Whitehouse safety Justin Dunning tore an ACL in the second game of the 2013 season. However, that didn't stop a number of programs from recruiting the 6 foot, 3 inch, 200 pound Dunning, particularly Texas A&M which was also one of the first schools to offer the 2015 Rivals 250 prospect this past summer. In fact, even after the injury and subsequent surgery, the Aggies never backed off of him and their dogged pursuit of him played a large part in his decision to commit to A&M a day after attending their game with Mississippi State yesterday.
"The deciding factor was when A&M was still recruiting me hard after my ACL injury and that meant a lot to me," he said.
Dunning chose the Aggies over offers from Baylor, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt.
"I'm happy that the recruiting process is over," he said. "I'm very excited to be part of the A&M class."
Dunning's decision came after the trip to Aggieland which he enjoyed immensely as he was part of the Aggies' biggest recruiting weekend since the Alabama game in September.
"The visit this weekend was great, I had a lot of fun, and the coaches told me that they really wanted me here at Texas A&M," he said.
Dunning is friends with A&M commit and fellow 2015 class member defensive tackle Daylon Mack from Gladewater. Although Mack was at the game yesterday as well, Dunning indicated that Mack did not play a role in the decision.
"My mom said that she wanted me to pick the school that was the best fit for me educationally, and that's why I chose A&M," he said.
Even though Mack wasn't recruiting Dunning prior to his commitment, the big safety plans on doing a little recruiting of his own for the Aggies.
"I'm now going to continue to rehab and work on recruiting Malik Jefferson and J'Mychal Hasty to Texas A&M," he said.
Dunning's 6 foot 3 frame has led to speculation that he could grow from being a safety into a linebacker at the next level and he was asked what position he was being recruited for.
"I don't know what position I'll be playing at Texas A&M yet," he said. "I just know that I'm happy to be going there."
Dunning has now taken unofficial visits to most of the schools that have offered him, with A&M being the most recent one. He indicated that the next time he would be at A&M would probably be for a junior day next year as the Aggies have no more home games and his Whitehouse teammates are playing in the Class 4A playoffs. Dunning recorded 62 solo tackles, five pass interceptions, six pass deflections, and recovered three fumbles as a sophomore. He earned co-defensive newcomer of the year honors in 2012. This past summer, he recorded a 40 inch vertical leap and electronically timed 4.4 in the forty at the ETSN East Texas Combine.