Not many people get a chance to meet NFL superstars as a kid, but being the son of 5-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Rison, GVSU wide receiver Hunter Rison got the unique experience to meet some of the football stars he idolized.
“I got to meet a lot of cool guys,” Rison said. “I got to meet Brett Favre and Torry Holt, and I grew up watching these guys. The fact that I was able to shake their hands and get information from them was just mind-boggling, so I’m definitely grateful for that experience.
Much like the sons of other famous athletes like Ken Griffey Jr., Steph Curry and Donovan Mitchell, Rison took the advice he learned from those pros to help him excel on the football field.
After dominating in high school at Ann Arbor Skyline and brief stints at MSU, Kansas State and Fullerton College, Rison has found a home back in his home state, where he can be closer to those he loves most.
“Family, really,” Rison said when asked what motivated him to come back to his home state. “I spend a lot of time in Michigan and it was just calling my name.”
Once he hung up his Fullerton College cleats and entered the transfer portal, GVSU coaches were some of the first to reach out to Rison, who knew he wanted to be a Laker as soon as his official visit ended in Allendale.
“Grand Valley (has) got a lot of prestige and holds a lot of weight to their football program, so as soon as they hit my phone, they automatically were at the top of the list,” Rison said. “So they flew me out for the official visit and I got to look around the campus and meet the coaching staff and honestly, I just fell in love with it. I called (head coach Matt Mitchell) a day later and we got on the process.”
Rison learned a lot of lessons from his dad over the years, and he plans on using those lessons at GVSU to improve as both a football player and as a man.
“As a man, (he said) just to stay diligent in what you do, take pride in your work and maintain professionalism throughout everything that you do — how you do one thing should be how you do everything,” Rison said. “As for on the football field, I could go on and on. He’s taught me so many things from different releases to different route techniques, just so many things that I’m very appreciative of and I take into my game now.”
This has been far from a normal off-season for Rison and the rest of the Laker football team. While they haven’t been able to practice and have had a staggering weight lifting schedule, Rison has been able to catch passes from GVSU quarterbacks to build chemistry and return to a sense of normalcy.
“We’re getting into a rhythm already,” Rison said. “I can’t even explain how good it feels just to be outside and do what I love. Any chance we get to work on that stuff is great because whichever team handles this COVID process safely and effectively is going to come out with an upper hand.”
With his final two years of eligibility, Rison is hoping to make a name for himself as Hunter, not just Andre Rison’s son.
“That was definitely part of the decision-making process when I came here,” Rison said. “Coach Mitchell let me know that he’s recruiting me, he wants me as a man and as a football player. The fact that they put that trust in me that faith in me, I’m just ready to get out there. I’m just ready to go to work.”