Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) is tackled by Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon (20) at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Cougars 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
From the moment senior Deone Bucannon joined the Washington State football program, it was clear he was a special student-athlete. He has been a leader by example both on and off the field for the Cougs.
As the list narrows down to 15 players for the selection as the Jim Thorpe Award recipient in 2013, Bucannon has risen to the level of a recognized elite college football player. The Thorpe Award is given to the top defensive back in the nation.
Based on stats alone, the hard hitting safety for WSU clearly has done what it takes to earn consideration. Deone enters the week leading the Pac-12 Conference with 73 tackles and tied for second with four interceptions. He also owns team-highs of three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
This season Bucannon has embraced the role of a team leader for Washington State. His experience has been critical to the continuing development of a very youthful and talented Cougar secondary this season. It’s true that WSU has struggled with coverage much of the year, but budding all-conference guys like Daquawn Brown and Taylor Taliulu have benefited greatly from Bucannon’s influence.
Jul 26, 2013; Culver City, CA, USA; Washington State defensive back Deone Bucannon speaks to the media during PAC-12 media day held at the Sony Studios Lot. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Whenever reading a game preview by a writer covering WSU opponents, one name on defense that comes up as a player to watch each and every week is Deone Bucannon.
Coupled with outstanding play on the field, WSU Coach Mike Leach typically taps Bucannon to address the media during weekly press conferences and post game interviews. The soft spoken, articulate young man is always modest about his performance while heaping praise when it’s due on his teammates.
Dedication to making his senior season a spring board to great things following graduation, Deone spent a lot of work over this past off season to add additional size and strength without sacrificing his natural speed. The results are visible whether he’s stepping off the team bus or stepping on to the field of play during a game. Always a solid form tackler, his additional bulk has left many opponents who dared to carry the football flattened and wondering what just hit them…a truck or ‘Buck”.
With just four regular season games remaining, expect #20 to finish with a flourish. Bucannon’s aggressive play is one of the keys to whether or not Washington State returns to play in a bowl game for the first time in a decade.
Don’t expect to see this Coug boasting about what his team will do this week when the Cougs take on an up and coming Arizona State team in front of a national television audience Thursday night in Pullman. Expect to see memorable plays from a young man who is a Coug that fans won’t forget for a very long time.
MORE ON DEONE BUCANNON:
- “Up Close With Senior Safety Deone Bucannon” is a great read published by WSU Athletics
- “Bucannon Named To Midseason All-America Second Team“ cites Bucannon as one of the top two safeties in the nation this year
- “Midseason Report: Washington State“ – ESPN singles out Bucannon as a big reason WSU is a better football team in 2013