Hello: Ian Bunting

Submitted by Brian on April 23rd, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Yes, I have a prepared Hello post for somebody. No, it is not IL TE Ian Bunting. Michigan was thought to be trailing in his recruitment, but a visit this weekend flipped the kid unexpectedly and now he's all committed and such($). Here is a picture.

ian-bunting-e1352825300560[1]

The 6'7" Bunting is a four star to 247 and ESPN (where he's 113th), a three star to Scout and Rivals. He plays exclusively wide receiver in high school but everyone is recruiting him as a Funchess-style flex TE. A more informative update is coming.

Informative Update

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, #17 TE 3*, #14 TE 4*, #5 TE, #114 overall 4*, #11 TE

A wide split in opinion probably due to the fact that Bunting is a 6'6", 215 pound kid that requires some projection if he's going to be an effective college player. That uncertainty leads to three-star rankings, especially when Bunting missed a big chunk of his sophomore and junior years with injuries. I couldn't find details on his sophomore year; his junior issue was a sprained ankle. He only played four games.

That didn't matter to college coaches, who were hurdling over each other to offer the guy. Not only did Bunting have the big three in the Midwest he also got a USC offer(!), especially impressive given their restricted class size. Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and many others jumped on board as well. ND's Scout site thought Bunting was their top target($) at TE. Mwa ha ha.

SCOUTING

It was a little tough to find scouting out there; almost all of it came from 247 or Bunting's own mouth as he responded to the "scout yourself" question over and over again. Injuries, I guess.

What is out there emphasizes size and hands and routes. Rivals' take from a January camp:

4. IAN BUNTING, TE, HINSDALE (ILL.) CENTRAL

We have seen Bunting run at wide receiver in the past, but the 6-foot-7, 215-pound prospect has started to accept that he is headed to the tight end position in college and he performed well there on Monday. Bunting's speed creates mismatches with linebackers, and he complements that by being an outstanding route runner who possesses soft hands. His strength at the point of attack was better than expected, and he did a great job of getting off the line of scrimmage in one-on-one drills.

247 caught him a few times, mostly at Core 6 events: Wiltfong caught him at a Cincinnati event:

4. Ian Bunting: It’s a talented a year at tight end in the state of Illinois and the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Hinsdale Central standout may end up being the best one. He was dominant during 7-on-7 play, running away from the smaller defensive backs. Bunting has really good ball skills and catches everything thrown his way.

That #4 is no shame when Jamarco Jones, Clifton Garrett, and Malik McDowell are at the same event. An earlier camp:

10. Ian Bunting, TE, Hinsdale (Il.) Central
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bunting continued to show that he is a sure handed flex tight end prospect. He ran precise routes in the short passing game, and caught the ball with soft hands and arms extended against attached coverage on numerous occasions. Bunting … was the top performer of the tight end prospects.

Last summer:

Hinsdale (Ill.) Central receiver/tight end Ian Bunting stands in at 6-foot-7, 190 pounds with a frame to really fill out. Despite his size, he does a great job of sinking his hips and getting in and out of his breaks. In agility drills, he was better than a lot of the smaller receivers. .

Just last week:

While the Core 6 White team struggle to find a rhythm on offense, Hinsdale (Ill.) Central four-star tight end Ian Bunting was one of the more impressive players there, as he can beat you in many ways in the passing game. Short passes and over the top, Bunting has fantastic hands and ball skills while running very well.

ESPN:

Bunting is a big high school receiver who will make a move to tight end in college and could be a highly-productive receiving target in that role. His strength at this stage is very much as a receiver and he displays very good hands with the ability to consistently extend and snatch the ball away from his body. Possesses good body control and can adjust and grab tough, off-target passes, and demonstrates the ability to pluck effortlessly on the run. He will attack the ball in the air, high-point it and shows he is willing to take a hit to make the catch. Can track the ball vertically well and make the over-the-shoulder grab. 

Hands, hands, hands. Coaches' eyes must bug out at this fact:

How would you describe yourself as a player?

"I'm definitely a mismatch [threat]. I can take on a cornerback and I'd be a foot taller than him, but also, a lot of kids that are my size aren't quick but I've got really good feet actually for my size and great hands too. I've been playing a bunch of different sports all my life, so it's really helped me become a better athlete all around and keep my agility at a high level even though I'm a lot bigger and taller than a lot of the other receivers that'll be out there. I also have great leaping ability and big hands and feet. I wear XXXL gloves -- although I might have to go XXXXL next year cause they're getting kind of small (laughter) -- and have size 17 feet."

