Cunningham's head coach at Pinson Valley High School, Matt Glover, said that a lot of colleges are making a big mistake when it comes to recruiting the six-foot-four, 200-pounder, who is in his third season as a starter for the Indians.
"He is the best football player in the state of Alabama, there's no question about it," Glover stated. "I told Coach Thigpen (Auburn linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen), ‘Coach, y'all are missing the boat on this kid.'
"He is the best football player I have ever coached--period, bar none," Glover added. "I will put him up against any linebacker in this state."
Going into Pinson Valley's Homecoming game last Friday night vs. Springville, Cunningham was averaging 14 tackles per contest. He made 21 more that evening, including six for lost yardage, and was the main reason the visitors couldn't score. Springville had a difficult time making first downs with Cunningham disrupting plays behind the line of scrimmage, even when he didn't make a tackle.
The senior plays the game with an aggressive, middle linebacker style and has the quickness to run down ball carriers from sideline to sideline with 4.6 speed and long strides.
"Auburn is looking at me, Alabama, Tennessee and those are just some of the colleges," Cunningham said when asked which schools have been checking him out.
Last weekend the 17-year-old took a visit to Vanderbilt and he said the Commodores told him they are "thinking about" making him an offer.
Cunningham broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore at outside linebacker. The past two seasons he has played inside. Asked where he prefers to line up, the senior said, "Personally, I like outside better, but inside you get to make more tackles."
The senior, who has also played basketball for Pinson Valley High, said he bench presses 285 pounds and noted he is still growing.
Academically, he said that he makes all A's or B's and made a 20 on his ACT. He plans to retake the test because he wasn't happy with the score.
On the field he noted that his goal is to help the Indians make a run in the Class 5A state playoffs. He said that Pinson Valley, a team that features Auburn wide receiver commitment Earnest Robinson, is improving as the playoffs grow nearer. "I think we can go all the way," he said.
Glover has more praise for Cunningham. "He is a football player," the coach said. "He has got great grades and is a great kid.
"Everybody is worried about his weight, but he is 6-4 and right at 200," added Glover, who points out that the linebacker will be able to add more size when he gets to college. "I am glad he is on my team."