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January 17, 2011It's been a busy weekend for Terran Buck, but he can't wait to get started.
In just the span of a few days, the linebacker from the College of DuPage (Ill.) was offered by UCF, took an official visit, committed and signed, and now plans to officially begin classes on Tuesday.
Buck, a December graduate, had a few schools talk to him during the season but only recently did the Knights enter the picture.
"During the season I was getting mostly recruited by Kansas State, but then we had a falling out for reasons I don't really know," Buck said. "I then started getting recruited by Coach (Darrell) Hazell at Kent State and a couple other schools.
"UCF actually called me maybe a week and a half to two weeks ago. They had been calling my coach before that and told him they were interested in me. They couldn't really talk to me because of the dead period. Then they called me and said they wanted to get me down on a visit. I was enthusiastic about coming down. I came down and loved what I saw, so I knew I was ready."
Buck, who was recruited by defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable, had an idea he might be staying for good.
"UCF called last week asking if I'd be willing to go on a visit, check it out and see if I liked it because I was trying to get into school for this semester," Buck said. "They said, 'Maybe if you like it, you could sign right here and start now instead of having to wait.' I was happy to do that.
"So I came down here, looked at the facilities and how they did last year. I think they're a really good program that's coming up. They have a beautiful campus and Orlando is a great city. I really just fell in love with it."
It wasn't long into the visit before Buck felt he wanted to be a Knight.
"I loved it," he said. "I loved the weight room and their weight program. What really made me interested is how they handle their academics. That was a big thing for me. Coming from a junior college, I wanted to make sure they would help me get ready and be prepared for school since I'm starting this semester. I love the way they handle their athletes. They look out for their players. It's really structured and they're serious about getting people out of there. That's what I want to do. I want to get my degree and graduate. I feel like these guys are pushing that and that's something I want to be a part of.
"Right after the visit was over, I told them, 'I think I'm ready,' so they started to get the paperwork done so I could be ready for school tomorrow."
It didn't make much sense to go back and forth to Chicago in a span of 24 hours, so Buck remained in Orlando following the visit.
"I checked into a hotel myself, which my mom is paying for," Buck said. "I'm still in the hotel now actually waiting to get my dorm and everything settled."
Buck also said he felt an immediate bond with UCF's coaches.
"I think they're great people," he said. "Real honest and straightforward with you. They tell you what they expect and what you can expect of them. They tell you where they think you're going to be. That's what I really like. I want somebody who's going to be honest and tell you how it's going to be. I don't want anybody to sugar coat it. They're straightforward, honest guys who care about their players. I got to meet my linebackers coach, Coach (John) Skladany, and I got to go over to his house to watch the Bears game because I'm a big Bears fan."
UCF just graduated three of their four primary linebackers from this past season, so that position is a big priority heading into 2011.
"They told me they definitely have a need at linebacker," Buck said. "They need somebody they felt like could come in right away, work hard in the offseason and be a starter by next season. He said there's a great chance of me starting at will linebacker, or possibly strongside linebacker."
Buck, who is 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, was named a NJCAA second team All-American after recording 118 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three sacks and five forced fumbles. He played middle linebacker this past season and sam as a freshman.
"They said what they liked about me is that I was physical, real aggressive and I wasn't afraid to take on blockers," Buck said. "I could run pretty well in space for my size. They really liked that about me. That's what they want-- aggressive, fast linebackers."
He already has a good idea about a major too.
"I'm thinking of doing interdisciplinary studies," Buck said. "At COD my major was psychology and I sorted of wanted to do something along those lines. I think I'm going to minor in coaching. Maybe one day I'll have a coaching opportunity."
UCF finished the 2010 season ranked in the top 20 and Buck feels the potential is there for even better finishes the next two years.
"Me personally, I definitely think we have a chance to contend for top 10 and possibly a national championship," he said. "That's why I came. UCF is a great, up and rising program. Of course I want to win the conference. Individually, I'd like to help the team and maybe lead the team in tackles. I'm not going to say I am, but I'm going to try my best."