Peachtree Ridge's Buchanan picks Arkansas

ATLANTA — As if the finale of the 2011 Corky Kell Classic wasn't a big enough stage for Peachtree Ridge safety Ray Buchanan Jr., he had a statewide television audience all to himself prior to the Lions' game against Walton on Saturday.

And the 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior used the interview time on Georgia Public Broadcasting to announce his intention to attend the University of Arkansas next season.

Buchanan chose the Razorbacks over Ole Miss, as well as other finalists Illinois, Purdue and Maryland.

"I really like what Coach (Bobby) Petrino as done (at Arkansas) the past few years," Buchanan said. "I really like the fact that I can make an impact to the team."

Buchanan hopes to make just as big an impact on his current team at Peachtree Ridge in his senior season. He did just that last season despite being limited to just five games following an injury suffered during a 7-on-7 camp at Auburn that summer.

"He's had an excellent summer and he's worked really hard," Peachtree Ridge coach Mark Fleetwood said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. From that standpoint, I think (Arkansas) is a good fit for him. He's an excellent student ... and the kid wants to do this. He's passionate (about football). He never misses a workout."

Buchanan had some help in finding the right fit in Arkansas.

His father, Ray Buchanan Sr., went through the same process more than 20 years ago before playing collegiately at Louisville and going on to a 12-year career in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders.

And the younger Buchanan said he very much valued his father's advice and guidance through his own recruiting process.

"It's been real good having my dad around," Buchanan said. "He's been able to help me out in making my decision. I think it's really about coaching and growing as a football player.

"Now, I can concentrate on the season and schoolwork."