Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. Being as Washington safety Deone Bucannon was in for a pre draft visit on Thursday, now is a good time to post his. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
DEONE ARIEL BUCANNON
Washington State University Cougars
Vanden High School
The Cougars’ defensive captain has not only emerged as one of the elite strong safeties in the college ranks, but he is one of the major reasons for the Washington State football program earning a bowl berth for only the eleventh time since the Cougars began competing on the gridiron in 1894. The last appearance by the university in the post-season came vs. the Texas Longhorns at the 2003 Holiday Bowl prior to meeting the Colorado State Rams at the 2013 New Mexico Bowl.
A physical open field tackler with tremendous field vision and instincts, Bucannon has excelled a wreaking havoc vs. opponents during his WSU career. The fourth-leading tackler in school history with 384, that total is also the most by any defensive back that has ever performed at the university. That figure leads all active players in the Pac-12 Conference and is fifth-best among active participants at the NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division level.
What separates Bucannon from most players that perform at his position is his incredible “nose for the ball,” coupled with a “search and destroy” approach when challenging ball carriers, tight ends and receivers that dare to come into his territory. One that thrives on initiating contact, the defensive back also ranks second on the school career-record chart with 268 solo tackles, the most registered by an NCAA FBS active player.
One of the better “inside the box” hitters in the game, he has made 222 plays vs. the ground game, as Bucannon recorded 22 of those hits on third-down plays and three more during fourth-down snaps vs. the ground attack. One of the major reasons the Cougars ranked 18th nationally in red zone defense is their safety recording 89 of his 384 tackles in that area, including making 30 stops on goal-line stands. Thanks to his range, he has successfully come out of his area to deliver 44 touchdown-saving tackles while preventing runners from reaching the end zone.
As impressive as Bucannon’s dominance in run support has been, he is also highly effective in shutting down the passing game. He currently is tied for the national lead among active players with fourteen interceptions, tied for third in WSU annals. With the man coverage skills one would expect from a cornerback, and not a safety, he has been a terror in press coverage. Among the 297 passes targeted into his area during his career, he has jammed and/or rerouted his opponents away from 118 of those tosses (39.73%), coupled with recording fourteen thefts while deflecting fourteen other throws.
Opposing quarterbacks know they need to account for Bucannon every time he steps on to the field. They have managed to complete just 77 of those 297 targeted passes (25.93%) vs. the strong safety, producing only one touchdown, as he limited his assignments to averages of 9.52 yards per completion and a miniscule 2.47 yards per attempt.
The senior has accounted for 79 third-down stops and fourteen more on fourth-down plays while playing in pass coverage. He has also made some sensational cross-field stops that led to him registering 28 more touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial game. To add even more impressive “numbers” to his resume, Bucannon is also a standout special teams performer, posting eleven tackles as a member of the kickoff coverage unit, along with five more stops, a blocked kick and a fumble recovery for the punt coverage squad.
Bucannon led the Cougars in tackles with 114 during his senior season. That made the 2013 campaign the third season in four years at the university that he has led the team in that category. As a sophomore in 2011, he placed second on the squad with 80 hits. In 40 starting assignments spanning 46 contests, he has recorded at least ten tackles sixteen times. In addition to his sensational ability to make touchdown-saving tackles and record fourteen interceptions, he has caused seven fumbles and recovered three others as a Cougar.
Prior to joining the Washington State University football program, Bucannon attended Vanden High School in Fairfield, California, where he lettered four times in golf before lettering twice in football field as a junior and senior. He briefly appeared in one game during his sophomore campaign, as the then 165-pound linebacker made three tackles.
As a junior, Bucannon added over twenty pounds of bulk to his frame, taking over strong safety duties for Vikings head coach LeVon Haynes, while also seeing action as a wide receiver. He was an instant success, earning All-CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III and City Defensive Player of the Year honors, in addition to garnering All-Region, All-City and All-Solano County League accolades.
