Life is becoming a lot like Groundhog Day for Washington State safety Deone Bucannon.
He gets up around 7 a.m., eats breakfast and makes his way to the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., for a day’s worth of workouts in preparation for the NFL scouting combine. First he hits the weights, and then it’s outside for speed and conditioning work followed by position drills and a break for lunch. Combine drills follow lunch, then more speed work and, finally, more technique drills.
“And then you go home, go to sleep and start it all over again the next day,” Bucannon said.
Such is life for those training for a shot at the NFL.
It’s a shot few believed Bucannon would get during his high school days at Vanden High in Fairfield, Calif. He received just four scholarship offers: WSU, San Diego State, Nevada and Cal Poly. Not exactly a who’s who list of NFL feeder programs.
While Bucannon was certainly under the radar then, that has changed.
In 49 games for WSU, including 43 starts, Bucannon finished with 384 tackles, which ranks fourth in school history. He developed a reputation as one of college football's biggest hitters and has blossomed into one of the fastest-rising safety prospects in the draft.
“I want to be drafted in the first round. Like anyone else, honestly,” he said. “It’s a possibility for me. I feel like I’ll be a great player and I’ll make an immediate impact on a team and do whatever it takes.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Bucannon as the No. 4 overall safety prospect in the draft.
Bucannon will arrive in Indianapolis for the combine on Saturday, where he plans to participate in all of the drills. He said there isn’t a particular area in which he hopes to impress, only that he leaves a good overall impression with the NFL coaches and personnel executives.
“I feel like I’m going to be above what they expect of me,” Bucannon said.
That includes the interview portions of the four-day event.
“I’m ready for whatever they’re going to ask me,” he said. “I want to prove that I’m a student of the game. If they ask me about scheme, I want to show I know what everyone on defense is supposed to do. If it’s more of a social thing, we can talk about whatever.
“Not saying I’m not a little nervous about it, though.”
If things go well at the combine, Bucannon likely won’t do all the same drills at the WSU pro day on March 13. He’ll likely just participate in position drills.