Commentary: Buckner Says Davis Made Right Choice


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Had a chance to catch up with former Tiger defensive lineman Brentson Buckner Wednesday.

We set up the interview because Buckner played in the Super Bowl three years ago as a member of the Carolina Panthers in their loss to New England. He was able to give us a nice scouting report on the Patriots, give us his opinion on why they're so good, and lay out a defensive game plan for the Giants to use on Sunday.

But being a former Clemson standout and still a diehard fan of the school, Buckner follows the current program closely. And with that he had some opinions on the about-face recently made by running back James Davis, who chose to return for his senior season after initially declaring for the NFL Draft.

Buckner said Davis made the right decision.

"Why not come back and play for a chance at the ACC Championship, and in the process get a degree and become even more prepared for the NFL next season?," he said."I definitely think he made the right decision."

Buckner said that in his mind there are three reasons to consider leaving school early:

- You're going to flunk out;

- Your family needs money;

- You're a lock to be a first-round draft choice.

Davis could argue the middle of the three. His family situation has long been documented, and he consistently talks about the responsibility he feels as a son, a grandson, a nephew and a father.

But as the field of running backs for this April's Draft grew, Buckner said Davis' decision to come back to Clemson will pay off in the long run.

"He's definitely and NFL talent," said Buckner. "He's one of those running backs who will fight for every last inch. He won't run out of bounds to avoid contact. He'll fight you.

"But why take a chance on being a third or fourth round pick this year? It just made sense for him to come back and play his senior season."

Buckner's life after football consists of many new hats.

He has developed a pay-by-the-hour sitting service, in which parents can drop off their children for a short period of time. He coaches football at the high school level. He does a number of different media-related jobs, and he just began a new mortgage company.

It was mentioned, jokingly, that in effect he now helps raise children, coaches them in preparation for college, and then sells them a house once they graduate.

"That's right," he said with a laugh. "I'm trying to corner the market."

He was also reminded of one of his best quotes while still a player at Clemson.

Buckner admittedly played up to the media and loved the attention, and this particular occasion Clemson had defeated South Carolina in Columbia - shortly after the Gamecocks had entered the Southeastern Conference.

"You may be in a good league, but that doesn't make you a good team," Buckner said that day.

Wednesday, when the remark was brought back to his attention, he laughed again.

"I remember that. That's one of my better ones," said Buckner. "I'll have to remember to use it again because it still applies."

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