He told an OU site that he plays corner on defense. Yup.

So… this is good. A 6'7" guy with skillet-sized hands, body control, and not-quite WR athleticism who is already a good route-runner is going to be awesome once he's a linebacker-flattening weight. Can I make a sleeper of the year prediction on a guy who's 10 months away from signing and is four stars on two sites? No? Well, fine. Guy seems badly underrated, is what I'm saying.

OFFERS

Bunting's offers side with the more impressive rankings. Aside from Michigan he also had offers from Notre Dame (that very early), Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, and others.

HIGH SCHOOL

Hinsdale Central hasn't sent Michigan any prospects in the Rivals era. They did send Jack Allen to Michigan State a couple years ago; Allen's brother Brian just committed to the Spartans. Awkward.

STATS

Bunting only had four games last year, in which he caught 16 passes for 412 yards($). Over 100 yards per game and 26 per catch? Okay, we'll take that.

FAKE 40 TIME

Bunting lists his 40 at 4.63 on Hudl, which I award two FAKES out of five for a 6'6" kid.

VIDEO

His abbreviated junior year:

There's also an interview with Chantel Jennings:

Bunting also has a Hudl profile with separate blocking and receiving highlights.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Bunting should have an opportunity to redshirt with Devin Funchess, AJ Williams, and Jake Butt all on the roster for at least two more years once he arrives. He'll use that year to pack on weight, probably cool his heels for another year as Funchess and Williams play their senior campaigns, and then emerge into Funchess 2.0—maybe 3.0. Michigan is going to have no shortage of huge targets at TE in the near future.

A further prediction: if Bunting hits the camp circuit and stays healthy as a senior he'll jump everywhere save ESPN, who already projects him as a near top-100 player. He's got the profile of a guy who blows up what with the injuries and college coach trident fight over him.

The injury thing is probably just bad luck. Anyone can acquire the dread high ankle sprain, and that sort of thing doesn't develop into a chronic thing often, if at all. I get why a couple of the sites are cautious with his ranking as a result,  but it's more that they don't have as much data on him than fear he won't be able to stay in one piece.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

With two tight ends in each of the last two classes and a smaller group this year, Michigan is probably done at TE for 2014. Maybe they would still take a Helm or a Mark Andrews, but only late, at which point those guys are likely off the board.

A side note not just in this class but on Michigan's recruiting in general: this is another guy who Michigan has come from behind on very quickly. 247's prediction crystal ball was 100% ND until today, when Steve Wiltfong got wind of the change and got a flip in just before the news dropped.  For a certain sort of kid, the Michigan visit just about ends their recruitment. Bunting's take($) from Allen Trieu's article:

"When I went there and visited and got to spend a lot of time with the coaches, players on the team and got to spend the night with them. It felt like home. It felt like the right place for me. My parents came with me and they both loved it and the coaches were so nice and welcoming and it really had a good sense of family there which is one of my favorite parts about game of football is brotherhood and the bond with the teammates and could definitely sense that it was there. Not just with the kids, but coaches too. I got to meet all the coaches' families and it was just the right place for me."

That's how you snatch a kid who compares himself to Tyler Eifert($) out from ND's nose.

Snatching a kid like Bunting from Notre Dame and Ohio State was a nonexistent occurrence under Rodriguez and frankly pretty rare under Carr, too—remember Charlie Weis's inexplicable winning streak over Michigan? That's done. Ohio State's winning their share of battles, but four of Michigan's six commits so far this year are head to head wins over both ND and OSU—everyone save Mone and Speight. (With Michigan hot on the trail of McDowell, Hand, and Lawrence Marshall I'm assuming Brady Pallante's grayshirt doesn't get upgraded.)

Comments

yossarians tree

April 24th, 2013 at 1:25 AM ^

It's getting better and better. When do y'all think the Hoke recruiting magic and actual coaching will begin to coalesce into a fearsome squad that will be formidable for seasons to come? I think it will be late this year/ early next year, and then....lights out.I would say earlier but the guys they value most, and take the most time to develop, are the big boys.

ama11

April 24th, 2013 at 8:49 AM ^

If UM beats ND in the beginning of the year they have a chance to go undefeated in the regular season and win a B1G championship. The key, obviously, is beating OSU at the end of the season. No doubt the schedule is in our favor this season :).

There is no doubt in my mind that UM's D is going to be top 10 dominant for a while. The recruiting up to this point on that side of the ball has been excellent and it will stay that way as long as Mattison is here. We'll have the top D in the B1G this year and inside top 10 overall.

