Jack Buford sat beneath the pennants Wednesday afternoon, and like so many others, made his choice. Unlike so many other Crusaders, he did it in front of the media, assembled family, friends and had it broadcast live on the internet.
Unlike so many other area football talents, Buford announced he had decided to stay home. Lutheran North's highly rated senior offensive lineman verbally committed to the University of Missouri.
The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Buford pulled a gold hat from under the table, fixed it upon his head and told the world he wants to be a Tiger, words no area high school recruit has uttered the last two years.
“I am 110 percent committed to the University of Missouri,” Buford said to raucous applause.
Rated a four-star recruit by 247sports.com and a three-star by Rivals.com, Buford, who will celebrate his 18th birthday Friday, is the best area recruit to commit to Mizzou since East St. Louis defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. made his pledge in February 2015. East St. Louis' Tre'Vour Simms and Lafayette's Brendan Scales both signed in the winter of 2016.
“I wanted to be close to home. Just closer to my parents,” Buford said. “I didn't want to go that far away.”