Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting emerges as defensive backs leader

Junior defensive back Sean Bunting poses for a portrait on Aug. 19 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Sean Bunting doesn't want to be known as a phony. 

As a newfound leader of the Central Michigan football secondary, the role was not effortlessly handed to the redshirt junior cornerback. 

Bunting paid his dues, put in the work and justified himself through his demeanor on and off the field. 

"I'm just doing what I got to do — doing everything right," Bunting said. "I want the guys to look up here and not think I'm an impostor. I'm not trying to act like I can do this or that, I'd rather show them so I can believe in it." 

The 6-foot-1, 180 pounder took a redshirt as a freshman in 2015. He then played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman and 13 as a redshirt junior in 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

"I'm a hard worker, so if the guys see that, then they are going to follow behind and it'll continue for years to come," he said. 

Defensive backs coach Archie Collins left following a stellar 2017 season to take over for Pittsburgh. CMU head coach John Bonamego called up Cory Hall, a six-year NFL veteran, and brought him in to replace Collins in March 2018. 

Hall played college football at Fresno State from 1995-98 and was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He spent 2015-16 coaching cornerbacks at Oregon State and served as the interim head coach in the final six games of 2017 for the Beavers. 

For Bunting's augmentation on the field, Hall has been nothing but a godsend.  

"He's been a great coach, great mentor for me," Bunting said. "From the moment he stepped here, he took me under his wing to show me how things are supposed to be done from a college and NFL standpoint. I couldn't ask for anyone better."

The Chippewas feature 15 defensive backs on the roster, of which Bunting said redshirt freshman Alonzo McCoy, freshman Rolliann Sturkey, redshirt freshman Norman Anderson, redshirt freshman Brandon Brown, redshirt freshman Darius Bracy and sophomore Tee-ondre Harvey are the most surprising underclassman who could see the field at times in 2018. 

"I would trust any single one of them going into a game," Bunting said. 

Having confidence in all of the defensive backs, not the projected starters - Bunting and Xavier Crawford at cornerback, Da'Quan Jamison and Tyjuan Swain at safety - is a pivotal ingredient for the CMU secondary. 

By having credence in every player who has earned it, old or young, Bunting said it brings a favorable degree of dependence. 

"Even with Devonni Reed, a (redshirt) freshman, I can say, 'Yo, what am I supposed to do on this?' We trust each other and depend on each other," Bunting added.

"When the young guys came in, we gelled immediately because they are all mature. We have a very young secondary, but I know I can call any of them up to hang out."

The secondary, led by Bunting and coach Hall, is like a family. The group goes into battle against Kentucky for the first time this season on Sept. 1.