This week we had the chance to chat with senior running back #22 Deionte Buckley. If you follow recruiting, you may recall Buckley came from the same talented high school, Warren Central, as Nick Temple, Deyshawn Bond, Jonathan Burt, and Josh Posley. Rivals ranked him as the 5th best player in Indiana and the 31st best running back nationally.
He has rocked #22 since high school as a tribute to his favorite back, Heisman Trophy winning Mark Ingram. He began his career at UC under Butch Jones. He was recruited by Kerry Coombs, who is now at Ohio State. Due to coaching changes and a number of other unfortunate circumstances which occur anytime a coach leaves, Buckley made the decision to transfer to Indiana State before transferring back after reconnecting with the then UC offensive coordinator, Eddie Gran.
Gran is now gone, coaching at UK, but his replacement, Zac Taylor, looks to make the most out of Buckley during his senior year. Buckley could have been another victim of coaching changes and broken promises. Instead, he’s decided not to look back, flipped on the never-quit-or-back-down switch, and is turning his senior year swan song into a redemption song.
Having to sit out all of last year under the NCAA transfer rule, Buckley has had a difficult road to earn playing time as a Bearcat at the running back position. Imagine being a top 5 player in your state coming out of high school and not really having a chance to play, let alone start, until your last year of college eligibility. Eating humble pie was not easy, but Buckley made the best of last year. He treated each day on the scout team as an opportunity to improve mentally and physically. Earning scout player of the week honors, Buckley grinded each and every day. Rather than giving up or complaining, he stuck with it and now has an opportunity to contribute valuable minutes out of the backfield this season.
Standing at 5’9” 225 lbs., the thunderous back will hit linebackers in their mouth yet enjoys joking around with his teammates and friends off the field. He also watches the occasional Keeping up with the Kardashians when he can.
He already earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last semester and looks forward to taking in every moment of his final season in Clifton this year.
After this year, Deionte is going to try his hardest to make it to the next level, whether it’s the NFL, CFL, or Arena League. After he hangs up the cleats, he looks forward to working as a social worker and helping others, however he can.
By Andy Smith