|Hinsdale (IL) Central wide receiver/tight end Ian Bunting|
(image via Twitter)
Bunting stands 6'6" and 210 lbs. As a junior in 2012, Bunting had 16 catches for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns.
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #5 TE, #114 overall
Rivals: 3-star, #14 TE
Scout: 3-star, #17 TE
247 Sports: 4-star, 90 grade, #11 TE
Bunting visited Michigan in November 2012 for the Northwestern game, but he didn't receive an offer from the Wolverines until March. At the time of that in-season visit, he had just one offer, which had come from Purdue. When he visited again last weekend, it was thought that Notre Dame was his leader, but he was impressed enough to commit a few days afterward.
Bunting is a long and lean prospect. He's listed from 6'5" to 6'7" and from 210 to 215 lbs., but he plays like a wide receiver. When he gets an unimpeded release off the line of scrimmage, he's very difficult to cover. He can run past some defensive backs, and jump balls are no contest for someone with his size and athleticism; if defenses cover him with a linebacker, that will be a huge mismatch. He's a very flexible player who picks up his knees when he runs, can bend at the knees to block, and can adjust well to the ball in the air. I also like the way Bunting runs routes; he changes direction well for such a tall guy, and he shows a dedication to proper footwork. As a blocker, he shows the willingness to be physical and he keeps a nice, wide base when engaged with defenders.
There's not much to dislike about Bunting. He will add weight as his body matures, so it will be interesting to see whether that changes his athleticism; he won't be a mammoth bruiser, but he should probably be 240-245 lbs. by the time his college career ends. I also wonder how he would react to press man coverage, because no defensive backs seem willing to test him in that respect. He will have to learn how to shed press man defenders if he doesn't know already.
Michigan will likely use Bunting like they use Devin Funchess, splitting him out wide, moving him around in the backfield, and sending him downfield as a deep threat at times. I think those two have very similar skills. Michigan should be able to redshirt him in 2014 to add some weight, but if he's not being used as an in-line blocker, there's not much of a reason to keep him off the field if he can contribute. Funchess did just fine at about 228 lbs. in 2012, and Bunting has another year and a half to add that 10-20 lbs.
Recruits have stated that the coaches only plan to take one tight end in the 2014 class, so Bunting will likely be the only player for the position unless something changes with the roster. He's the seventh commitment in a class that will probably be around 16 or a few more. Walk-on wide receiver Brad Anlauf also attended Hinsdale Central High School.
TTB Rating: 78 (ratings explanation)