Hello, my name is . . . Kevin Buford

Defensive back may contribute in the return game

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April 3, 2014 | 11:39 am

Iowa defensive backs coach Phil Parker is perhaps the best recruiting poker player on Iowa's staff.

He IDs a prospect early and then waits. This worked like a charm with senior cornerback Micah Hyde. Parker found him in smallish Fostoria, Ohio, and sat on him. Finally, maybe the weekend or so before the '09 signing day, Iowa offered and Hyde committed.

Hyde happened to have a brother, Marcus, at Michigan State. Micah Hyde never saw himself as a Spartan, even with his brother letting him know how he felt about the Spartans. Micah committed to Iowa and then he got one last query from East Lansing.

“They called me when I was on my way out here,” Hyde said. “On my way out here, my brother called me and said, if they can’t get this guy, they want to see if you’re interested. I said, I’m going to Iowa for a reason. I like it out there and I’m going to see what’s going on.”

Parker played the same poker with Buford, a 5-10, 170-pounder from Canton, Mich. Toledo offered. Iowa had Buford in for a visit and offered. Buford accepted. It got a little hairy when some of the Toledo staff when with Tim Beckman to Illinois, but Buford stuck.

Another rake for Parker.

Scouting snippet

From ESPN.com: Buford is a well-rounded prospect who can deliver in all three phases of the game, defensively, offensively and as a kick return specialist. Shows most production on the defensive side of the ball, lines up as an aggressive underneath corner at this stage . . . Displays quick footwork and leverage but lacks fluidity when opening to run with receiver, taking extra steps in transition. Does shows good recovery quickness when receiver gets a step or two outside on release at the high school level. In press-man, may struggle at the major college level taking away leverage. . . . Overall, Buford is a physical, determined prospect with versatile skill-set; could be a late bloomer on the recruiting trail at the major college level. At this time projects to a mid-major level program.

What Iowa coaches said

Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: Phil always does a great job. He has guys who he keeps researching, researching and researching. He tries to hold off as long as possible, because a lot of times when we offer guys, other people get into it. . . . He's done that with B.J. Lowery, Micah Hyde, all those guys.

It might sound like a guy we took a late run after, but he is a tremendous athlete. Can do things on special teams, could flip over to the other side of the ball. He's a really good, skilled player and we're really excited about him.

What I think

The last part of what coach Johnson said gives me pause. Could Buford be a WR/KR/PR?

If Buford follows in the footsteps of Parker's finds, he'll be a good one, no matter where he plays. Hyde is a positive player. He'll be an NFL draft pick next season. I really like Lowery. He'll step in at corner next season and have a similar career to Shaun Prater.

Right now, the upside could be a Prater corner (that will take some weightroom, because Prater had underrated strength) who can return punts.

Intriguing.

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