NU whole staff recruiting effort leads to Marques Buford Jr.'s commitment
Marques Buford Jr. chose 3:16 PM today to announce on Twitter his college choice of Nebraska. It's a time that symbolizes and memorializes a date that carries much significance for the Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More defensive back recruit.
"March 16 is my best friend Michael's birthday, and he passed away when we were like seven or eight years old," Buford explained to HuskerOnline.com. "He died in a house fire. We basically grew up with each other in Illinois. His birth date is March 16 and mine is March 18.
"So, he was born two days before me, and we were with each other all the time. I've pretty much taken on the burden of carrying both of our legacies."
Buford had trimmed his list of 28 scholarship offers down to his finalists of Nebraska, Texas A&M and Washington State before settling on the Cornhuskers prior to last weekend after discussions with his family.
"I came to my decision before last weekend," Buford shared. "Actually, I would probably say around Thursday before last weekend. Me and my family sat down and discussed which place would offer the best opportunity, as far as if I don't even get to play this season. Because I'm still going to a prep school until 2021. I think I have spoken with every coach on their coaching staff, and it's not been wishy-washy and every other week. It's like daily conversations where I am talking to four or five coaches at a time.
"I feel that they did an amazing job in recruiting me and building a relationship with me. Honestly, we felt that the Nebraska coaching staff just really did a great job with, not only getting at me and having conversations with me on a daily basis, but they had communications frequently with my parents as well. I think that's what separated them from the other schools.
"Basically, just how much they involved my whole family, and not just me. That was a big thing for me because I know if they can build a great bond with my parents, then they will definitely have a great understanding of the household I come from and my morals and everything."
Though he played several positions in high school, all three of his finalists recruited Buford to play defensive back.
"I've talked with Coach (Travis) Fisher and with Coach (Erik) Chinander and they both said that I am an athlete," Buford said. "In high school, I played virtually every position on defense, besides defensive line obviously. They said wherever they see the best fit for me, or the situation in the game, is where I will play."
In their class of 2020, the Big Red landed another athlete from Oakdale St. Thomas More in Alante Brown, and he also played a significant part in Buford ending up in Lincoln.
"Yeah, we're really good friends," Buford stated. "We've played seven-on-seven together, and we've trained a lot together. Alante said he has loved it [at Nebraska]. Me and him have talked a lot, even before he decided to go to Nebraska and was just being recruited by Nebraska. We've always had that type of friendship where we've always kept it real with each other, no matter what the situation is.
"He obviously really wanted me to come to Nebraska with him, but if he didn't think it was a good situation, he would have definitely been the one to tell me that right off the jump. I feel like that definitely played a great role in it, knowing that I will be coming in not even a whole year after he got there. So, I will have someone I'm very familiar with at the school to teach me the ropes and everything."
Buford still plans to attend prep school this season and be a December graduate in order to enroll in Lincoln in January of 2021.
"Honestly, I feel like my leadership and my desire to win are the most critical things that I have," Buford said. "I hate to lose and I've always been a very competitive person. I feel like I will bring that edge that I have to Nebraska, and the intensity that I carry with me. At the same time, I am able to think the game. I feel like that will be my contribution to the Nebraska football program."
Yet another factor that helped sway Buford NU's way in the end was how Husker head coach Scott Frost conducts and carries himself, according to Buford.
"I had amazing conversations with Coach Frost and he's an amazing guy," Buford said. "Especially considering who he is and what he did for Nebraska's program himself. He was the quarterback on one of their national championship teams. He carries himself in the most humble way possible, I would say.
"You get head coaches who don't really build up that much of a relationship with recruits, but I would say he's done everything perfectly to show me that he wants me to play for him."
After his semester of prep school, Buford will still have five years to complete four seasons of eligibility on the Division I level.