Union’s Gunn is big man with even bigger work ethic

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | 12:01 AM

The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 23 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

At some point in his high school career, Union junior lineman Aaron Gunn thought that he was going to have to transfer in order to gain enough exposure to play the sport he loves at the next level.

“Whenever I was in junior high, I thought that I was going to have to go to a bigger school in order to get noticed or something,” Gunn said.

Getting collegiate offers at any level can be difficult, but with low enrollment players at the Class A level face an uphill battle when it comes to getting in front of Division I coaches. That often means players like Gunn must take advantage of college camps and regional showcases. But, it also means sometimes they have to work twice as hard to get that attention.

“The main thing with Aaron is, football isn’t a hobby for him anymore; it’s a job, and he understands that now,” Union coach Stacey Robinson said. “He understands the importance of the hard work and how much it takes to be a big-time football player, and his work ethic is what he’s bringing to the table.”

Once Gunn started to develop that mindset, the offers started to roll in for the 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman. First, Slippery Rock offered when he was still a freshman. Then, last July, Kentucky came through with an offer.

Gunn’s first SEC offer was followed by offers from West Virginia, Michigan State and Western Michigan. He said other school have shown interest and are waiting to see him play in person. And, the first-team all-conference lineman in the Class A Big Seven Conference last season, still has two years of high school left.

“He’s improved 10-fold since last season, and he’s only going to be a junior which means the upside for him is even greater,” Robinson said. “We expect big things from him this year, and he’s only going to continue to get better.”

Heading into his junior season, the three-star recruit has showcased an ability to get things done on both sides of the ball. His highlight videos are littered with examples of him creating holes in the line, getting to the outside to create seams for runners, and he also has the ability to clog up the interior line on the defensive side.

After recovering from a hamstring injury this offseason, Gunn has gotten back to work and is ready to improve any way he can. He said he’s been putting work into his flexibility and speed.

“I have the size, so I’ve been trying to work on all of the little things,” Gunn said.

Last season, the Scotties were 3-7 and finished toward the bottom of the Big Seven Conference at 2-5. But with only six seniors on a roster of 26, they were young and inexperienced, which leaves room for growth in the 2019 season.

Outside of performing well as a team, Gunn is looking forward to the opportunity to further his exposure as a prospect for the Division I level. He said he wants to make first-team all-state and has a pretty good idea of what it will take to make that goal a reality.

“I just need to do what I know I’m capable of,” Gunn said. “I just need to play hard, and I think I can accomplish that.”

Aaron Gunn file

School: Union

Class: Junior

Ht/wt: 6-4, 305

Positions: OL/DL

Stars: three

Division I offers: Slippery Rock, Western Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan State

Trib HSSN Preseason All-Stars

A.J. Beatty, Central Catholic

Fintan Brose, Hempfield

Tui Brown, Gateway

Michael Carmody, Mars

Josh Casilli, Peters Township

Johnny Crise, Highlands

Derrick Davis, Gateway

Daniel Deabner, Thomas Jefferson

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport

Dorien Ford, Baldwin

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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