Stephen Buckley chooses Northwestern

Rising athlete Stephen Buckley (Forney, Texas/North Forney) on Sunday confirmed he has verbally committed to Northwestern.

Buckley, a 6-foot-1, 178-pound senior with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, visited Northwestern this weekend and gave the verbal announcement Saturday during dinner with Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Buckley chose Northwestern over offers from Navy, Air Force, Washington State, Kansas State and Louisiana-Monroe.

"The academic aspect of it really stuck out to me," Buckley said. "The opportunities within the area really set it apart from the rest."

Buckley, recruited by running backs coach Matt MacPherson, can play multiple positions on both sides of the ball and special teams. He was a dual-threat quarterback at North Forney, rushing for 1,352 yards and 25 touchdowns and passing for 923 yards and eight touchdowns. He also was a catalyst in the North Forney secondary. Buckley earned MVP honors in his district.

Buckley is expected to play running back for Northwestern, which now has 22 commits in its 2012 recruiting class.