Bucannon guided the team to a 9-2 record that included a 5-0 league mark in 2008. He registered 140 tackles (54 solos) that included a trio of sacks, a pair of fumble recoveries, three interceptions and five pass deflections. He reached double-digit tackles in nine of those twelve contests, including a season-best 22 in the Rodriguez High clash.
As a senior, Bucannon was a force to be reckoned with, on both sides of the ball. He received first-team All-State (medium schools) recognition from CalHiSports.com and was also named first-team All-Northern California by GoldenStatePreps.com. For the second consecutive year, he was selected the SCAC Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to being placed on the All-Solano County League and All-City teams.
Bucannon helped the Vikings reach the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, as they finished the 2009 schedule with a 10-2 record. On defense, he made 107 tackles (44 solos) that included four sacks, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He intercepted two passes, deflected eight other tosses and in brief action as a kickoff returner, he averaged 17.0 yards per runback. On offense, he pulled in 20 passes for 264 yards (13.2 ypc), scoring on a 42-yard grab vs. Armijo High, in his debut as a wide receiver.
Bucannon received a three-star prospect ranking from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service rated him the 45th-best safety in the nation, placing him 85th on their California “Top 100” list. Scout.com also regarded him as a three-star prospect, ranking him 102nd among the prep safeties in the country and the 78th-best overall prospect in the state of California.
Rather than waiting until his prep senior season had concluded, Bucannon visited the Washington State University campus on September 4th, 2009. Three days later, he committed to play for the Cougars. He was also recruited by West Point Academy (Army), Nevada and San Diego State, but opted to enroll at WSU instead.
Bucannon concentrated on special teams coverage duties earlier in his freshman season at WSU. He also saw action on defense during the Cougars’ first five games on the 2010 schedule, even earning a starting assignment vs. Southern Methodist. His performance in limited action would see the coaching staff insert him into the lineup again, for the final seven games.
Bucannon responded by leading the team with 84 tackles (67 solos) and four stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused two fumbles, recovered another and had five pass break-ups, along with a pair of interceptions. That effort earned him Freshman All-Pac 10 Conference first-team accolades and Freshman All-American honorable mention, as he held his opponents to a pass completion percentage of 29.69, allowing only 19-of-64 tosses targeted into his area to be caught. Fourteen of his tackles came inside the red zone, as he produced fourteen third-down hits and three more on fourth-down snaps.
Bucannon received All-Pac 12 Conference honors as a sophomore, starting eleven games. He was limited late in the season by an ankle sprain that would sideline him for most of the Utah clash. That missed playing time caused him to miss out on leading the team in tackles again, placing second on the squad with 80 hits. He also intercepted three passes, deflected four other throws and blocked a punt.
The sophomore continued to deny most receivers any opportunity for enjoying a “good day” vs. the strong safety. He allowed only 17-of-64 passes targeted into his area (26.56%) to be caught, holding his opponent to averages of 10.06 yards per catch and 2.67 yards per pass attempt. He rerouted or jammed his coverage assignment on 24 passes that were incomplete, posting sixteen tackles inside the red zone, including seven on goal-line stands, along with delivering nineteen third-down stops and a total of twelve touchdown-saving tackles.
As a junior, Bucannon registered a team-high 106 tackles (65 solos), the most by a Cougar since linebacker James Darling posted 136 hits during the 1996 season. He missed the first half of the Nevada-Las Vegas clash while serving a league-imposed suspension for a late hit on a receiver the previous week vs. Eastern Washington, but he still paced the Cougars with four interceptions, finishing fourth in the league in tackles.
In pass coverage, Bucannon saw the opposition limited to completing only 22-of-80 passes targeted into his area (27.5%). He posted 65 of his tackles in run support, with 29 of them coming inside the red zone, along with nine registered on goal-line snaps. He led the Pac-12 defenders with 31 third-down stops, adding six more tackles on fourth-down plays, in addition to rerouting receivers away from 31 pass attempts.
Bucannon played at 192 pounds during his junior season, but he was determined to “reinvent” his body during the 2013 off-season. He arrived back on campus as a chiseled 217-pounder and his wrath has been felt by every opponent he has faced during his final season. The added bulk saw him record 96 tackles through ten games, leading to ten turnovers in the process (five interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries).
