Hinsdale Central’s Ian Bunting delivers big touchdowns
Hinsdale Central junior wide receiver Ian Bunting keeps his eyes on a pass during the first half of the Red Devils' 34-25 win over Proviso West on Friday. | J.Geil—For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:58PM
HILLSIDE — When talking about what qualities make him a Division I prospect, Hinsdale Central junior wide receiver Ian Bunting has plenty of suitable answers.
His 6-foot-6, 196-pound frame comes to mind.
The triple-XL gloves he wears emphasizing the size of his hands doesn’t hurt and his speed and vertical ability for a big guy always has college scouts taking notice.
Bunting selects a different answer first, however.
“I actually like blocking,” Bunting said. “Some receivers hate it, but I love going in and pancaking cornerbacks and safeties.”
All of Bunting’s talents were on display Friday in the Red Devils’ 34-25 win over host Proviso West.
Bunting caught seven passes for 210 yards and a pair of long touchdowns.
“He dropped a couple balls early, but it shows a lot of character to come back and make those big plays after that,” Hinsdale Central coach Rich Tarka said. “It didn’t get in his head and he had a short memory. That’s what great players do. He’s just going to keep getting better and better. I was really impressed with his performance.”
Bunting, who already has a scholarship offer from Purdue University, missed all of last season with a heel injury.
He’s making up for lost time, with 10 catches for 302 yards and three TDs in just three games.
“It was so hard just watching them every single game,” Bunting said. “There’s nothing worse than that. It just made me hungrier to come back this season.”
Bunting, who projects as a tight end in college, showed his mental toughness Friday, as well.
After dropping two passes in the first half, he responded with four receptions for 162 yards and touchdowns of 58 and 68 yards in the second half.
“He showed up in the second half and had a heck of a game,” senior quarterback Brian Owens said. “He’s (6-6), so that obviously helps. He’s fast, he runs good routes and is able to beat guys vertical. He makes it easy for me.”
Bunting honed his skills this summer at Core 6 Athletes, which is run by former Big Ten players.
He also feels fortunate to have a talented quarterback like Owens throwing him the ball and credits Hinsdale Central assistant coach Nick Gebhart with boosting his confidence.
“He’s my strength and conditioning coach and is always in my corner,” Bunting said. “He always tells me I have to keep working hard to get bigger and stronger because you’re going to turn into something special.”