now, Hunter Long is 6'5" tall, 253 pounds, and considered one of the top five tight ends in this year's NFL Draft.

"We are just so incredibly proud of him," Jean Long said.

"It's a dream come true, it's been a dream of mine forever, it's crazy that it's here now," Hunter Long said, looking at the pile of team hats sent to him by the NFL for Thursday's draft.

So, how'd the kid from New Hampshire who didn't have a college scholarship out of high school get here?

"The biggest thing was I didn't take no for an answer," he said.

Long decided to take a post-grad year at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.

His former coach, Brian Barbato, says he's a hard worker who puts his teammates before himself.

"I believe Hunter is a first-round draft pick," Barbato said. "He is a first-round pick as a person, he is a first-round pick as a teammate, unequivocally, he is a star."

Long says he plays with a chip on his shoulder, which helped fuel his standout season Boston College last fall.

"I got so few opportunities and overlooked so many times, that that's kind of been the motivation the whole way," Long said.

"He's always worked hard, he will always work hard, and that's not just in football," Stephen Long said.

Experts say the 22-year-old is one of the most well-rounded tight ends in the draft and, like his former coach, some are projecting first-round potential.

"All I can say is there's a ton of interest, and I'm grateful for the interest I got," Hunter Long said.

His dreams of playing in the NFL will likely be realized soon, but as a lifelong Green Bay fan, playing for the Packers would just be icing on the cake.

"My bedroom used to be painted in Packers colors," he said, laughing. "It would be full circle, so that would be cool."

When asked whether he was nervous, he said the nerves have worn off.

"I am confident with what I put forth to the teams, it's out of my hands now, so less nervous, more anxious," Long said.

The NFL sent Long a camera setup for his living room that will be rolling throughout the draft.

When a team finally calls Long's name, people watching the broadcast will see him put on his new team's hat and celebrate with his family.

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