Michael Buchanan, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound three-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., finished his senior season with over 100 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. His team was a disappointing 4-5 for the season and didn't make the playoffs.
Scout.com's No. 48 defensive end in the country says he bench presses 300-pounds, squats 495 and claims a 32-inch vertical jump.
"I rush the pass good and can get off tackles well," he said. "I move well up and down the field and have a great motor. I play to the whistle.
"But I want to get better at everything," said Buchanan, who says he runs a 4.7 forty. "I really want to bulk up, but still get faster."
Buchanan has at least 17 offers and has narrowed it down to Illinois, Purdue, Vanderbilt, No. 21 California and Nebraska. Although he remains "very open," Buchanan admits that the Illini, Boilermakers and Commodores are his three leaders. He has official visits scheduled to each of them already.
"I'm going to Vanderbilt this weekend (Nov. 8)," he said. "I've been really impressed by them this year. They surprised me. The SEC is a great conference and they've done really well. They had a great start and haven't been this successful in a long time."
On Nov. 14, Buchanan will also be heading to Illinois for an official trip. The Illini are about one and half hours from his home. "It's close and that's a plus," he said. "I'll go where I feel best but it helps that they are close.
"It really seems like a good fit for me," he said of Illinois. "It's a good academic school and they are a good team that is still getting better. I think they'll be a top Big Ten team for a while."
Buchanan's former teammates (linebacker) Russell Ellington and (defensive back) Supo Sanni are both freshman at Illinois. "I played with them last year and we were good friends," he said. "I talk to them a lot because they've gone through it all.
"They say to be smart and to understand that some coaches will say anything to get you to their school," he said. "They just tell me to take my time and see how sincere the coaches really are."
The school that is recruiting Buchanan the hardest is Purdue. He'll be visiting the Boilermakers on Nov. 21. "They are really showing a lot more interest," he said. "They tell me how much they love me and how I could play early there.
"They have a good history of hybrid linebackers and I think I could develop well there," he said. "They said they would try and help me get to the next level."
The other two final visit possibilities for Buchanan are Cal and Nebraska.
"I really feel comfortable with the coaches at Cal," he said. "They are real nice and it's a good program. They have a great relationship with their players and it seems like a solid team. I think they are still getting better, plus the Pac-10 is a good conference."
Although the Huskers have offered him, Buchanan admits he doesn't know much about them yet. "They just offered me about a month ago," he said. "I haven't seen any of their games this year and don't know much about them besides they have good tradition."
Buchanan followed Miami as a youngster, but the 'Canes never recruited him. "I just liked them because they were fun to watch and always had the best players," he said.
Buchanan says he won't make a decision until after his official visits. "I wan to go to a good academic school where I can get an education," he said. "I also want to have an impact on the program and feel like I fit in.
"Football is outdoors and I don’t really like the cold," he admitted. "I also would rather play in a big city instead of a small town."
Buchanan says he's considering majoring in sports medicine and reports a 3.1 core GPA and a 22 ACT.