Baylen Buchanan (Suwanee, GA) has been committed to the Louisville Cardinals since last summer, but heavy interest from his home state Georgia Bulldogs has him thinking a bit harder about where he’ll decide to play at the next level.
“…I do see myself fitting in his defense because I can play off, I can play zone really well and I can press. That is basically what Coach Pruitt does, so I could definitely see myself playing for that defense.”
…”UGA’s academics probably shatter Louisville’s, but they both have great defenses,” Buchanan said. “It is hard to tell which one I like best, so I am still trying to evaluate them both. I definitely see myself having a shot to come in and play early at both places.”
Buchanan was quick to express his thoughts on the Bulldogs.
“I love Georgia,” Buchanan said. “It is right in my backyard, so it is easy for my family to come and watch me play. My family feels the same as I do. They love the academics and how convenient it would be for me if I went to Georgia. I love Coach Pruitt and the entire coaching staff – Coach Mark Richt, Coach Thomas Brown, all of them guys. Only time will tell where I am going to end up.” (Kipp Adams, Dawgs247)
Jeremy Pruitt has made no secret about the type of players he wants on defense, particularly at defensive back; guys with great ball skills, athleticism and speed. The 2015 defensive back class certainly fit that bill and 2016 looks pretty promising thus far, with the Bulldogs trending heavily for Mecole Hardman, Chad Clay, and Marlon Character.
And while Buchanan is currently only rated as a 3-star (according to 247’s Composite Ratings), he certainly has the pedigree to see his stock rise in the coming months—his father is former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowler Ray Buchanan—and that could mean a lot more competition for the Cardinals down the line.
That said, you have to figure Buchanan will need to make up his mind fairly quickly. Georgia figures to take 5-6 at that position in 2016 and, assuming Tyrique McGee and Malek Young stay true to their verbals—and the Bulldogs manage to hit two or three of their other other top targets—things are going to get tight.
At 5’11, 188 pounds, Buchanan is a bit on the smallish side, but he can add a bit more weight to that frame in order to broaden the physicality of his game—particularly for when he’s needed to produce in run support situations. As for coverage skills, he’s a naturally instinctive, well-coached, player with a better than average feel for the game. He keeps his eyes on the quarterback and makes sure he’s hardly ever caught out of position on a play.
He’s quick afoot and does a great job of sticking close to the receiver and not allowing himself to get beat on a play.
In short, he’s got plenty of potential and could develop into a good cornerback at the next level, despite any perceived size limitations.
As of now, there is still a long way to go, but it’s clear the Bulldogs have Buchanan thinking long and hard about staying home.