Named a semi-finalist for the coveted Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, the defensive captain was dominant through the campaign. He held opposing quarterbacks to a pass completion rate percentage of 21.35%, the lowest for any defensive back in the NCAA FBS ranks (19-of-89 passes targeted into his area were caught). He rerouted his coverage assignment away from 40 of those tosses and made a total of 33 third-down stops (27 vs. the pass), along with posting 25 of his tackles inside the red zone.
With his eye-opening performance that included a nation-high nineteen touchdown-saving tackles, Bucannon became just the fifth defensive back in school history to receive first-team All-American honors. The first to garner that award was Ken Greene in 1977, followed by Paul Sorensen in 1981, Lamont Thompson in 2001 and Marcus Trufant in 2002. Since they began competing in football in 1894, only three other Cougars have been named to the All-American first-team, besides the secondary quartet.
Bucannon started 43-of-49 games at Washington State, ranking fifth in the nation among active players (one of fifteen with at least 300 stops) while leading all defenders presently in the Pac-12 Conference with 384 total tackles, which rank fourth in school history behind Lee Blakeney (524; 1980-81,83-84), Anthony McClanahan (440; 1990-93) and Brian Forde (436; 1984-87)…His 384 tackles are also the most ever by a Cougar defensive back, topping the previous mark of 343 by free safety John Rushing (1991-94), joining Billy Newman (325; 1998-2001) and Artie Holmes (305; 1985-88) as the school’s only defensive backs to reach the 300-tackle level…His 268 solo tackles are the most among active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Division ranks, as just five players presently in college football can boast recording at least 200 solo hits…His 268 solo tackles also rank second in school history, surpassed by only Anthony McClanahan (287) and Brian Forde (263)…The only other Cougars to register at least 200 solo tackles during a career are Lee Blakeney (252), John Rushing (221) and Gary Larsen (206; 1971-74)…Bucannon’s 116 assisted tackles rank tenth on the school’s all-time top ten list…His fifteen interceptions rank third in WSU annals and are the most for any active major college player, ranking behind Lamont Thompson (conference record 24 thefts; 1997-99, 2001) and Jason David (sixteen; 2000-03) in school annals…The only other Cougars to produce at least ten interceptions during a career are Bill Lippincott (thirteen; 1945-48), Lionel Thomas (thirteen; 1969-70), Eric Johnson (twelve; 1971-73), Erik Coleman (twelve; 2000-03), Don Paul (eleven; 1946-49), Torey Hunter (eleven; 1991-94) and Marcus Trufant (eleven; 1999-2002)…Bucannon added a 9-yard sack, 13.5 stops for losses totaling 27 yards, fourteen pass deflections and a blocked punt, in addition to causing seven fumbles and recovering three others during his time with the Cougars.
The semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, Bucannon became the fifth defensive back in school history to earn All-American first-team honors when he was selected for that prestigious honor by The NFL Draft Report and also garnered All-Pac 12 Conference first-team accolades…Also named All-American second-team by the Walter Camp Foundation…Started all thirteen games, leading
The team for the third time during his career with 114 tackles (78 solos), as he made 4.5 stops-for-loss, caused three fumbles and recovered two others…His 114 total tackles ranked second in the league and his 78 solo stops led the Pac-12, placed 11th nationally and rank 12th on the WSU annual record chart…Tied for eighth on the school season-record list with six interceptions that generated 110 return yards, as his six thefts led the conference and rank ninth nationally…His six pass thefts are the most by a Cougar in a season since Erik Coleman picked off seven in 2003…Produced 28 of his tackles inside the red zone, including nine on goal-line stands, a major reason the Cougars ranked 18th in the nation in red zone defense…Made 55 hits vs. the ground game, including two for losses, as he stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on eleven other plays…Opposing runners have gained just 107 yards on those 55 attempts (1.95 ypc), but only four of those carries produced first downs, as he made six third-down stops and ten touchdown-saving tackles vs. the rushing game…Has had 89 passes targeted into his area, with the opposition completing just 19 of those tries (21.35%, lowest for any defensive back in the conference and second-lowest by a major college safety) for 160 yards (8.42 yards per completion; 1.80 yards per attempt), ten first downs and no touchdowns…Collected 27 third-down hits and five more on fourth-down plays, along with posting nine more touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial game…In addition to defending vs. six passes (five interceptions, one break-up), he rerouted or jammed his coverage assignment away from 40-of-89 targeted throws (nation-best 44.94% of those attempts)… lso registered four tackles as a member of the kickoff coverage unit and one more in a brief appearance with the punt coverage team…Has recorded at least ten tackles in each of the Auburn, California, Arizona State and Arizona contests…Put together a string of four consecutive games (vs. Southern Utah State, Idaho, Stanford and California) with at least one interception…Stopped an opponent for no gain on at least one play in all but the Oregon State and Arizona State clashes, posting at least a pair of those hits in each of the Auburn, Southern California, Southern Utah State and Arizona games…Recorded at least two of his tackles inside the red zone in eleven of the thirteen contests he started… Produced at least one touchdown-saving stop in all but the Southern Utah State game…
Setting the tone “right out of the gate” for a season that would see the defensive captain “create more turnovers than a pastry shop,” the strong safety came out of the tunnel for the season opener to debut a frame that added over twenty pounds of muscle since the end of the 2012 season. That added muscle was felt long and hard by Tigers receivers and ball carriers all game, as Bucannon delivered double-digit tackles (fourteen, with twelve solos) for the thirteenth time during his time playing for the Cougars. He also caused and recovered a fumble in a hard-fought 31-24 loss to Auburn…Paced by Bucannon’s eight-tackle performance, the Cougars defeated a nationally-ranked team for the first time since 2006 (34-23 over Oregon), as the USC Trojans fell, 10-7…Made Idaho “pay for their errors” all afternoon, recording five tackles as he caused a fumble and set up a touchdown drive with an interception for the second consecutive game…For the third-straight game, the strong safety registered an interception, as he added nine stops that included a pair of touchdown-saving tackles vs. Stanford…Recorded an interception for the fourth-straight game, Bucannon also delivered twelve tackles (8 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and a pass deflection, along with having a hand in preventing a trio of possible touchdowns vs. California…Registered nine tackles (6 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage, as he caused and recovered a fumble vs. Oregon…Produced his 14th career interception and reached double-digit tackles (twelve) for the third time, vs. Arizona State.
The All-American honorable mention and All-Pac 12 Conference first-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, Bucannon was also a member of that scouting information service’s All-American Super Sleeper Team, which features the most underrated player in the nation at each respective position, the strong safety started all but the Nevada-Las Vegas contest (was suspended for the first half vs. UNLV after delivering a late hit the previous week in the Eastern Washington clash)…Despite missing those two quarters of action, the junior still managed to lead the team with 106 tackles (65 solos), the most by a Cougar since line-backer James Darling posted 106 hits in 1996. It was also the most by a WSU defensive back since Eric Frampton made 100 tackles in 2006…His average of 8.83 tackles per game ranked fourth in the conference…Produced at least ten tackles in seven of his eleven starting assignments…Added his first career quarterback sack among his three stops for losses totaling 12 yards…Caused a fumble, deflected four passes and led the team while tying for fifth in the league with four interceptions for 30 yards in returns…Delivered four tackles as a member of the kickoff coverage unit, along with three more stops for the punt coverage squad (two tackles, in addition to recovering a blocked kick vs. UCLA)…Posted 65 plays vs. the rushing game, holding those runners to just 159 yards (2.45 ypc), as he was often the “last man standing” in containing the opposition, as an incredible fifteen of those hits prevented possible touchdowns. He also made seven third-down stops, one more on a fourth-down snap and had two of his three tackles-for-loss vs. the ground game. Additionally, he stopped runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain on seven other plays…Delivered 29 tackles inside the red zone, with nine coming on goal-line plays…Had 80 passes targeted into his area, defending eight of those attempts while also rerouting/jamming his coverage assignments away from 31 of those attempts (38.75%). His opponents completed just 22-of-80 targeted throws (27.5%) for 236 yards, an average of 10.73 yards per completion and 2.95 yards per attempt, as he made 24 third-down stops and five more on fourth-down plays, in addition to registering nine touchdown-saving tackles vs. the passing attack.
