2014 Receiver May Grow Into A Tight End

There were a number of outstanding prospects at recent Fighting Illini summer football camps. One of the most intriguing is tall, talented receiver Ian Bunting. The Hinsdale Central prospect demonstrated excellent skills and athleticism.

Ian Bunting is a highly talented receiver for Hinsdale Central. The upcoming junior has the height, athleticism and hands to be a star. He demonstrated his skills at a recent Illinois one-day camp in Barrington.

"I thought it was really good. It was my first college camp, so it was kind of new to me. But I thought it was really helpful. There were a lot of good drills, and the individuals are always nice."

The only knock on his day was a 4.68 forty time. But that time is skewed by the fact he was slow out of his blocks due to his long legs. Once he gained steam, he was as fast as anyone at the camp. He plans to do the work necessary to correct this flaw in his sprint.

"I just learned to do starts a week ago, so I've still got to work on that a lot. But hopefully I'll get it down to 4.5 or 4.4 soon."

Illini coaches worked Bunting at tight end due to his size and growth potential.

"They had me go with the tight end group because I'm 6'-6". If I gain a lot of weight, I'll more likely be a tight end. Right now, it's kind of hard for me to gain weight because I'm still growing. But once I level out, then I think I'll be able to gain weight."

He wears size 16 shoes, so he could grow even taller. His height might pose problems with sprints, but it is an asset as a receiver. Bunting includes his size among his strengths.

"Obviously my height is an asset. I've got big hands; I wear size triple XL gloves. And despite the fact a lot of tall kids are slow, I'm actually faster than a lot of small kids and can get all the jump balls."

He still must improve some things.

"I need to work on getting out of my breaks faster. It's harder for a tall guy to do that. And maybe catching balls coming back to them."

Illini receivers need the extra burst of speed and quick cuts in and out of their breaks to gain separation at the college level. So maybe tight end is a better fit for Bunting. Regardless, he is being followed by some high-powered college programs.

"So far Illinois, Michigan State, Oregon, Iowa and Penn State. I don't have any offers yet, but I'm hopeful."

It's just a matter of time. Bunting is as intelligent as he is talented. His college experience must satisfy his academic needs as well as help him reach his athletic goals.

"I want good academics and good athletics. I'm an intellectual too, I guess. I like science, math, marketing, stuff like that."

Hinsdale Central enjoyed success on the gridiron last fall, but the ending left something to be desired.

"We did pretty well except we got knocked out by Mt. Carmel in the first round of the playoffs. Our quarterback got knocked out in our last game. I was kind of disappointed."

Bunting expects even better in 2012.

"We have some guys coming back, but we have a really athletic and deep senior class. We lost two of our wide receivers, but I'm replacing one of them, and we have a kid coming from quarterback to receiver. So I think we've got that locked up. I think we're gonna be really good this year."

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