Change Of Sport Makes Dunker A Hot Prospect

Big offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker is making a tour of colleges. In this report he talks about his visit to Auburn and how football is working out for him.

Boynton Beach, Fla.--Jessamen Dunker's decision to change sports and become a football offensive lineman is paying major dividends as major college scholarship offers are flowing his way although he is a novice as a football player.

"Last year was actually my first season to play football," the six-foot-six, 315-pound offensive tackle says. "I was playing basketball and I decided I needed a change. I figured basketball wasn't going to work (for earning a college scholarship) so I tried my hand at football. It seems to be working out."

Auburn, one of the many colleges that has already offered him a scholarship, was where Dunker visited on Monday on day two of a tour of college campuses he and his father are making during the lineman's spring break from Boynton Beach High School.

Dunker caught Auburn on the university's spring break, but both the prospect and his dad say that was not a problem. The visitors note they received an in-depth tour of the campus and got to sit down and talk football at length and learn more about the Tigers from offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

"It was a really good visit and I learned a lot about Auburn," says Dunker, who notes that he likes Auburn's traditions and the support the team receives from students, alumni and other fans. The big lineman says he appreciates the time Malzahn spent with him to discuss the program and answer questions about the Auburn offense and the campus in general.

Dunker, who is originally from Lithonia, Ga., decided to switch from basketball to football about a year ago when his family moved to Florida last spring.

Jessamen Dunker

For his second season as a football player his role for the Boynton Beach High Tigers is expected to grow. "This year Coach (Rick) Swain wants me to play both ways because he wants seniors to lead the team," Dunker says. "He sees me as a defensive tackle, too, but the colleges are recruiting me as a left offensive tackle."

On Sunday the lineman visited Gainesville to check out the University of Florida Gators. "It was a good visit," he says. "I liked talking to Coach (Will) Muschamp and Coach (Aubrey) Hill. It was my second visit there so I had a feeling what the school was about."

It was also Dunker's second visit to Auburn, but the previous one was long time ago. He had previously been to campus as a seventh grader playing in a basketball tournament, but notes the campus has really changed since then. The big lineman says he plans to return later in the year for an official visit when all of the students are on campus.

Dunker, who followed the Georgia Bulldogs when he was young and living in the Peach State, says he likes SEC football and notes that he is only considering colleges in that league. On Thursday he plans to visit the Bulldogs' campus in Athens after stopping in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday to check out another SEC program, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

"The colleges are all recruiting me as a left offensive tackle," says Dunker, who notes that he is still in the information gathering stage and probably won't be ready to make a decision on his college choice until late in the year.

Commenting on what he enjoyed most about his first season as a football player, the lineman says, "Just getting a feel for the game and learning about the importance of footwork. It is also a lot of fun to have all of these colleges recruiting me."

Dunker notes that he still has a lot to learn as a football player. "I would like to get better at everything I am doing, particularly the footwork and pass protection," he says. "I am also working on my endurance, something I have been doing since December. I am also trying to get stronger."

Playing left tackle in a pro style offense, Dunker points out that he gets plenty of opportunities to test his pass blocking skills.

The lineman, who says he is an A-B student at Boynton Beach High, notes that he plans to study business or marketing in college.

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