Bucannon was a second-team All-Pac 12 Conference selection by Scout.com, as the sophomore started all but the Utah contest at strong safety…Was limited vs. Utah due to an ankle sprain, finishing second on the squad and 13th in the conference with 80 tackles (58 solos) that included a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage…Caused a fumble and blocked a punt…Deflected four passes and gained 30 yards via three interception returns…Changed to his high school jersey number (20) after wearing number 10 during his first campaign as a Cougar…Had at least ten tackles vs. both Stanford and Arizona State…Made 48 plays vs. the running game, posting seven hits that stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, making nine touchdown-saving tackles, three third-down stops and one more on a fourth-down play in run support…Totaled sixteen tackles inside the red zone, including seven on goal-line snaps…Had 64 passes targeted into his area, allowing just seventeen completions (26.56%) for 171 yards, an average of 10.06 yards per catch and 2.67 yards per attempt, as he rerouted/jammed opponents away from 24 of those throws (37.5%), made sixteen third-down stops, two more on fourth-down plays and three touchdown-saving tackles vs. the passing game.
Bucannon earned Freshman All-American an honorable mention from College Football News and was an All-Pac 10 Conference All-Freshman team choice, as he started eight of twelve games at strong safety, including his final seven appearances…Earned his first career start in the Cougars’ third game, vs. Southern Methodist…Wore jersey #10, leading all of the league’s freshman (15th overall) with a team-high 84 tackles (67 solos), including four stops for losses of six yards…In a four-game midseason span, he recorded at least ten tackles three times (vs. Arizona, Stanford and California)…Named Cougar Defensive Player of the Week after posting sixteen tackles with a stop-for-loss and pass deflection vs. Arizona, as his sixteen hits were the most by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks, Jr. had seventeen vs. Arizona State on October 6th, 2007. His fourteen solo tackles vs. the Wild-cats are tied for the fifth-most in school game history and were the most ever by a WSU freshman…Bucannon followed that performance with 15 tackles (11 solos) in the Stanford clash, adding ten more tackles that included the team’s “Hit of the Week” vs. California… Caused two fumbles and also recovered another, advancing that ball five yards…Posted two interceptions and five pass deflections…Spent the first five games on the schedule seeing most of his action on special teams, posting three tackles for the kickoff coverage unit and another as a member of the punt coverage squad, earning Special Teams Player of the Game honors vs. Montana State…In run support, Bucannon delivered 54 hits that included six third-down stops and one more on a fourth-down snap, along producing ten touchdown-saving tackles, along with two stops-for-loss, in addition to taking down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on eight other plays…Had 64 passes that were targeted into his area, rerouting his coverage assignment away from 23 of those tries (35.94%), making eight third-down stops, two more on fourth-down snaps and six touch-down saving tackles vs. an aerial attack that completed nineteen of those throws (29.69%) for 166 yards and one touchdown, an average of 8.74 yards per completion and 2.59 yards per attempt…Registered fourteen of his tackles inside the red zone, including five on goal-line plays.
2011 Season…Was limited by an ankle sprain during the Utah contest (11/19).
2013 Season…Missed part of a late March spring practice after suffering a lower body contusion.
4.49 in the 40-yard dash…1.54 10-yard dash…2.60 20-yard dash…4.26 20-yard shuttle…
11.53 60-yard shuttle…6.96 three-cone drill…36 ½-inch vertical jump…10’-5” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times…32 3/8-inch arm length…9 ¾-inch hands…77 ¾-inch wingspan.
