Ian Bunting is a wanted man.
Hinsdale Central’s 6-foot-7 tight end has 15 scholarship offers from major football colleges and he’s only a junior.
The compass points in all directions for Bunting, making him perhaps the most sought-after prospect in Central’s rich football history.
The humble Bunting calls all the attention “crazy” and “awesome,” adding, “This is the kind of thing that we all dream about. It really feels good when all the hard work pays off.”
Bunting’s hard work continues this spring when he plans to runs sprints and high jump in track.
“I haven’t high-jumped since middle school, but it’s important for my position,” he said.
Bunting, who hopes to bulk up from last fall’s football weight of 196 pounds, rattles off the order that college offers came in the way a speed reader scans the phone book: Illinois, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Iowa, Indiana, Ole Miss, Northwestern, Oregon, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Syracuse, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Bunting makes certain his prospective schools feel as good about themselves as he does.
On Notre Dame: “It’s a big offer. I’m definitely interested in Notre Dame football.”
On Oregon: “It was my first offer from out West. They’re consistently a top-10 team in the nation, so that’s awesome.”
On Northwestern: “I just spent the weekend there, hanging out with the players and meeting their coaches. I had a great time.”
Academics is a huge consideration for Bunting, who’s a top student. He was intrigued when the Iowa coach said, “If you’re not interested in academics, don’t bother coming here.”
Bunting is in no rush to make a decision.
“I need to think about everything,” he said.
Bunting, who contributed off the bench in basketball, is proud of sister Rachel, who’s enrolled in Missouri’s outstanding school of journalism.
OWENS TO ILLINOIS
Brian Owens, who quarterbacked Hinsdale Central to a 7-3 football record last fall, is going to give Illinois a try as a preferred walk-on.
“Both of my parents went there and my grandparents are from there so it was an easy decision,” said Owens, who’s going to study business.
Owens guided the basketball Red Devils to an 18-7 record that included 13 straight victories. It was Central’s first West Suburban Silver championship since 2000 and 25th league title since 1924. ~.