Michigan Athlete Hearing from FSU

Florida State fans have seen the offensive line board for 2021 start to grow over the past several weeks. A new name showing up is Grand Rapids, MI two-way standout Ru’Quan Buckley. The Godwin Heights Senior High star’s recruitment has picked back up after an early start. We caught up with him to talk about his recruitment, and to get the latest on his thoughts about FSU.

Ru’Quan Buckley plays both offensive tackle and defensive end for his high school in Michigan. Standing 6’6”, 270 pounds Buckley has seen colleges from all over the country recruit him at both positions. Currently a 3-star on the 247sports composite, Buckley says he has 20 offers currently but that his recruitment has pick back up.

“I’d say overall recruiting is going good so far even though I didn’t get a chance to take any visits,” said Buckley. “I wanted to visit FSU, Minnesota, Penn State and the schools in Michigan. It can be stressful sometimes because some days some schools stand out. It’s a hard process. My mom wants me to get out of Michigan, and I’ve kind of seen that. When I can take these visits I’ll start to get a better idea.”

“I have 20 offers right now from schools like Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, and schools like that,” Buckley continued about his recruitment. “FSU and Kansas are two schools that haven’t offered yet that have been contacting me. FSU wants me as a tackle. Minnesota and Michigan State have said tackle with an option to play defensive end. Nebraska and Kansas are recruiting me as a defensive end.”

Alex Atkins continues to grind on the recruiting trail as his relationship with Buckley is starting to solidify and grow. Since they started recruiting Ru’Quan, FSU’s coaches have stayed in constant contact as they evaluate his film and decide when an offer will come. 

“Coach Atkins and I talk a lot and we make jokes with each other,” said Buckley. “I’ve been on virtual tours with them the past three days looking at the strength and conditioning program and the school. I really like FSU and think it is a great program. Coach Atkins seems like a coach who could teach me a lot of things. FSU wants me to visit so they can see me, but with no visits allowed that’s delayed. Some of the offers I have haven’t reached out recently so I am looking for my list to grow.”

The virtual tours Ru’Quan has completed was his first chance to see what FSU looks like and what they have to offer. He’s taken some unofficial visits to other programs but he says he can’t compare them to the virtual tour because it is such a different experience.

“FSU is really nice and I liked it all but I want to see it on a real visit,” said Buckley. “I’ve been to Nebraska and all of the schools in Michigan. When I am on the visits I’m looking at the coaching staff, the environment and the city and just the feel of it all. I want to visit there.”

Buckley’s versatility is what has caught the attention of college coaches. He knows that he’ll have a decision to make on the next level and is working on both sides of the ball to become a better player. 

“I want to play defensive end but it doesn’t matter to me where I play,” said Buckley. “My focus right now is working to improve my overall game. I know when I get to college my body will change because of the nutrition and strength programs. I am a relentless player that keeps moving forward. If we give up a play on defense I am looking to get that back on offense. I want to be more consistent. As a defensive end I need to work on my technique. On offense I am really quick off of the ball. I think I am really fast for a tackle. I’m also working on using my hands at both positions.”

Buckley attributes his athleticism to playing basketball. He plans to play AAU this summer, if possible, and play his senior season.

“Basketball has helped me big time with my stamina,” said Buckley. “I think it’s made me faster and given me better footwork. I’m playing AAU this summer – I play center.”

The program that offers Ru’Quan the best combination of family feel, an at-home environment, and the chance to grow both off and the field is the one he will sign with in December.

We will follow up with Ru’Quan later this week as he is planning on having a Zoom meeting with Coach Norvell Friday.

“Coach Atkins told me yesterday to keep doing my thing,” said Buckley. “He said I’ll be meeting with Coach Norvell Friday and I am looking forward to that. If they offer that is going to put them on the list of schools I am considering and it will make this decision even harder.”

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