Ian Bunting is a 4-star tight end who committed to Michigan in April. He's a talented prospect, as his size and receiving skills make him a potentially dangerous weapon in the passing game.
Michigan's recruiting class is one of the best in the country, and Bunting is among the best players in the group. The tight end will become a beloved player at Michigan, as he has a bright future.
His potential, skill set and fit in Michigan's offense warrant a closer look.
A tight end from Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois, Bunting is one of the top prospects in the nation at his position. His production was limited as a junior, evidenced by Bunting only registering 16 receptions for 412 yards and four touchdowns.
However, he showed enough skills on tape to earn an invite to "The Opening", which is the top offseason event for elite college recruits. Bunting is 118th in the ESPNU 300, and No. 259 in the 247Sports composite rankings.
At 6'6" and 210 pounds, Bunting's height is noticeable immediately on the hoof. He towers over his competition, has long arms and could pass for a receiver.
He can work as a traditional in-line tight end, be flexed out to the slot or line up on the perimeter. Bunting has surprising quickness at the snap, as he can get upfield quickly with good speed. He appears to be a disciplined route-runner who understands the importance of pre-snap positioning and alignment.
Bunting has solid quickness for a tall player coming out of his breaks. His hands and ball skills are his best assets, as he's a natural receiver of the football. Bunting snatches passes with his mitts, can catch in crowds and can be considered open when he's covered due to his size, length and ability to go up and attack a ball at its highest point.
He has galloping speed in the open field after the catch.
As a blocker, he's more of a wall-off type who can adequately shield. He shows some toughness at the point of attack, gives good effort and can hit a target on the move on the second and third levels.
Bunting has great height at 6'6", but weighing only 210 pounds as a tight end is a cause for concern. He must pack on a considerable amount of bulk, while also gaining more strength.
Bunting may never be a great blocker. He lacks the strength to powerfully stack at the point of attack and sustain through the whistle. The Illinois native also must continue learning how to read coverages, finding holes in zones and adjusting his routes on the fly.
Here are some highlights of Bunting during his junior season. His galloping, long-stride running style can be seen throughout the clip.
Also, note how Bunting spends a ton of time on the perimeter. At this point, he's more of a receiver who will grow into a tight end, than a traditional player is works in the seams.
Bunting participated at "The Opening" this summer, which was held in Oregon at NIKE's headquarters. This is a short clip of him catching a few passes in a 7-on-7 setting, which he excelled in.
Bunting looks comfortable tracking throws, has good hands and is a solid athlete for such a tall player.
Bunting is listed as a tight end, but do not be surprised if he plays receiver at Michigan. He's going to add more bulk as he physically matures, but his skill set calls for him to be catching balls, not blocking.
Bunting is a talented player who is going earn himself a starting role one day. However, he will redshirt as a freshman in Ann Arbor so he can spend a year in the weight room. Yet, it's possible that he makes an impact as a true freshman at the receiver position, especially in the red zone.