OverThePylon is proud to present our next installment of catching up with the new recruits for Ball State as they make their way to Muncie to begin their freshman season next fall. Today's guest is Ethan Buckles, offensive and defensive star from Indianapolis' Cardinal Ritter High School who was kind enough to answer not only our questions, but questions from some of our readership as well.
Ethan comes to the Cards with experience as both a defensive end and a tight end, with a 6'7" height, 225lb. weight, and a verified 4.9 40 yard dash time. Big, strong, experienced, and fast, but most importantly, an incredibly nice young man and a great representative for the program, University, and football team.
Buckles looks to learn from either a defensive front 7 that will rival nearly any team on the Cardinals' schedule this year, or from tight ends like Madaris Grant as they help him adjust to the rigors of division 1 FBS football.
OverThePylon: Can you sort of recap your experience getting recruited to play Division 1 college football? What were some of the schools that showed major interest?
Ethan Buckles: Coming from such a small school it was mostly about marketing myself as a player to try and get some recognition from colleges. I went to a lot of junior days and camps for the schools that were interested in me. I filled out all the requests for information for any school who asked me too. I had interest from the University of Virginia, Purdue, IU, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, and some other schools, as well as Ball State. Ball State was the first to offer and I committed the next day, so I'm not sure if more offers would have come or not.
OTP: You're certainly unique in the fact that your skills translate to both sides of the football. What do you like best about playing offense? How about playing defense?
EB: I like offense because I love scoring. Not me personally but as a unit. I'm a football junkie and I love the strategies and so I love it when a play works perfectly and we score. And I love defense because you always have to be attacking.
OTP: With the tight end positions and defensive front unit sort of crowded places, do you anticipate being able to play and contribute right away? Is redshirting something that's being considered?
EB: I have not actually talked about redshirting at all with the coaches but that could possibly be in their plans. I'm going to go in with the mindset that I'm ready to play and work hard this summer. Hopefully they'll think I'll be ready to help the team at the end of the summer.
OTP: When Coach Hoke was transitioning out of that role in Ball State, what was it like as a recruit? Were you concerned about the direction of the program or the ability to maintain success?
EB: I was a little down for a bit because I knew Coach Hoke. He worked me out and he offered me a scholarship. But once I learned that my scholarship would be honored and that Coach Parrish was going to take the job, I was fine. He's a great coach with a great history.
OTP: This incoming recruiting class has been widely heralded as the best class in years at BSU. Have you had any contact with other incoming recruits? Is the class going to gel?
EB: I'm very excited to come in with a class this talented. The reputations of all these guys speak for themselves. I've met a lot of them at games and on my official visit and other things. They seem like cool guys. I think we'll be able to do a lot over these next four years.
OTP: Most of our readers know quite a bit about your football prowess on the field. Any hobbies or talents off the field that would surprise some folks?
EB: I'm a very competitive person so I like mostly any games like golfing, bowling, and things like that. I am also a very accomplished opener and eater of crab legs.
From the readers...
Readers: Where are you expecting to play this season? DE or TE?
EB: I was recruited by Ball State as a defensive end, and they haven't told me anything different. But I also know they've had some injury issues at tight end so we'll see. I'll do anything really... long snap, special teams, anything.
Readers: How big of a leap is it from Class AA football to Div 1 College Football?
EB: We were actually only class A my senior season. But we played a lot of bigger schools. In the regular season we were undefeated and that included a team who would wind up winning the 2A championship also a team ranked 6 in 3A. That being said it will still be a huge transition. For me, the biggest difference will be simply not being the biggest on the field anymore.
Readers: What attracted you to Ball State?
EB: Ball State is very close to my home so all my family can come see me play and I can go home and visit. Also many family members have gone there. My mom, dad, two uncles and a brother are alumni. They are a program on the rise and I wanted to be a part of that.
Readers: How do you use your height to your advantage when playing DE?
EB: My height gives me great length so that I can get into a blocker before they can get to me. Also I can get into the passing lanes and I'm hard to throw over.
One last one from OTP...
OTP: Anything to say to the Cardinals fans who will have the privilege of watching you over the next few years, Ethan?
EB: This is definitely a program on the rise. That much has been evident over the past two years. Over the next few years me and my class will continue that trend and do bigger and better things.
Big ups to Ethan for talking a bit with OTP and our readership. Ethan is just another example of quality young men who wear the Cardinal and White, and who represent simply the best sort of student athlete around. Whether or not he is successful on the field is not even a question, it is only a question as to how soon the rest of the MAC and the country begin to remember the name, "Ethan Buckles".