March 4, 2013

Bunting has Mizzou ties

Ian Bunting has been busy lately. Along with school and his high school basketball season, Bunting's had his hands full with an increasingly intense recruiting process.

In the past two weeks alone, he's added scholarship offers from some of the nation's most respected football programs. Oregon, Notre Dame, and Ohio State have all extended offers to the 6-foor-7 tight end in recent days. Thursday night, Missouri threw its hat into the ring as well.

"I talked to Coach [Josh Henson] and he said they watched my film, they like what they saw and they offered me," Bunting said.

Bunting didn't have much time to think about the offer. Later that night his basketball team, Hinsdale Central, played a playoff basketball game where they suffered a season-ending loss.

A day later, he had some time to think about the Mizzou offer.

"It's definitely a blessing," he said. "All this has shown me that hard work really does pay off."

With an offer list well into double digits, it would be easy to think Mizzou could get lost in the shuffle, but the Tigers have some advantages when it comes to recruiting Bunting.

"My sister goes [to Mizzou] and she absolutely loves," he said. "She's always talking it up to me and only has good things to say about it."

With his older sister already on campus, Bunting has had the opportunity to visit Columbia. While he hasn't checked out the football facilities, he's attended a Tiger basketball game and spent plenty of time on campus. He likes what he sees.

"I'm looking for that typical college campus," Bunting said. "Kind of like something you'd see in the movies with a college town, a great campus and I know Mizzou definitely has that."

Of course he has other requirements too.

"Academics is important," Bunting said. "Also a team and a system where I fit in."

For now, Bunting won't name any leaders. He's visited plenty of schools already. Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Indiana, just to name a few. But he's in the process of checking out a few others. He'll try to visit Oregon and possibly Notre Dame again in April.

"This is my family's first time going through anything like this," Bunting said of the recruiting process. "We talk about it, but we'll probably talk more about it this summer. Maybe then we'll narrow it down to about ten or so and go from there.

If the Tiger coaches have their way, Mizzou will be one of those ten.

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