A member of Michigan’s deep tight end group has announced plans to leave.
Ian Bunting says he’s obtained his release and plans to pursue a graduate transfer and play his fifth year at a school elsewhere, he announced early Tuesday evening.
“To my family, teammates, coaches, Michigan fans, and the University of Michigan, I will forever be thankful for the support you’ve given me over the years in Ann Arbor,” Bunting wrote on Instagram.
“This place will always be a special one for me and it has been the experience of a lifetime. Michigan has given me the opportunity to grow not only as an athlete and a student, but as a man.”
The 6-foot-7, 252-pound Bunting played in all 13 games during the 2017 season in a rotational role at tight end, catching just one pass for six yards. In three years at Michigan, he caught 11 passes for 124 yards over 34 games.
A four-star recruit out of Hinsdale (Ill.) Central High School, Bunting was ranked as the 11th-best tight end in the country during the class of 2014. He redshirted his freshman season, then backed up Jake Butt and A.J. Williams and competed with others for playing time.
Bunting found himself buried on the depth chart at tight end in 2017, behind redshirt freshman Sean McKeon and sophomore Zach Gentry. Both are expected to return in 2018, along with senior Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., and sophomore Nick Eubanks.
Michigan also welcomes in four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad and three-star Luke Schoonmaker, a pair of true freshman. The group will be led by the newly hired tight ends coach Sherrone Moore.
Bunting is the fifth Michigan player to announce plans to pursue a graduate transfer this offseason, joining quarterbacks Wilton Speight and Alex Malzone and wide receivers Maurice Ways and Drake Harris.
Malzone says he’s headed to Miami University in Ohio. The others have not yet announced a destination.