Hayfield football player signs with Minnesota State

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evan Bungum, Hayfield's quarterback this past year, will sign to play football with Minnesota State-Mankato. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

HAYFIELD — Hayfield senior Evan Bungum had trouble getting noticed on the football field over the last two seasons.

He was injured his junior year and his team went 0-9 overall this past season.

Next season and beyond, Bungum will get plenty of chances to be noticed as he plays football for Division II Minnesota State in Mankato. Bungum, a safety who had 29.5 tackles with three interceptions for Hayfield this past fall, will sign to play with the Mavericks Wednesday afternoon and he will receive an athletic scholarship.

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“It’s an honor to do something like this and I’m ready to start a new chapter of my life,” Bungum said. “I’m not dis(respecting) Hayfield at all, but I’m looking to get on a new program and start winning with some kids who love to play the game of football.”

Bungum almost gave up on Minnesota State after being strongly recruited early. The Mavericks’ recruiter for this area resigned and Bungum didn’t hear from the team after that until recently when they made their offer.

“I hadn’t heard from them and I was talking to other schools, then they called me up,” Bungum said.

While he had a tough time telling recruiters that his team didn’t have any wins, Bungum made up for that by going to six combines over the years, including one in Michigan, to turn the heads of colleges.

“All of the schools have been understanding and they’ve looked at me as just an athlete,” Bungum said. “It was frustrating (coming from a winless team) but I got through it.”

Bungum also played quarterback at Hayfield but he will focus on playing safety and possibly punting at the college level. He knows that his workload is about to increase vastly and he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“I don’t know if I can live without football, it’s hard when I’m not playing,” Bungum said. “It’ll keep me on track in school, because I can’t play if I don’t have good grades. It’ll help me graduate and make new friends.”

While playing for the Vikings, Bungum was an aggressive safety with a knack for the ball. He had a 100-yard return for a touchdown this season as one of his highlights.

But he knows he has a lot more to learn and he can’t wait to start that process.

“I’m going to learn a lot more when I get to college,” said Bungum, who’s mom graduated from Minnesota State. “I was kind of going on pure athletic ability the past four years and I’m looking to get a better education on the game of football.”

Bungum was initially hoping on moving farther from home, but he was very impressed with the facilities at Minnesota State.

“Right away I was hell bent on getting far away, but an hour away is plenty and they’ve got some great classrooms and it’s more of a small town feel in a big atmosphere,” he said.

Minnesota State went 6-5 overall last year.