Harrodsburg's Mark Dunn will play for Eastern

January 14, 2004|JILL ERWIN

HARRODSBURG - Mark Dunn said he was looking for someone who would help him become a better person and football player, and he found that in Eastern Kentucky University coach Danny Hope.

That's why Dunn, a running back, has verbally committed to Eastern where he'll join former Harrodsburg teammate Patrick Bugg.

"The coach is real interested in academics," Dunn said. "He just seemed like he was really involved, and that's the type of person I want to be around."

There aren't many high school coaches that will miss playing against Dunn. He set Harrodsburg's school record for career yardage (5,106 yards) on the final carry of his career, and finished his senior season with 1,691 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 168 yards and a touchdown, and scored 148 of Harrodsburg's 276 points last season.

Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast says Eastern is a great fit for Dunn, and he's excited to see what Dunn can accomplish at the next level.


"I think Mark has a great opportunity to be real successful," Yeast said. "Eastern Kentucky is committed to the running game. I think for Mark, the biggest plus is he's going into a program stacked with lots of good offensive linemen. At a small school like Harrodsburg, you have to move guys around. Something will be there for him time after time, and that's a huge plus for him."

Dunn said he has thought about that, and looks forward to having a chance to break free for yardage. He said hopefully the combination of more skilled linemen and only playing one way will help him avoid the injuries that have haunted him in recent years.

"(The line) is going to help a whole lot," Dunn said. "It's something I'm not used to, but it's something I'm looking forward to."

Dunn is also looking forward to getting on the field his first year. Senior C.J. Hudson is the only running back returning to the Colonels that saw extensive time last season, and Dunn said the chance to play as a freshman definitely impacted his decision to go to EKU.

"I have a big chance this coming year," Dunn said. "It's the coach, it's the opportunity to play early, it's a lot of things. He's trying to turn the program around, and they've all got a good vibe over there. It makes you want to join a team that has that good vibe and wants to win."

Dunn said he was also considering several other in-state schools including Western Kentucky, Georgetown and Kentucky. But in the end, it came down to the fact that Eastern wanted him more, and had wanted him longer.

"Eastern has been around for a while," Dunn said. "They were one of the first teams to contact me and offer me a scholarship. That shows they were really interested. I couldn't pass that up. Other teams were not interested enough or they couldn't use me enough, so that really caught my eye."

Dunn said going from being a senior leader for the Pioneers to a rookie with the Colonels will take some adjustment, but he's ready to do it.

"It's a little scary," Dunn said. "You want to come in and do well, and not be the one messing up. You get used to being a veteran, then you have to go be a rookie all over again. But I'm up for the challenge."

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