Relentless, unblockable and fierce, DeForest Buckner is a 6-7, 230-lb. linebacker/defensive end from Punahou High in Honolulu. He already has offers from eight PAC-12 schools, and he’s getting interest from USC, LSU, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.
Buckner is physical and great in pursuit, rarely giving up on a play even when it’s far downfield from his strongside defensive end position. He has great strength moves, overpowering bigger defensive tackles on the bullrush. He’s quick, uses his arms well for leverage, can spin inside or burst by around the edge. He plays hungry, aggressive football with tremendous desire and instincts. His listed 40 time is 5.04 but he plays much faster, taking great angles to the ball. In high school he lines up often at outside linebacker, standing up in a 3-4 alignment, and that experience of reading, pursuing the play and shedding blocks will help him as a college player. He lists Oregon in his top three.
Buckner has the frame at 6-7 to grow much stronger and more powerful. Just ending his junior year now, he runs the shuttle in 4.22 and has 29-inch vertical leap. His run-stuffing prowess is reminiscent of graduated Duck defensive tackle Zac Clark, shedding a blocker and devouring a ball carrier in space. Hawaii prep football features lots of big, strong offensive linemen, and Bucker’s Punahou squad plays in the top division with powerhouses like St. Louis High. He’s been tested by the best competition, several players who’ll get Division I offers in 2012.
A good athlete, Buckner also averaged 12.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for the Punahou basketball team, including 19 rebounds and 19 points in a January 6th contest against Academy of the Pacific. His team went 23-8, ranked fourth in the state.
The rangy Hawaiian first earned notice at a Nike Combine event back in February of 2010. Brian Stumpf of ESPN filed this report:
Right behind Bukoski in the SPARQ Rating chase was eye-catching 6-foot-6.5, 220-pound rising junior DeForest Buckner of Punahou/Honolulu, Haw. Buckner finished with a 94.26 rating on the strength of a 4.22 shuttle and 40-foot power ball throw and with his frame and athleticism has a great chance to be the state’s top player and perhaps a national recruit in the Class of 2012.
The 5.04 40 time is not eye-popping, but it was electronically-timed, and 4.22 shuttle is excellent for his size. For defensive linemen that measure is far more meaningful; the most significant distance with the pads on is the seven yards to the quarterback. Whatever Buckner may lack in raw speed (and he’d get faster and quicker working with the Oregon training staff) he makes up for in pursuit, desire and tenacity. This kid is a football player, and would be a terrific addition to the 2012 recruiting class.