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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Tight end Ian Bunting has top three

By Jared Shanker

A top three has emerged for tight end Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central). Two of the latest programs join one of the first atop the 6-foot-6, 200-pound tight end's list.

BCS bowl participants Notre Dame and Oregon are joined in Bunting’s top three with Vanderbilt, which offered Bunting early on during the season. The Irish are Bunting’s latest offer.

Ian Bunting
At 6-foot-6, Ian Bunting provides extreme matchup problems for Hinsdale (Ill.) Central's opponents.
“They’re definitely at the top with a few other schools, maybe Oregon and Vanderbilt,” Bunting said. “They’re definitely one of the schools I’m more interested in.

“But then again, there’s not that huge of a difference between my interest level in those three. They are set apart a little, but the other schools like Indiana and Iowa and Northwestern and Ole Miss and Purdue, I’m still very interested in them too.”

Notre Dame’s Chicago-area recruiter, Chuck Martin, spoke with Bunting a week ago and let him know the Irish were close to offering. The Irish staff likes the size and length of Bunting, who believes he still has much more weight to gain. Bunting also could be flexed out wide in some offensive sets.

The Irish are losing standout tight end Tyler Eifert to the 2013 NFL draft, and Bunting sees an opportunity to be the next Irish tight end to make it to the NFL. Under coach Brian Kelly, the Irish sent Kyle Rudolph to the Vikings, and Eifert is poised to be drafted early.

“They’re always sending guys to the NFL. That’s my ultimate goal too, to be playing in the NFL at some point,” Bunting said. “They got a great track record with that. It seems every tight end is successful there and in the NFL. That definitely intrigues me.”

Nebraska, Texas A&M and Ohio State are three programs showing significant interest in Bunting recently. Under assistant coach Mike Vrabel, who recruits Chicago for the Buckeyes, Ohio State has had a major presence in the Windy City the last few years.

Tight ends coach Tim Hinton spoke with Bunting on Monday evening about Ohio State’s interest in him.

“He was telling me that they still are in the last stages of evaluating, and he’s telling me he’s just got to make sure that I would fit into the system,” Bunting said. “They already have a few guys that are kind of like my body type, so he’s got to see if everything is going to match up.

“But he did let me know they’re very interested in me and that he’s excited about what could potentially happen in the future.”

Ohio State has offered four tight ends in the 2014 class and is among the favorites for Watch List prospect Jeb Blazevich.