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Hunter Dennis

Dennis still active in sports life

By Michael Butler

Hunter Dennis might be done as a player, but he is still a part of the game. The former Tallassee sports athlete is now coaching.

Hunter is an assistant coach with New Life Christian Academy's football and baseball programs.

"Oatmeal," the monniker he was given in his hometown, is rarely uttered anymore.

"I hear it when I'm here," he said. "Montgomery doesn't know me by that."

Hunter's father, the late Michael Dennis, was better known as "Grits." Trey Taylor played football with him.

"Back in the day, there would be a surplus of grits at lunch time," Trey recalled. "They would put it out on the table with that commodity cheese and make cheese grits. Grits would go out there and take spoonfuls and fill his whole plate with grits. That's how he got his nickname."

Dennis wearing the same number his dad wore (74) during his senior year in 2012

So, how did Oatmeal come about?

"I was playing Dixie Youth Baseball," he said. "We had a little team party for my birthday. Mickey Coleman and my dad were coaches. Mickey wrapped my gift up and said, 'You're going to like this one.' I open it up and it's a box of oatmeal. He goes, 'That's your nickname now.' It's stuck ever since I was nine or ten."

Hunter said he doesn't even eat like the taste of oatmeal; however, he does still love sports. The former baller was on the 2012 Tallassee football team that ended its season in heartbreak fashion with a 41-40 overtime loss at Dora.

"It was tough."

On the game's final play, the Tigers' Dijon Paschal was stopped short of the goal line on the decisive two-point play. Was he really short or was he in?

"Tracy Harris and I pushed him in, so we know for a fact he was in on top of five or six other guys. They claimed his knee touched the ground, but he was on top of everybody."

A 2013 THS graduate, Hunter continued his football career at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

Hunter's dad Michael "Grits" Dennis in 1984

"College sports is year-round. It was fun, intense and exciting. Coach (Mike) Turk was a great coach.

Ironically, he played with my dad at Troy."

Grits was all-state honorable mention during his senior season at Tallassee in 1984.

"We won three conference championships," Hunter said of his Huntigdon experience. "We were Division III. People think it's different. College ball is college ball. It's all the same."

Now 24, Hunter works in the Business Department at Huntingdon with his degree in hand.

"They're thinking about moving me to academic advisor. They want younger people to interact with students. The college is small. It's nice and I enjoy it."