I’m no expert on bird flight paths, but it’s easy to see there are major Duck migration patterns heading from Arizona to Oregon this year.
The flock keeps getting bigger.
Chandler outside linebacker Brandon Buckner is the latest Oregon pledge to come from the Grand Canyon State after announcing his commitment to the Ducks on Friday.
“𝙱𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚝𝚘𝚕𝚍 𝚎𝚖 𝙸 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚌𝚑𝚘𝚜𝚎𝚗, 𝚒𝚖𝚖𝚊 𝚏𝚞𝚕𝚏𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚖𝚢 𝚙𝚞𝚛𝚙𝚘𝚜𝚎…”
𝙳𝚁𝙴𝙰𝙼𝚂 ➡️ 𝚁𝙴𝙰𝙻𝙸𝚃𝚈
𝚂𝙲𝙾𝙳𝚄𝙲𝙺𝚂 #𝙶𝙾𝙳𝚄𝙲𝙺𝚂 #𝚃𝙰𝙺𝙴𝙵𝙻𝙸𝙶𝙷𝚃𝟸𝟷 @coach_cristobal @CoachKWils @oregonfootball @CoachJsalavea @AADucksDC pic.twitter.com/jCpCiodw16
— Brandon Buckner (@brandonbuckner_) May 29, 2020
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound defensive end/outside linebacker is the fourth commitment for Arizona to commit to Mario Cristobal’s program this class, joining Mesquite quarterback Ty Thompson, Saguaro offensive tackle Bram Walden and Sahuaro offensive tackle Jonah Miller.
According to 247 Sports, all four of these commits rank in the top 10 in the state for 2021.
Chandler ended their 2020 season on way to an Open Division championship by going head-to-head against Salpointe Catholic in the semifinals and Saguaro in the finals, meaning Buckner had a chance to go head-to-head against his eventual teammates in Miller and Walden.
“We were making each other better going head-to-head,” Buckner said. “The Salpointe game was one of my favorite games all year, just see that Jonah is now my future teammate and Bram, it’s definitely making us better. All the people coming from Arizona, the bond we have going up there is going to be amazing.”
In 2019, Buckner was limited due to injury, but only when talking about quantity of games. The junior tallied 53 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in just nine games.
“(Oregon) is getting a diversified guy,” Chandler football coach Rick Garretson said. “Probably at more of an outside backer in the sense of a lot of defenses are structured where that guy can also be a rush guy, a blitz guy, a drop in coverage guy. He’s all of that and he’ll have the opportunity to do with with us in the fall.”
The Ducks were the first to offer Buckner in January 2019. He also holds offers from Arizona State, Maryland, Oregon State, NAU, Arizona, Iowa State, Colorado, Middle Tennessee State, Washington State, UNLV, Michigan State, San Diego State and Fresno State.
After a great call with Mario Cristobal, I am blessed and humbled to receive my first offer from The University of Oregon🦆🔰 #GODUCKS @coach_cristobal @FTBL_Boosters @faithbeforefame @NCElitePrep @CS2SA pic.twitter.com/5ppPVqtQdK
— Brandon Buckner (@brandonbuckner_) January 19, 2019
Buckner has been taking advantage of this fully healthy offseason by getting bigger and faster. He’s also been able to work consistently with his dad, Cardinals defensive line coach Brentston Buckner, while they are both working from home.
“It’s amazing seeing so much similarities between us,” Brandon said. “Now that I’m getting older, I can take all the knowledge he’s given me. He’s made a better player and a better man on and off the field. It’s just a blessing.”
Buckner and Garretson are looking forward to seeing what the playmaker can do as a senior. While he mainly played defensive end in 2019, he will be playing more outside linebacker, which is the role he plans to play in Eugene.
“I think he can always grow as a student of the game,” Garretson said. “We’ve spent a lot of time on that and he’s spent a lot of time on that in this downtime with the pandemic. He has a very high football IQ as well…he’s a multiple type of defensive guy, which most college coaches are looking for guys that can play multiple positions and cause havoc on the defensive side of the ball.”
In addition to the four (current) Duck commits in 2021, the present Oregon roster will be headlined by fellow city of Chandler standouts in presumed starting quarterback Tyler Shough and wide receiver Johnny Johnson.
Brandon breaks down his decision with the Venezia’s Pizzeria Recruiting Roundup.