Gardena Serra High standout LV Bunkley-Shelton has had one of the best offseasons of any player in the Southland.
Bunkley-Shelton has picked up scholarship offers from some big schools. He has been a top performer at multiple individual camps. He earned an invitation to Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge and an opportunity to play in the Under Armour All-America game with his effort at the Under Armour regional camp in Mission Viejo.
He has also been a key contributor for his Ground Zero seven-on-seven team that has won multiple tournaments this spring. Ground Zero’s Team Graham, named after Rancho Cucamonga alumnus and current Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham, recently won the Adidas West Coast Invitational and was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 seven-on-seven team this spring by one organization.
Bunkley-Shelton helped his team to the victory with two touchdown catches in the championship game.
Team Graham has finished in the top three in each tournament it has entered, including winning the Red Zone Elite tournament in Arizona in January and the Passing Down Elite Southern California Regional the following month. Bunkley-Shelton was selected MVP of the Passing Down tournament.
The 6-foot, 180-pound receiver/defensive back isn’t the biggest or the fastest, but the four-star prospect, rated by each of the recruiting databases as a receiver, is precise in every movement he makes. Bunkley-Shelton runs crisp routes on the inside and outside. He catches the ball away from his body well and does a great job making adjustments while the ball is in the air.
His offseason work has centered on making his lower body stronger through a variety of squats, cleans and on-field plyometrics.
“It’s just been me focusing on my explosion, in and out of my breaks quicker, getting my speed up and making sure my lower level is strong,” Bunkley-Shelton said.
Bunkley-Shelton’s recruitment continues to grow with more than 20 colleges interested. He is trying to take the process slowly, but offers from Oklahoma and Ohio State were different.
“Oklahoma stood out. Ohio State most definitely stood out,” Bunkley-Shelton said. “Ohio State [receivers] coach Brian Hartline, he came up to my school, he didn’t offer me there, but as soon as I got on the phone with him, he liked what I was saying, he liked the way I was talking and he offered me through the phone.”
Bunkley-Shelton is planning to take a trip to Columbus in April to attend the Buckeyes’ spring game. He is hoping to make a trip to Norman, Okla., in the summer for a barbecue that has become one of the Sooners’ biggest recruiting events of the year. He also talked about an unofficial visit to Washington State with Serra teammate Devyn King.
He took a trip to the desert over the weekend with fellow Team Graham receiver Chad Johnson Jr. to visit Arizona State, where Johnson is currently committed. The visit really opened Bunkley-Shelton’s eyes.
“When I got there I felt the energy from the coaches. The coaches showed me love,” Bunkley-Shelton said. “They gave me a facility tour. The weight room is beautiful, one of the best I’ve ever seen and the players’ lounge is nice. I had such a good time that I had to come back on Sunday. Sunday was an experience for learning and feeding off the knowledge of the coaches.”
Bunkley-Shelton appreciated coach Herm Edwards’ belief in three standards rather than having rules: Be on time, have your words match your actions and compete.
“Coach Herm is one chill coach!” Bunkley-Shelton said. “If you don’t compete, [they] don’t want you. Plain and simple.”