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Monday, April 22, 2013
New top group coming for ESPN 150 TE

By Jared Shanker

Hinsdale (Ill.) Central tight end Ian Bunting listed a top three at the end of February, but that group dissipated nearly as quickly as it was created as several big offers over the next 72 hours made him open it back up.

After visits to several of those schools, the ESPN 150 tight end is closing in on naming a top group once again.

Ian Bunting
ESPN 150 tight end Ian Bunting visited Oregon, Notre Dame, USC and Michigan in April with plans to go to Ohio State in May.
“I’ll probably talk with my parents the next few days and have a more narrowed down list after that,” Bunting said.

Since the beginning of April, Bunting has visited Oregon (April 6), Notre Dame (April 13), USC (April 19) and Michigan (April 20-21). He will visit Ohio State on May 10, and he said those five schools are all high on his list and in contention to make the cut in the coming days.

Bunting made a return trip to Michigan this past weekend, but it was his first time in Ann Arbor without a football game going on.

“I got to spend a lot more time and hang out with the players,” Bunting said. “The coaches are real guys. I like them all.”

Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan hosted Bunting for much of the visit, and the No. 114 prospect in the ESPN 150 said the Wolverines senior embodies everything Michigan is about.

“He obviously cares a lot for the program, teammates and coaches, and he really wants to win a Big Ten championship,” he said.

USC hosted Bunting on a short visit during the week, as the No. 6 player out of Illinois decided to go to Los Angeles with his mother, who was going on a business trip to the city. It was not a long visit to the USC campus, but it was still an enjoyable trip for Bunting.

For much of his visit, Bunting hung around the Trojans coaches and talked about how they would use him in the offense. Tight end is a position USC has recruited and developed well over the last decade, but the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Bunting doesn’t have the same frame of those past Trojans tight ends.

“They see me doing what most coaches are telling me: hybrid type of guy that can be flexed out or be an inline or play a little receiver or slot,” Bunting said. “It’s a versatile position.”

The Fighting Irish are in a strong position for Bunting following his trip to Notre Dame and are very likely to be among Bunting’s favorites when he releases a new top group. His trip to South Bend on Apr. 13 was his second spring visit to Notre Dame.

“I got to spend the night and hang out with the players, spent a lot of time with the coaches and getting a feel for how they see me fitting in, which is a flexible guy,” he said. “I got to be around the players a lot and get to know them. It was another successful trip.

“I’m glad I’m taking these visits.”