Brandon Buckhaulter’s destination at the end of a hectic journey through the transfer portal is UAB. He announced on Wednesday that he committed to Trent Dilfer’s UAB program.

Buckhaulter, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound wide receiver, left Ole Miss and entered the portal on April 28. He found out very quickly about life in the portal.

“It was insane,” said Buckhaulter, who played in high school at Hartfield Academy in Flowood, Mississippi. “My phone was blowing up. It got to the point where I had to put the phone on do not disturb, just so I could focus on what’s going on.”

Weeding through the calls and the interest took some help. Former Ole Miss and NFL receiver Shay Hodge, who was Buckhaulter’s trainer through high school, gave him advice.

“He kind of guided me through and gave me different aspects of every school that was talking to me,” Buckhaulter said. “He just told me to pick out a school where Brandon Buckhaulter fit best. I did a lot of research on every school that I was talking to. I pictured myself in that offense.”

UAB jumped out to him quickly. The Blazers showed depth and talent at the wide receiver position during spring practice but probably needed one more physical receiver who can extend the field. Buckhaulter fit that description.  

“UAB seemed to be the spot,” Buckhaulter said. “Dilfer and I, we talked a lot about the process. We were almost talking every day.”

Buckhaulter narrowed his list down a couple of times and took trips to UAB, Liberty and Southern Miss. He then narrowed it down to UAB and Liberty. Either way, it would be the first time he would live outside his home state and a piece of him would remain at Ole Miss.

“It was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make,” Buckhaulter said of leaving Ole Miss. “I didn’t want to leave the SEC, it’s where my heart lays. I had to do what’s best for me. Some personal things happened, but there is not bad blood with the coaches there. Everything is still good. They root for me, I root for them. They support me 100 percent.”

Buckhaulter was rated a four-star recruit of a high school by ESPN and three stars by ON3 and 247 Sports. He was committed to Ole Miss and Mississippi State at different times but ultimately chose the Rebels. His reported offers in high school also included Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Louisville.

He redshirted in 2021 and played primarily on special teams this past season. He finished a strong spring practice at Ole Miss before entering the portal.

“One thing Dilfer said he likes about me was my energy,” Buckhaulter said. “I’m a deep threat, a very physical receiver and he said that’s what UAB needs. I think I definitely can bring that to the team. And I’m a special team player, too. I can definitely play a major role on special teams at UAB.”

Buckhaulter said he enjoys playing on special teams.

“Honestly, playing special teams, I never look at it as a ‘me’ thing,” Buckhaulter said. “It’s all about the team. I’m a team player and I’m going to do whatever for my team to win. I don’t care if I’ve scored this many touchdowns or have this many yards, I’m going to always be there on special teams whenever I’m needed. I’ll do whatever – whether it’s to go downfield and hit or to block or to return a ball or anything.”

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