Position feature story: Brandon Dunn

University of Louisville junior Brandon Dunn is healthy and has slimmed down. Now, he's expected to be one of the top performers this season for the Louisville defense. Cardinal Authority talks to Dunn about his story:

University of Louisville junior defensive lineman Brandon Dunn came into the program and listened to his coaches.

Dunn said the plan was to put on weight and play over 300 pounds. Dunn made it all the way to 317 pounds, but he wasn't playing up to par.

So after suffering through a sophomore season with a sports hernia, Dunn slimmed down. He's now 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and said he's feeling the best he has in a long time and the coaches expect him to show it on the field.

Brandon Dunn looks like a totally different guy," defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said with a smile. "I don't know who that is out there. He's moving around. I didn't think the boy could move at all. He's really moving around."

Dunn said there was nothing wrong about adding the weight and noted it was worth a try to see how he could play at a heavier weight.

"I dropped a few pounds and I feel great playing at the weight I am at right now," Dunn said. "I am quick, nimble and I can move. I just couldn't play at 310.

"Coaches wanted me to play there and I tried but I just couldn't do it and they saw that I couldn't and I am now at a comfortable weight."

The comfortable weight and a full recovery from his sports hernia injury has Dunn in position to have a solid season. Strong said he "will be a force," in the middle, while defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said he "has a huge heart and just won't give up; he refuses to give in."

"I just feel good," Dunn said. "I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. I love the organization and the players around me. I feel like I am growing into a leadership role and some of the players are looking up to me.

"It's just a good feeling; a good vibe. I hate to say it, it's the same practices but for me it's easy any more. It's so much more fun out there for me."

Dunn, who originally had committed to Kentucky but had his mind changed by Strong and company, was a three-year starter and star at Pleasure Ridge Park.

As a true freshman, Dunn played in 11 games and started four with 14 tackles. He started eight of 12 games he played a year ago, but slowed by the groin injury he only had one more tackle for a total of 15.

The same production along with the injury helped Dunn realize he needed to get back into better shape. He spent the entire offseason working on his body.

"I feel more faster, quicker, more agile," he said. "Last year I thought I could play at that weight, but I really can't, so to take some stress off myself I had to lose the weight. Everybody wants to be healthy, just like me, because we all want to contribute to the championship we are about to win."

Hurtt said Dunn has the type of personality that can help him be a team leader, noting that he's very vocal with his teammates.

"He has an unbelievable work ethic," Hurtt said. "He wants to lead the group and he's doing a great job of it. Physically, he's a pretty solid player but he's not unbelievably talented. But he has an unbelievable heart and determination."

Bedford said he's "excited to see what is going to happen with that kid this season."

Dunn has some ideas of what he wants to happen. He's hoping the team is so successful that fans will look at him in the same light as some of the former local stars like Michael Bush, Chris Redman, Brian Brohm and others.

"I take it as a great accomplishment," Dunn said of playing for his hometown school. "It's a great tradition here with guys like Michael Bush, Brian Brohm and Dexter Heyman last year. I love my city and our city loves us. They take care of their hometown kids and it's a blessing.

"I want to be one of Louisville's Greats."

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