Starting off his senior year, Hinsdale Central (Ill.) tight end Ian Bunting is making the transition from wide receiver to tight end during the fall -- and is starting off on a great foot.
"It's his willingness to learn and do different things, last year he was primarily a receiver and this year he put on 20-pounds he is playing tight end and a little defensive end for us," Hinsdale Central head coach Rich Tarka reflected. "And I know he is really enjoying it. He knows that is his future, so that might be part of it but he definitely has a willingness to learn and for all the attention he gets he is very grounded."
He continued, "You know he is a real solid student. Very well liked in school, has an easy going sense of humor about him and he is a really good teammate."
Over the past year, Bunting's recruitment took off starting with a few offers -- and exploded into dozens of offers.
"It kind of hit all at once, he was sitting on two or three offers for a long time, then all of a sudden it was USC, Notre Dame, Michigan and more," Tarka said. "And his parents and him did their homework and bounced around a saw a lot of schools. I think it was a great experience for him going out there and meeting the different coaches and he learned a lot throughout the process."
But in the end, Michigan was where Bunting belonged.
"Ultimately I think he felt the most comfortable with the Michigan staff. With every coach he met there, it felt like where he needed to be and like home," Tarka said.
Even though the 6-foot-6, 230 pound Bunting has been one of the better high school receivers in the area, Tarka believes he's still got plenty of potential left untapped.
"I think he has a tremendous upside, he has huge potential, he hasn't even started to reach it," Tarka said. "He was a great receiver, and I think he was the second fastest kid on the team last year at 6-foot-6, so just athletically tremendous potential."
That's not it though, Bunting is special off the field too.
"But he has a lot of character too, he has perspective, he is going to be a student first and he is going to put all he can into the football program too," Tarka said. "There is a lot of balance with Ian and he is just a good kid to be around."
Plus, the transition to tight end is going much better than even Tarka expected, it seems Bunting is a natural.
"It is going very well, he likes it, even though he has never done it before. I was a little concerned about it, because I had never seen him put his hand on the ground but he seems to like it better down there than he does with the receivers," Bunting said. "I mean, that is a good sign. He will do both receiver and tight end this year, but wherever he is he is a threat."
He added, "So he has had no problem adjusting, and what I am most impressed with is how he has taken to defensive end too, and granted we are not going to burn him out but it is nice to have someone like that for key plays."
Bunting and the Red Devils bounced back from a tough loss week one at Bolingbrook by a 36-14 win at Addision Trail to start of the IHSA season.