Editor's note: Follow the Daily Citizen-News sports department for recruiting features on local high school football players each Friday this summer. Rising seniors with the potential to play at the next level will answer questions leading up to football season this fall.
Like other multi-sport athletes at North Murray High School, Chaisen Buckner stays busy during the offseason.
With football and basketball practice, Buckner has also been making time to visit colleges and attend prospect camps. The 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound rising senior has been an integral piece for the Mountaineers football team for the past two years, playing linebacker, tight end and H-back.
Heading into his final year of high school, Buckner said he hopes to leave his mark on the Mountaineers program.
Daily Citizen-News: What offers have you already received?
Buckner: Right now I have offers from Navy and Shorter. (Editor's note: Those who attend the nation's service academies typically must be nominated by a member of Congress or the vice president of the United States.)
DCN: What was your first offer?
Buckner: Navy was the first. It happened in April. I just know it was before prom. They came by the school on a Tuesday and sat down and talked with me. Then a couple days later they gave me a call and officially offered me.
DCN: You have interest from a few different military schools. Have you always been interested in the service academies, and what do you think it would be like to play for one?
Buckner: I'm definitely open to it, but I had never really thought about it before this year. This past weekend I visited Air Force with my dad. I really enjoyed it and I think they'll offer me soon. I've had some contact with Army, too. I have a pretty busy school schedule as it is right now and take all my classes at Dalton State (College). Between football and basketball I think I've had my fair share of time management, so I think I may be better prepared than maybe a normal student.
DCN: What schools are you currently in contact with? Any upcoming visits scheduled for later this summer?
Buckner: Navy, Shorter, Air Force, Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern and Army. I've also had some contact with Eastern Kentucky and a few schools like that. I'm going to Navy on July 27 and I need to arrange the Kennesaw State one soon.
DCN: Is every school recruiting you as a linebacker? Where do you prefer to play?
Buckner: Yes, everyone is recruiting me as a linebacker except Georgia Southern is also looking at me as a tight end or H-back. I like playing in the middle of a 4-3 defense. It's a two-gap read and you just shoot the gap. Not much to it. This year I'm walking down and playing the end, too, in certain packages, but I'll still be playing a lot in the middle.
DCN: Do you have a school that hasn't offered you yet, who you would like to offer or a dream school?
Buckner: I mean my dream school has always been Vanderbilt. I'm big into music, Nashville and country music. Also, it's a great academic school, and of course it's SEC football.
DCN: Are you going to any/or have you already gone to any showcase camps or events? Do you feel pressure at those type of events?
Buckner: I went to the Kennesaw State and Mercer camps this summer. They test your 40 (-yard dash), then they put you through an agility circuit with four or five stations. After that you do an individual unit with four or five stations, and then one-on-one drills at the end. As far as pressure, yes and no. There's a lot of kids, of course. Last year I know there were a couple thousand at the Kennesaw camp. Those big mega-camps are not beneficial unless coaches want you there. This year I knew the Kennesaw coaches wanted me there so I did what they asked.
DCN: What's this process been like for you? Do you enjoy it or are you ready for it to be over?
Buckner: There are definitely parts that are enjoyable. A lot of the time what you're getting are camp offers, so it's nice when you finally get that committable offer. To have an opportunity to play Division I is an amazing blessing and I wouldn't trade it.
DCN: Are you leaning one way or the other right now?
Buckner: Well, I haven't seen them all yet and they all have something to offer. I think finding somewhere where I'll be comfortable for the next four years and maybe beyond is what it will come down to for me.
DCN: Do you have any goals for your senior season?
Buckner: I don't have any goals really for myself, just to bring it all every day at practice and of course show out at the games. With the team, I think we have the tools to be a really special group. Just at the workouts I think we're at a different level than in the past. I think winning every game, and getting teams back like Rabun County and Calhoun, is something I want. We want a region championship. We got one in soccer, and got one in basketball, now we just need to get that one in football.