Water Valley senior Eric Buckley confirmed earlier today that he has given a verbal commitment to play football for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.Like Oxford’s Guy Cameron Billups, Buckley was a standout prep player that was until recently searching for an official scholarship off.
That offer came on Saturday during Buckley’s official visit to Lafayette, La., and he went ahead and made it official, choosing the Ragin’ Cajuns over interest from Delta State and Arkansas State to name a few.
“It’s a big burden off of my shoulders,” Buckley said earlier today.
The Ragin’ Cajuns became a player in Buckley’s recruitment in recent weeks after the staff change brought former Rebel assistant David Saunders into the fold.
Since that point, Buckley said no team has recruited him harder.
According to Buckley, UL-L plans to use him at safety to start out and after he begins to fill out his 6-foot-3 frame he expects to transition to linebacker.
Buckley currently weighs 190 pounds and hopes to get up to 205 by the time he reports at the end of the summer.
Water Valley head coach Brad Embry said he expects Buckley to move to linebacker almost immediately, adding that how he was used at WVHS as a hybrid safety playing close to the line of scrimmage will help the position change.
“He’s an aggressive guy who likes to play around the line of scrimmage and hit folks,” Embry said. He’s just a hitter and a tackler. I think an outside linebacker fits him perfect.”
Buckley played a major role in Water Valley’s 11-3 season, recording 85 tackles and seven passes defended as a hybrid safety, and 738 yards and nine touchdowns rushing at running back.
Buckley will have no trouble qualifying academically, as he reports a 3.2 GPA and a 22 ACT score.
Buckley joins Oxford standouts Larry Pettis and DeShaun McNeal as UL-L commitments.
“It’ll be good to have some right-up-the-road boys with me,” Buckley joked.
Buckley, Pettis and McNeal are three of 15 Mississippians committed to UL-L.
For more on Buckley’s verbal commitment, check out Monday’s Oxford EAGLE print edition. (January 30, 2011)