The start of the 2019 season is still nearly two months away, but the University of Maine football team continues to bolster its roster.
Head coach Nick Charlton has announced the addition of defensive back Donovan Bunch. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is immediately eligible to compete for the Black Bears in the fall as a freshman.
Bunch received offers from 10 Power Five schools including Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia and West Virginia. He was ranked in December as the No. 20 overall high school football player in the state of New Jersey by 247Sports.
Bunch, who is from Atco, played for Winslow Township High School.
Charlton said Bunch verbally committed to play at Rutgers but things fell through and he became available.
As a senior last season, Bunch tallied 32 tackles and made six interceptions, which he returned for a 40.2-yard average. He had two pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
He also registered 34 receptions for 738 yards and seven touchdowns as a wide receiver.
Charlton said UMaine also look at Bunch as a punt returner.
“He is explosive,” said Charlton. “He can run and he is very strong, technically. He’s very competitive.”
Bunch can play cornerback or safety and will contend for playing time right away, according to Charlton.
The defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Black Bears have to replace graduated safeties Jeff DeVaughn and Darrius Hart, but return preseason All-America cornerback Manny Patterson and four other defensive backs who played in at least 12 games a year ago. That group includes Katley Joseph, Shaquille St-Lot, Erick Robertson and Richard Carr.
Also in the mix will be University of Connecticut transfer Jordan Swann, who played in four games before suffering a season-ending injury at Yale, and Joshua Huffman, who was academically ineligible last season, after playing in 31 games his first three seasons at UMaine.
UMaine went 10-4 last season and reached the Football Championship Subdivision national semifinals for the first time in program history.