Bucannon attended Vanden (Fairfield, Cal.) High School, where he lettered twice as a junior and senior for Vikings head football coach LeVon Haynes…Received a three-star prospect ranking from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service rated him the 45th-best safety in the nation, placing him 85th on their California “Top 100” list…Scout.com also regarded him as a three-star prospect, ranking him 102nd among the prep safeties in the country and the 78th-best overall prospect in the state of California…2009 Senior Season-Bucannon was a force to be reckoned with, on both sides of the ball, starting at strong safety and wide receiver…Named first-team All-State (medium schools) by CalHiSports.com and was also a first-team All-Northern California selection by GoldenStatePreps.com…For the second consecutive year, he earned Southern California Alateen Conference (SCAC) Defensive Player of the Year accolades, in addition to being placed on the All-Solano County League and All-City first teams…Helped the Vikings reach the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, as they finished the 2009 schedule with a
10-2 record…On defense, he made 107 tackles (44 solos) that included four sacks, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He intercepted two passes, deflected eight other tosses and in brief action as a kickoff returner, he averaged 17.0 yards per runback. On offense, he pulled in 20 passes for 264 yards (13.2 ypc)…Some of his game highlights included Bucannon scoring on a 42-yard grab vs. Armijo High, in his debut as a wide receiver, adding 52 yards on two grabs and eleven tackles (7 solos) while also causing a fumble. He had a 23-yard reception, a pass break-up and another eleven tackles the next week vs. Vintage, followed by a ten-tackle performance, a pair of interceptions and 30 yards on two catches vs. McClatchy. He snared six throws for 70 yards, breaking up a pass as he assisted on a sack and was in on seven tackles vs. Dixon. Bucannon posted another sack, as he deflected two passes, tallied fourteen tackles and caught two balls for 28 yards vs. Wood. He recorded a season-high eighteen stops that included a sack, as he also recovered a fumble while making one catch for 20 yards vs. Bethel. In the Benica clash, he had seven stops and a pass break-up, also coming up with nine tackles and a fumble recovery that he advanced 17 yards for a touchdown vs. Vallejo. He followed with fourteen tackles (8 solos), 1.5 sacks, two pass deflections and recorded a safety in a 48-14 route of Hogan in the opening round of the playoffs, closing out his career with six hits, a pass deflection, two catches and a 14-yard punt return in a touch 28-21 loss to Rodriguez High in the second round…2008 Junior Season…Bucannon added over twenty pounds of bulk to his frame, taking over strong safety duties for the Vikings, and he was an instant success, earning All-CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III and City Defensive Player of the Year honors, in addition to garnering All-Region, All-City and All-Solano County League accolades. He guided the team to a 9-2 record that included a 5-0 league mark in 2008, as the safety registered 140 tackles (54 solos) that included a trio of sacks, a pair of fumble recoveries, three interceptions and five pass deflections. He reached double-digit tackles in nine of those twelve contests…Some of his junior campaign game highlights included a fourteen-tackle performance in a 47-3 season opener victory over Armijo, beginning a string of five consecutive games with at least ten tackles. He followed with twelve stops, a pass break-up and his first prep career interception vs. Vintage and was in on fourteen hits that included an assisted sack and a pass deflection vs. McClatchy. He delivered ten tackles, an assisted sack and a pass break-up, as he also recovered two fumbles near the goal line to preserve a 14-7 decision over Dixon. Bucannon added fourteen tackles vs. Wood and eleven more with a pass break-up vs. Vallejo. He posted fourteen tackles and picked off a pass vs. Hogan, followed by a sack, thirteen hits (7 solos) and a 24-yard interception return vs. Bethel. The junior made a career-high 22 tackles in a 21-15 win over Rodriguez, closing out the season with a sack and nine tackles (5 solos) vs. Del Campo in the playoffs…2007 Sophomore Season-Was utilized as a 165-pound linebacker, appearing in one game, recording three tackles vs. Inderkum High…Other Sports-Bucannon lettered four times for the Vanden High golf team.
General Studies major…One of three sons (brothers David and Davondre) of Sonji and Duane Bucannon…Born Deone Ariel Bucannon on 8/30/92 in Oakland, California….Resides in Fairfield, California.
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