Arkansas DB's Dream Comes True

Robbie Buckner is a 5'11", 170-pound defensive back prospect who recently gave a verbal commitment to play football for BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall. While most Cougar commits come from states west of the Rocky Mountains, Buckner comes to BYU from rural Ashdown, Arkansas.

"We're right by the Texas and Oklahoma border," said Robbie Buckner's mother, Marne Buckner. "It's a nice little town and we like it here a lot. I just wish it was a little closer to Provo, but I guess we'll be racking up the frequent flyer mileage in the years to come."

Although Provo is far away from Ashdown, Robbie knows the city very well. "I've been to Provo at least six times because I have family there, so I'm real familiar with Provo," said Buckner. "I like it there a lot, and playing football for BYU is something I've always wanted since I was a young kid, so this is really a dream come true for me."

Buckner attended the second week of summer camp and received his official offer via email. "I checked my email on Wednesday and there was the offer," Buckner recounted. "I was so excited because it's what I've always wanted."

The decision was already made in Buckner's mind so he committed to Coach Mendenhall immediately after receiving his offer. "It's what I've always wanted, so I committed right away," said Buckner. "Other offers may have come, but there is no other offer I wanted more than an offer from BYU, so why wait?"

"We're so excited for him," said Marne. "I know BYU is a great place and Robbie will do really well there."

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Buckner has definite mission plans. He intends to leave right after his first season. "I'm for sure serving a mission," said Buckner. "I've always planned on that and BYU will be the best program there is to respect my wishes to serve a mission."

Buckner showed well at BYU's camp, but the Arkansas 3-A State 400 Meter Champion was a bit disappointed in how he performed in individual workouts. "I only ran a 4.60 forty and I know I'm way faster than that", said Buckner, who ran a 4.40 forty when he attended the University of Arknasas's summer camp. "The mountain air is sort of hard to get used to and I ran it after sitting around all day. I know I'm faster than that."

Where Buckner stood out was during the seven-on-seven passing league games. He was often the number one target on offense, taking multiple passes for touchdowns. He was also all over the field on defense, picking off passes and breaking up plays.

"He's a play-maker," said Marne. "He's always made plays on the field ever since he was a kid. He's always received awards since he was young for being the best athlete for whatever team he's playing for."

"I just go out there and try and make things happen," said Buckner. "I feel that I have a good feel for what is going on out on the field. I feel that I have good instincts."

Instincts are what Buckner will need while playing cornerback in Coach Mendenhall's system. "Coach Mendenhall is a great man who I know will help me reach my potential as a football player," said Buckner. "I love the aggressive system he runs and hopefully I'll be able to contribute right away, serve my mission and come back and play for a lot of years."

Buckner also got to know several of the recruits he will end up playing with while at BYU. "I got to know Rhen Brown a lot and he's a great guy," said Buckner. "He's a southern guy just like me, so we got a long well. I also met Mike Hague, McKay Jacobsen and some others. All of them were very nice and I look forward to playing with them."

In the meantime, Buckner plans on helping his team go far in the state playoffs where he will play both running back and defensive back. "I want to play better this year," he said. "I love playing football and hopefully I can improve a lot so I can come in and help contribute right away as a true freshman."

Buckner is very confident that BYU is going in the right direction. "I grew up watching BYU football and they always won," said Buckner. "Now they're not winning as much as they're used to, but I know that's going to change under Coach Mendenhall. There is no question about that. I'm just excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

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