"They talked to me about how they changed the team culture and how everything has changed for the better."
Bunte took an unofficial visit during ASU's final home game of the 2012 season, a convincing 46-7 win over Washington State. It was a contest that naturally highlighted many positives with the program.
"I loved everything about that game," Bunte recalled. "I loved interacting with the coaches and see how they were treating their players. That was very important to me. I know that they are building a good team and the coaches really take everything seriously. That tempo was a lot faster than what I was expecting.
"The campus was amazing. It was like walking around a hotel resort, everything was just so new and up to date it was amazing. Being from California I want to go to a campus that looks nice. All the facilities were incredible and I know they will only get better. I'm looking forward to officially visiting them on January 18th or January 25th."
Bunte, who committed to UCLA last March, confirmed that he is still a soft verbal to the Bruins. While he seemed to imply that they may not be a viable option anymore, another Pac-12 program aside from Arizona State has been grabbing his attention as well.
"I really like the Cal program and I plan to visit them before signing day," Bunte noted. "I'm not in frequent contact with UCLA. I'm unsure if I will visit them or not. It's between those two and Arizona State and I know I will end up in the Pac-12.
"The Cal head coaching change doesn't affect me and I'm still very interested in them. I've been talking to the offensive line coach there all the time and I will probably visit them in early January. I don't know if I will wait to schedule that visit before they name a new head coach or not." The 6-7 310-pound Erik Bunte played for the 11-1 Diablos, who lost their only game of the year in the second round of the playoffs. Mission Viejo High School featured a strong rushing attack and the lineman was certainly a significant reason for that.
"They (ASU) really love my run blocking abilities," Bunte described. "After playing guard in high school I felt I did well in that position but there is always room for improvement. With the transition to tackle I have been working a lot on my pass protecting technique. I'm obviously going to face much faster players in college so I have to be prepared for that.
"Their right tackle is graduating and they will need somebody to fill that spot. Obviously it's nothing that will be handed to you and you will have to work for that. But they want me to compete at that position."