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Michigan Signing Day 2014: Ian Bunting Inked & Faxed

Michigan picked up yet another big-bodied mismatch waiting to happen when Ian Bunting signed on the dotted line.

Gregory Shamus

Recruitment In Summary

Bunting had a relatively quiet recruitment. Holding offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC and many others, it appeared that the Fighting Irish held and early lead. After taking unofficial visits to Notre Dame, Oregon, USC, Wisconsin and others, Bunting went on a visit spree to Michigan that ended with an official; he committed there and then.

Ratings and Attributes

Star Rating: Bunting is a three- to four-star 'tweener who probably would have received his fourth star across the board had he not been so injury prone during his junior and senior seasons. He's a top-ten tight end.

Strengths: Ian is a physically imposing tight end, coming in at a true 6'6" and weighing 220 pounds. He has great length and decent athleticism for someone his size. He also has massive XXXL hands that allow him to go up and pluck the ball away from slow linebackers or undersized defensive backs. He isn't quite as athletic as Devin Funchess or Jake Butt, but he is more of a physical mismatch and will be extremely useful in the red zone and on underneath routes, which will allow him to box out defenders and find the ball.

Weaknesses: Despite weighing 220 pounds, Bunting needs to get much bigger. He is still far too lanky to block defensive ends or even some linebackers; a year or two in a college weight training program will help him become a much better blocker. He isn't overly explosive and won't be able to pull away from most linebackers or safeties, which is what is holding him back from breaching the top 150 prospects. He is also prone to injury; added weight and strength will hopefully lessen this weakness in the future.

Future Impact

Years Until He Sees the Field: 0-1

Michigan will continue to utilize the tight end position as long as it has big boys who can outwork helpless defenders in the air, and Bunting is one of those big boys. Assuming he arrives completely healthy, he should be able to work into a role very similar to that of Jake Butt when he was a true freshman. If the staff can't find room for him on the field with Funchess and Butt already in the mix, expect him to redshirt and see plenty of time in 2015–he's a lock to play if Funchess decided to take his talents to the League a year early. Bunting has NFL potential but really needs to focus on getting stronger and thicker in the weight room if he wants to reach his ceiling.