DB recruit Frank Buncom IV and Notre Dame get reacquainted

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Frank Buncom IV has plenty of questions about Notre Dame.

Rather than learn about the university from afar, Buncom hurried to plan an official visit to Notre Dame. The senior defensive back prospect from San Diego, Calif., will get at least a few answers when he visits South Bend next weekend for the Stanford game.

"I've always been intrigued by Notre Dame,” Buncom said. “As soon as they started recruiting me heavily again and they mentioned an official visit on that date, I decided that it fit in perfect into my schedule because it's leading into my bye week. I need a lot of questions answered, so it will be good to get up there on campus.”

Buncom and Notre Dame parted ways for quite some time in his recruitment. Outside linebackers coach Bob Elliott expressed interest in Buncom early in the recruiting cycle but backed off once Notre Dame landed two safety commitments, Prentice McKinney and Nicco Fertitta, in the 2015 class by early April.

Only recently did the Irish begin to target a third safety in the class. Buncom received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame on Sept. 18 in a week when the Irish offered four new safety prospects. Now Buncom is ready to reevaluate his interest in the Irish.

“At this point, I'm still looking to gather some information,” Buncom said. “They haven't been on my radar for such a long time and they just popped back up this last week. This upcoming visit is definitely going to answer a lot of questions for me and allow me to be able to experience the atmosphere and environment at the University of Notre Dame.”

A versatile athlete at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds, Buncom is being recruited at a number of different positions. Some coaches prefer him as a cornerback. Others see him as a safety. A few schools have even pitched Buncom the opportunity to play wide receiver.

The differing opinions are a product of his play at St. Augustine. In his first four games as a senior, Buncom recorded 22 tackles and a pass deflection on defense. He also caught 14 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns.

Both Rivals and 247Sports classify Buncom as a four-star cornerback. 247Sports slates him as the No. 11 cornerback in the 2015 class and No. 117 regardless of position. Rivals ranks him No. 14 at cornerback and No. 121 overall.

Position preference won’t play a role in Buncom’s recruitment, but he does admit to feeling more comfortable on defense.

“All my life I've always been a natural defensive guy because I've always loved to tackle,” Buncom said. “I feel I can be successful at any position on the field. I just like to play football. Wherever I think the best fit for me as a person and as a student, that's where I'll go. I'll play whatever position they put me at.”

An academically-inclined student, Buncom is more likely to choose a school based on its medical studies. Buncom has expressed a passion for neurology as a potential career beyond football. He’s been so busy with schoolwork this fall, he hasn’t watched much football on the weekends.

“To my dissatisfaction, I haven't been able to watch college football or the NFL just because my school workload has been very hectic,” Buncom said. “I've been having to pound my head in the books recently.”

His dedication to education led him to a top five of Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, UCLA and Oklahoma. The Notre Dame offer upped the list to six. He has visited UCLA and Stanford multiple times and made a trip to Vanderbilt in the summer. Notre Dame will be his first official visit, and a trip to Stanford is scheduled for January.

A decision from Buncom likely won’t come until late in the recruiting cycle. He will take his time.

“To be able to play football at that level,” Buncom said, “with a school that has that brand would be a blessing."

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Safety recruit Frank Buncom IV has scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame shortly after receiving an Irish offer. (Photo courtesy of UT San Diego/K.C. Alfred)
Safety recruit Frank Buncom IV has scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame shortly after receiving an Irish offer. (Photo courtesy of UT San Diego/David Brooks)