Brandon Dunn hopes he's a 'hometown hero'

The University of Louisville football program has had so much success over the years with local products, players staying home and making a mark. U of L senior Brandon Dunn is a local product that wants to leave his mark on the program, just like those who have come before him. Cardinal Authority speaks with Dunn.

Brandon Dunn knew the legacy guys like Michael Bush, Brian Brohm and Doug Beaumont had left before him at the University of Louisville.

Local heroes on the high school football scene, staying home to play for the Cardinals and doing the city proud while at U of L.

"That's a lot to live up too," Dunn said with a smile.

But as Dunn, now a senior defensive tackled for the Cardinals, prepares for the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., this weekend, he hopes has carried on the tradition and is ready to pass the flag to someone else.

"It means a lot to me," Dunn said of being a local hero. "It really does.

"Hopefully, I carried the tradition on of kids staying at home and representing their city and families well. Like Mike (Bush), I just wanted to do the things guys like that did and make everybody proud."

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Dunn has made the folks from his alma mater – Pleasure Ridge Park High School – and everywhere else around town proud.

Dunn, who didn't have an offer to attend U of L until Charlie Strong took the head coaching job in the winter of his senior year at PRP, went from what many felt like was an average player in the recruiting class to a star.

Playing in the middle of the defensive line with Roy Philon, Dunn has started 33 of the 48 games he's played in during his career, including all 12 this season. Dunn has totaled 98 tackles during his career, including eight tackles for a loss.

"Brandon and Roy have been so solid for us up front," U of L defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said. "(Dunn) has really improved and been great for us. We have some pretty good guys up front and we trust them to do their jobs."

Dunn said he's been "very proud" of what he has accomplished, especially during his senior season. He has 40 tackles this season, including 4.5 tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery and one sack.

"We've had a lot of fun up front this year," Dunn said with a smile.

Dunn had one of the best games of his career in the regular-season finale against Cincinnati. He had a career-high nine tackles, including one for a loss.

And he also played offense for the first time. Dunn was the lead fullback on the game-winning touchdown run by Dominique Brown in the overtime.

"I wanted to show people I am more than just a big guy, I can do some things," Dunn said with a laugh. "I told coach (Shawn Watson) that I was a running back in high school. I told a little lie, but I said I wanted to help the team.

"I told him I would help out any way that I could, so he put me in. That was great, anything to help get the team a win and I also was able to be in the huddle with Teddy (Bridgewater). That was special. I can always say that I was in the huddle with Teddy."

Watson said Dunn could see some action there in the bowl game. But he'll definitely be anchoring the defensive line for the final time.

"I'm excited to see what we can do," he said.

Dunn will get a shot at the professional level, even if he's not selected into the NFL Draft in April. But for now, he just wants to enjoy his final week playing for the Cardinals and hopefully make a few more memories.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "I understand my days here are ending. But I left back a lot of memories and I hope I did the city proud."

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