The offense will have to dictate whether this is a truly elite team or not. Besides the OL, of whom are too young to make a great impact yet, the recruiting hasn't been as stellar. I think the offense will be upper-echelon next year (2014); that is not to say that they won't be servicable this year, but it's so dependent on Gardner... Not sure it will ever be top 10 dominating since we are going to a slower paced, run-heavy scheme, but it will probably consistently be near top 20.

In short, next year is where I think we bust through the wall and become the UM of old and start winning BCS bowls consistently. Go Blue!

Daniel

April 24th, 2013 at 10:00 AM ^

(though this year should be pretty fun to watch), but I think I disagree about offense. Borges doesn't want to just run power through the center. I think we'll eventually see a pretty high-powered, balanced offense that overwhelms defenses by beating them to a pulp in the run game while also getting serious yards through the air. We couldn't do it under Denard because it wasn't his skill set, but I think we'll be a great offense, too.

Tree-sized tight tends will help with both aspects of this.

wesq

April 24th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

I think Hoke is trying to assemble the greastest hail mary team of all time.  Harris, Funchess, Butt, Dukes and Bunting going up for the ball and Shane Morris's arm, all they need is a little time to get down the field. 

BlueVball8

April 24th, 2013 at 8:39 AM ^

I went to Hinsdale central and the devil horns we're everywhere. To put it in perspective, our devil horns were like the wings on the football helmets a couple years ago. Every athlete had to earn them in the offseason and preseason. Sorry, that's a little random, but I personally love the helmets and their true uniqueness.

gsot21

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:49 PM ^

This guy doesnt look very athletic or tall or like a human beast and him and funchess on the feild would really athletic. This picture is awesome. 

randyfloyd

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:51 PM ^

we were recruiting, Ian was my favorite. This kid has a huge upside and he seems willing to learn blocking (he is a wr for his school right now), he seems fast and has good hands (highlights are SICK).

Go Blue!

samsoccer7

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:58 PM ^

Umm, wow, this is surpising based on Monday Recruiting.  This is great.  Helm seems like a good kid too and I hope we get both, redshirt one or both, and be set for quite a while.  Funchess, AJ, Butt, Bunting, and maybe Helm?  Stunning.

WolvinLA2

April 23rd, 2013 at 7:02 PM ^

A lot of people forget about Hill (he wasn't rated very highly, he didn't EE or play any All-American games, so I get it) but I think he will be a very solid player for us.  He's not huge, but he runs quick, crisp routes and has great hands.  He was a standout 7 on 7 player, which is usually reserved for guys like Norfleet, not TEs.  

He had a recruiting profile very similar to Ben Braden - offers from Michigan and the MAC, meh 3-star that was overshadowed by the rest of his class.  Hopefully he can have a similar career trajectory too.

WolvinLA2

April 23rd, 2013 at 7:42 PM ^

Care to explain why?

Having a differing opinion is certainly not ban-worthy, but having one without any justification is at least frowned upon.  Why do you think he'll move?  To which position do you think he'll move?  Do you think he's not a good TE or just a better something else?  

I disagree with you, obviously, but I'm interested to hear your reasoning.  

jigsmcgee

April 24th, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^

Initiailly , I saw his frame and thought "Dude is stocky, arguably college ready with his size (6'2" 230 lbs senior HS) - thought he'd fit the FB role for Hoke."  However, I took a look at his hello post and he seems to be more than just a blocker(shooter).  It would be a waste of skill/talent if he didnt remain a pass catching threat.  I rescind my initial statement, saying he would end up elsewhere (unless the SDE position is ravaged).  I would like to revise my initial statement to "he would make an interesting FB and maybe add a wrinkle to our goal line/playaction game."

WolvinLA2

April 24th, 2013 at 6:00 PM ^

That's fair.  It sounds like the role he'll have is one part FB and one part WR (near your typical H-back) so you might be right on with this post.  But I've seen video of Hill run routes and catch balls and he's good.  

maize-blue

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

The dude could see where this offense is heading with it's TE's and probably jumped aboard because it's going to be a smallish recruiting class. It will be hard to imagine but the 2014 class will probably be Hoke's best so far. Damn!! Good things await in the future.

Logan88

April 23rd, 2013 at 7:49 PM ^

Wait...I thought ESPN sucked at player evaluation? Do we like ESPN now? I'm so confused.

Sidenote on Bunting: I heartily approve of his choice of music for his highlight reel. I have basically gotten to the point where I leave the volume off when watching these because of the proliferation of gangster-rap/hip-hop crap on these reels #Getoffmylawn.