Michigan tight end Ian Bunting is in a nice situation where the team doesn't exactly need him in 2014 if he needs time to gain mass. Does this stop him from seeing playing time in 2014?
Recruit: Ian Bunting
Height/Weight: 6'7, 230 lbs.
Position: Tight End
School/Hometown: Hinsdale Central HS/Hinsdale, IL
Star Rating: ★★★★
Ranked as the sixth best tight end in the country according to 247, Ian Bunting's recruitment process lived up the hype. With over 22 offers from schools all over the country, Bunting eventually chose Michigan as the destination on May 23.
Where He Fits
Bunting enters Michigan heading into a transformational phase. Just like Funchess and Butt, Bunting rarely had his hand down in the dirt for his high school and mainly used split out wide. For Michigan, there tight end needs focus on being able to catch the football and also play with your hand in the dirt.
With that transformation comes an obvious learning curve and, especially for Bunting, weight and strength gains will also need to be made in order to be better suited for the position.
This doesn't necessarily rule Bunting out for 2014, though. We saw Funchess and Butt see early playing time their freshman season. Funchess struggled with the blocking schemes and was a fantastic receiver. Butt transformed into a more 'all-around' tight end towards the tail end of the season and will be used there once he returns from injury.
Now, Butt suffering a torn ACL certainly doesn't help tight end depth, Michigan should be fine with A.J. Williams and Keith Heitzman until Butt returns mid-season. This means that Michigan doesn't necessarily need Bunting right away. However, if something were to happen and depth was deteriorated further, then it might be a cause for concern.
As for right now, Bunting will need to focus on technique and gaining mass in the summer. If big strides can be made, it would not be surprising at all to see Bunting featured in some different types of packages.
Joshua Henschke covers University of Michigan football for SB Nation's Maize n Brew. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaHenschke.