Murrow News Service
PULLMAN, Wash. The 2014 NFL Draft begins on May 8 but for former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, the path to selection at Radio City Musical Hall was carved out long ago.
Bucannon, a first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 selection in his senior season for the Cougars in 2013 has the chance to be the highest drafted WSU player since Marcus Trufant went 11th overall in 2003.
Although he admits that he’d like to get taken as early as possible, Bucannon said he will sit back and enjoy the process no matter what happens.
“I love the game of football and it’s just something that I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid,” said Bucannon. “These opportunities were laid out in front of me so I had to make the most of it.”
Throughout his collegiate playing career with the Cougars, Bucannon became well known for his penchant for big plays and reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the Pac-12.
One of the better players on some poor defenses, Bucannon’s quiet confidence and leadership endeared himself to teammates, coaches, and Cougars fans alike.
Bucannon was awarded the CFPA Elite Defensive Back Trophy in March after leading the Pac-12 conference with 114 tackles.
“It was truly a humbling experience and an honor to be presented with the trophy due to the history behind it with all the people who won it who went on to have awesome careers,” said Bucannon.
“I never was big on individual accolades and I’m still not today because I believe in team over anything but at the same time it was something I truly appreciated.”
It all started for Bucannon when at he tried out flag football in second grade at the behest of his parents in order to gauge his interest and ability in the game. After that, he was finally allowed to try full contact football in Pop Warner.
Bucannon initially struggled to find a position to stick with on the field and contemplated quitting the sport before ultimately listening to his mother’s advice to stick with it.
He then found his true calling in getting to hit people while on defense and his admiration for the game blossomed.
“I started to love football even more and the rest is history,” said Bucannon.
Although he displayed impressive speed and strength, Bucannon was not very highly recruited out of Vanden High School in Fairfield, California. He received only a few offers, primarily from lower division schools aside from WSU.
Rated only three stars by scouts, and ranked rather low in his positional group, Bucannon used the perceived disrespect to propel himself in college with a chip on his shoulder.
“Not too many people had faith in me, or gave me a chance as far as schools go and I’m actually really appreciative of that,” said Bucannon. “That’s what has really driven me and gotten me to this point.”
Bucannon made sure he always maintained the mindset that he could one day translate his skills to the pros and establish a future for himself in the NFL and it started as early as high school.
“My high school coach knew how much I loved the game and believed in me so he trained me, and gave me an opportunity during my sophomore year,” said Bucannon. “From then on it’s when I figured out I may be able to make something out of football.”
Taking these aspirations seriously meant playing on the big stage and that in turn led to Bucannon’s decision to commit to WSU, the first and only Pac-12 school to extend him an offer.
“It was definitely a blessing and the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” he said. “When I went down to Pullman on my first official college visit, I fell in love with the place, the atmosphere, and the fans.”
Bucannon said WSU proved to be a great organization with a strong support system that guided him on his journey to reach both his academic and career goals.
The consensus prognostication of draft experts on when Bucannon will be selected is in rounds 2-3 with the possibility to sneak into the late first round.
Although fully aware of all the pre-draft speculation, Bucannon plans on giving it his all no matter what round he’s selected and what team he goes to.
“I am thankful to even be in the conversation so there is no particular team I’d prefer to play for and I’d be more than happy anywhere I land,” he said.
“Whatever team I go to is going to get someone who will work hard right off the bat and do everything they need me to do to impact the team in a positive way.”