NCF On The Trail: Ian Bunting

Top position classes: TEs 

February, 13, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and Big 12)
Oklahoma addressed many needs with its top-15 recruiting class, and that certainly includes the tight end position. Coach Bob Stoops and his staff signed a trio of tight ends, including ESPN 300s No. 277 Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and No. 295 Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), as well as three-star junior college prospect Isaac Ijalana (Mount Holly, N.J./Pierce College). All three players have terrific size of at least 6-foot-5, and Meier and Andrews possess the frame to add mass and strength. Meier has good initial burst and above-average ball skills, while Andrews has excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to beat linebackers and safeties with regularity.

The Sooners had the nation’s best tight end class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:



Each class within the Big Ten has its strengths and weaknesses, but there is a lot of talent joining the conference. Here is a look at the top classes in the Big Ten by position.

Quarterback
Strongest class: Penn State


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The Opening provided prospects with the opportunity to showcase their skills. It also gave them the chance to compare themselves against top competition. This type of camp can be a good recruiting tool as well, if prospects perform well and improve their stock.

Here is a look at five Michigan commits and targets who helped themselves at The Opening:

5. TE Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central)
6-6, 223 pounds
ESPN 300 Rank: No. 116

Bunting was hampered by a minor hamstring issue during the week, but he still participated in every event. The soreness wasn't enough to stop him from displaying some excellent qualities in his routes and 7-on-7 play.

The Michigan commit probably didn't help his stock in a traditional sense, but because he is so new at playing tight end, this event was outstanding practice for him at the position. Getting the opportunity to play tight end against the top defensive prospects in the nation will only help him in the future.

4. DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep)
6-0, 183 pounds
2015 prospects not yet rated


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan had several areas of need in the 2014 class, chief among them being quarterback and linebacker, largely due to injuries both position groups have suffered. Here’s a look at the top five areas of need and what Michigan has done to address them so far.


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BEAVERTON, Ore -- Michigan tight end commit Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) tried to compete as much as he could at the first day of The Opening on Monday. The No. 116-ranked player in the country was battling a hamstring injury, so he wasn't 100 percent for the event.


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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- Michigan wide receiver commit Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) was unable to attend The Opening because of his summer school schedule. That means tight end commit Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) is the lone Michigan commit participating in the prestigious event.

That also means Bunting is on his own when it comes to recruiting some of the top Michigan targets joining him in Oregon. No matter, as the 6-foot-6, 213-pounder said he plans on doing the best he can.


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Last year, Michigan had several commits at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. This year, the Wolverines will have just one commit in attendance: tight end Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central). Wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) was a late scratch because of his summer class schedule. He plans to enroll at Michigan early, so he's busy in the classrom.

Here are a handful of storylines to watch:


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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- On Monday, the ESPN 300 was released, as was an updated ESPN 150. The majority of Michigan’s class was largely unaffected, only experiencing minor moves throughout, though most of Michigan’s commits’ moves were down rather than up.

However, the Wolverines continue to have nine of their 11 commits in the ESPN 150, and many of their top targets remained in the top 100.


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Tales From the Road: Michigan 

June, 5, 2013
6/05/13
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Every Wednesday, WolverineNation will take a look at Michigan's week in recruiting in Tales From The Road. This week's targets:


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video

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued Sunday as several top players from the Midwest showcased their skills on Ohio State’s practice fields. The competitors didn’t disappoint, either, as some hard hits, great runs and incredible one-on-one drills showed just how strong this group was.

Here is what we learned:


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BuckeyeNation continues to hit the road in search of budding Division I talent that should catch the eyes of Ohio State fans. Here’s what we came up with this week:

This week’s targets: BuckeyeNation swung out to the Youngstown, Ohio, area and took a good look at Hubbard and Warren Harding high schools. While there, we talked to offensive guard Matt Jones and running back Larry “LJ” Scott of Hubbard. Both are Buckeyes targets as sophomores. Harding is the home of Denmark sensation Hjalte Froholdt and Ohio State legacy James Daniels, whose father LeShun Daniels Sr. played offensive guard for the Buckeyes in the 1990s. One other interesting note about Daniels is that his brother LeShun Daniels Jr. signed a letter of intent to play for Iowa this February.

Vividly Virginia: The Buckeyes made it abundantly clear last week that Virginia was fertile recruiting ground. Ohio State long has had offers out to Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge/Woodbridge), Andrew Brown (Chesapeake/Oscar Frommel Smith) and Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach/Bayside), but last Wednesday the Buckeyes offered five Virginians in rapid fashion. The offers went out to outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry (Richmond, St. Christophers), cornerback Garrett Taylor (Richmond, St. Christophers), wide receiver Scott Bracey (Richmond/Benedictine School), wide receiver Jaason Lewis (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) and inside linebacker Jahvoni Simmons (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes).

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Weekly commitment roundup 

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
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ACC
Boston College
Jon Baker, OC (Millis, Mass./Millis)
Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 305 pounds
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Kevin Cohee, ILB (West Roxbury, Mass./Roxbury Latin)
HT: 6-3 WT: 240
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Duke

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Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges continue to bring the pieces in to mold the Wolverines into their multiple pro-style vision. On the heels of signing a class which included one of the strongest offensive line groups in the nation and as well power back Derrick Green, they are now poised to bring in a receiving weapon at tight end for the third straight class.

In 2012 Michigan signed Devin Funchess, who showed promising signs during his freshman season. It followed up with the addition of the athletic Jake Butt in 2013 and now have a commitment from ESPN 150 TE Ian Bunting. None of the trio had strong resumes as blockers out of high school, but all, including Bunting, have shown good toughness and a willingness to develop into productive blockers, something they will need to do to aid the Wolverines' power run game. They all can also aid the ground attack by being productive receiving threats that can keep defenses honest.


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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.


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