NCAA Football: Boston College at Duke

Boston College tight end Hunter Long catches a pass during a game last September against Duke.

Tight end Hunter Long has yet to suit up for an NFL game, but he already knows what it’s like to play for Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

Long, an Exeter resident who was selected by Miami in the third round (81st overall) of this year’s NFL Draft, was on a team coached by Flores and the Dolphins staff at this year’s Senior Bowl, a college all-star game featuring draft-eligible players. Flores must have liked what he saw in Long, because he also attended Long’s workout during Boston College’s Pro Day in March.

Like Long, Flores is a Boston College graduate.

“I was excited to add an Eagle,” Flores said in a press conference Friday following the second day of the NFL draft. “He’s the typical Boston College player — he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s team-first.”

Long will join a Miami roster that includes five other tight ends. Two of those players — Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe — are scheduled to become free agents following the 2021 season.

“I went down there and showed what I could do and built connection with all the coaches,” Long said when he was asked about playing for the Dolphins staff at the Senior Bowl. “Obviously I was able to talk with them throughout the week. It was an awesome week for me.

“I’m excited to get down there (Miami) and meet my new teammates.

Long led all tight ends nationally in receptions (57) and ranked second in receiving yards (685), behind Florida’s Kyle Pitts, during the 2020 season. He finished second in Boston College history for single-season receptions by a tight end, trailing only Pete Mitchell’s 66 receptions in 1993.

Long completed his college career with 89 receptions for 1,297 yards and nine touchdowns.

“At BC, my goal each year was to improve at what my weaknesses were,” Long said. “I think I was able to do that every year there. I had great teammates around me this year, and a great quarterback and a great staff that allowed me to utilize my talents to the best of my ability,”

Long played tight end and multiple defensive positions at Exeter High School. He helped the Blue Hawks reach the 2015 NHIAA Division I championship game — a 42-14 loss to Goffstown — and also played in the CHaD New Hampshire East-West All-Star Game.

He said coming from New Hampshire made him that much more determined to prove his doubters wrong.

“I had no offers coming out of my senior year of high school,” he said. “I had to do a fifth year (at Deerfield Academy) to get a couple offers, but I think it’s allowed me to play with a chip on my shoulder. Every time I take the field it’s another chance to prove the people wrong who didn’t believe in me early on in my career. It also made me have to take advantage of the few opportunities I had. It put some pressure on me to step up and be the player I believed I could be.

“I love my coaches from high school and the guys I played with. I’m grateful for the journey I took. I wouldn’t want to change it for anything.”

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