Dunwoody High School’s Nick Buchanan, who is one of the state’s hottest college football prospects, is doing a diary with the AJC leading up to Wednesday’s signing day.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive lineman committed to Cal last month, but got last-minute offers from UGA, Florida, South Carolina and Penn State within the last few weeks. Buchanan took an official visit to UGA last week, and went to Florida this weekend. He shared his thoughts with the AJC:
“My family and I drove to Florida this past weekend for my official visit, and got there around 7 p.m. Friday. Probably the highlight of the trip was walking into The Swamp (Florida’s stadium). It’s just amazing. Other stadiums are wide and far out with their seats, but The Swamp is steep. It feels like you’re caged in.
“The funniest thing during the visit would be the strength coach. He had some his former players come back and demonstrate exercises. He was getting on them like they were his real players. He saying stuff like ‘I don’t care if you have a bad ankle, you still have to get low.’ They were like 39 and 45 years old, and he was getting after them. We were all laughing.
“We met with Florida’s head coach (Jim McElwain) before leaving campus. The main thing he said is that he was building something special at Florida, and he wanted me to be a part of it. It was a simple message.
“After leaving Florida on Sunday, I talked to coaches from Cal and UGA. (Cal coach Sonny Dykes) advised me take 24 hours to clear my head. Because when we talked, I was kind of stressed out about everything. He could sense it. He said to take 24 hours to clear my head. He told me ‘Don’t get stressed out.’
“I was stressed out because Wednesday is the day I’ve got to figure all of this out by. It’s a big decision that will affect the rest of my life. And it dawned on me after I got back from Florida.
“Coach Richt called me about five minutes after I talked to (Dykes). Coach Richt basically told me how UGA needs me and wants me. He didn’t say anything about my spot being taken by another offensive lineman, so I assume my offer is still here. I also talked to (UGA offensive line coach Rob Sale). He said ‘Check the depth chart. We need you.’
“What is my thought process on everything right now? I’m all jumbled up. I don’t know … I’m just thinking about the pros and cons of each school. There’s not really a perfect school for me right now. They’re all good schools.
“Cal has the No. 1 public education in the country, but it’s far away. With Florida, I have a lot of friends in the current recruiting class, such as Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Tyler Jordan, along with some other kids who might commit. The con of Florida would be that it’s really hot down there, and living in the state of Florida doesn’t appeal to me as much as other places. With UGA, it’s right here and close to home. Everybody is a Georgia fan here. But I kind of wanted to get out of Georgia and explore something else.
“I’m working my way through things. I will decide either tonight (Monday night) or tomorrow. I’m probably going to call the head coaches of each school. I told them all that I would know before Wednesday.”