COLUMBUS -- When 2014 Hinsdale (Ill.) Central tight end Ian Bunting committed to Michigan at the end of April, it came as a bit of a surprise -- a welcomed surprise to say the least. Standing 6-foot-6, 215-pounds, Bunting adds more size, athleticism, and a versatile skill set to what has all the makings of a special tight end group being meshed together in Ann Arbor.
Since Bunting’s verbal to the Wolverines, life has slowed down a bit from a recruiting standpoint, and the No. 19 overall tight end in the 2014 class couldn’t be happier to be a part of ‘Project 135.’
“My parents loved it and said that was one of the only places they really wanted me to go,” Bunting told GoBlueWolverine reflecting on the decision. “I slept on it just to make sure it wasn’t because it was the last place I went.
“But when it feels right sometimes you just got to go with your gut and that’s what I did. I’m still happy about it and I’m still glad that I made that decision -- I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
Joining yet another Michigan recruiting class that is looking to separate themselves from any other, Bunting says the camaraderie among the 2014 commitments was a major factor in his decision and will be one of the main reasons the Wolverines could share success in the future.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “We were even recruiting kids today at the camp. It’s a lot of fun and that was one of the reasons, really, why I decided to commit, is because it feels like a family there and that’s something that’s really important to me.
“You can have all of the talent that you want but if you guys aren’t going to work together, and you guys don’t get along together, whether it’s on the field or off the field, it’s not going to happen.”
Competing in Sunday’s Nike Football Training Combine at Ohio State, Bunting originally didn’t plan on attending, ultimately making the decision to drive up Saturday, stay with his cousin, and perform well enough to earn MVP honors at the tight end position, securing an invitation to, ‘The Opening,’ in Oregon, beginning June 30.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Bunting said. “I guess it was all worth it.
“I think I did really well. I tried a little tight end this time around which I’ve never really done but I’m going to have to start some time so I might as well. It was fun and I liked it. I had some really good looks from some great competition here.”
Galloping effortlessly down the sideline with his long legs, Bunting looked smooth in his drill work, showing good discipline in his routes, looking the ball into his big mitts for hands. Still, Bunting admits he has plenty to work on.
“Getting in a three point stance and getting off a press,” he said. “I’ve never really done it before but it’ll come. I’m going to play a little tight end this year on my high school team too, so, I’m going to learn.”
Stepping away from the tight end, wide receiver group during the brief downtime during camp, Bunting and fellow 2014 commitment, linebacker Michael Ferns, took some time to let the nation’s No. 1 defensive end, Da’Shawn Hand, know that there’s always a spot for him to join the class.
“We were talking to him a lot,” said Bunting. “He’s a really nice kid and we’ll see how things go but hopefully we’ll get him.”
Still unsure if he’ll be up for Michigan’s football camp June 16-20, Bunting’s main focus this summer will be on prepping for what should be a big senior year this fall.
“High school season is the No. 1 thing right now,” he said. “I think some kids kind of get caught up in this and forget about the high school season but, at the end of the day, I want to have a great senior year with all of the kids I’ve grown up with because those are some of the best memories you’re going to make.
“And, obviously, we want to win state.”