Michael Buchanan, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound three-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., has already taken official visits to Illinois (Nov. 14), Purdue (Nov. 21) and Vanderbilt (Nov. 8) and says those remain his three favorite programs.
"I'm still looking at the same schools," Buchanan said. "I want to go where I can be the most successful and comfortable. I'll be taking my final two visits and hopefully will just know where I want to go. Right now they are all pretty even."
The final two visits Buchanan wants to take are to California and No. 21 Michigan State, but doesn't have dates set up yet. "They'll be in January for sure," he said.
"It was a great visit," Buchanan said of his last trip to Purdue. "They beat up on Indiana pretty good and it was fun seeing that.
"It's a great atmosphere there and it's very different being there in person than watching it on TV," he said. "I was sitting right behind the team and it was very intense. I was surprised how intense they were the whole time. It seemed like they never let up at all."
His player host was freshman defensive tackle Brooks Monroe.
"We toured the campus and that was really nice too," he said. "I liked how it's a smaller college where the people know each other and really follow the team."
The week prior to visiting the Boilermakers, Buchanan took a short drive up the road to local favorite Illinois for his official visit on Nov. 14. "They are less than two hours away so it's pretty close," he said. "But I'm not worried about that. I'll go anywhere.
"I just really like the players at Illinois and have some friends there," Buchanan said. "They have some great players and athletes and I think a very good future. Plus, they are recruiting very well so they should be getting better."
Buchanan attributes much of the Illini's success to head coach Ron Zook. "He's a players coach," he said. "All of the players like him and he's real involved with them. That's why they play so hard for him."
As much as he enjoyed the football atmosphere at both Purdue and Illinois, he said they don't compare with what he experienced at Vanderbilt. "It was the weekend they played Florida, so it was really intense," he said. "They just seem to take football more seriously in the south. The enthusiasm and passion was just at another level down there. I can't even describe it."
Another thing that Buchanan likes about the Commodores is their conference. "It's the SEC," he said. "That's probably the best conference in football. It was great getting to see a big game like that in person."
Buchanan insists that distance won't be a factor and he says he definitely wants to take a visit to Cal in January. "I've never been to California, so it'll be interesting to see what it's like compared to the midwest and south."
He says the Bears have been recruiting him very consistently during the process. "They had a lot of interest in me since the beginning," he said. "They even told me that I could play early."
The school that has impressed Buchanan the most this season on the field is Michigan State, another school he'd like to visit. "They had a real big turn around," he said. "They've really improved a lot in the past two years since coach Mark Dantonio took over."
Buchanan finished his senior season (4-5) with over 100 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and five sacks.
He says he's considering majoring in sports medicine and reports a 3.1 core GPA and a 22 ACT.