Many are living with some degree of uncertainty right now during the coronavirus pandemic, which has halted much of usual life, canceled sports seasons and more.
But Box Elder High School athlete Parker Buchanan staked his claim to some certainty this week by making a fairly easy choice. The football quarterback and basketball forward announced his commitment to play football at Utah State University with a tweet Thursday.
Buchanan, a junior in the current school year, began gaining interest from BYU, Weber State and Dixie State to play college football. But when USU defensive assistant Frank Maile showed up during a weightlifting class this winter, it began a quick sports courtship.
An official offer and visit two months ago helped Buchanan know playing for the Aggies was what he wanted.
“I’ve always been a big Utes fan, and the Aggies have just been right over the mountain. So ever since I was a little kid, those were the two schools I dreamed of going to play for,” Buchanan said. “It’s what I’ve worked hard for, so to have one of the schools I dreamed about going to to give me this opportunity, I’m excited about it.
“When I went on a visit, it just felt like a place where I would want to be and play football ... I felt like it would be a great fit for me.”
At 6-foot-6, Buchanan threw for 155 yards per game and tossed 15 touchdowns passes — running for seven more scores — for the Bees in 2019. In hoops, he averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
He’s used to having the ball in his hands, but Utah State recruited him as an athlete, Buchanan said, with particular discussions about playing tight end or outside linebacker.
“It will be different, but it will be nice not dropping back and getting smacked all the time or always have to be making plays. I love having the pressure on myself, but playing a different position will be a new experience where I can work on it and help the team out as best I can,” he said.
He said it’s nice to be able to put his recruitment to bed early, especially in the current climate — though it would’ve been an easy choice anyway.
“Thinking about if (the pandemic) happens to go on and does something with next football season where I don’t really get to showcase my ability, that would be a tough situation,” Buchanan said. “But it hasn’t affected me too much because, as soon as Utah State offered me, that’s been a place I’ve dreamed of going so I didn’t have any doubt that’s where I wanted to go.”
Buchanan said he plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately after high school. He’s been using springs to recuperate from competition and focus on weight training and conditioning, so he didn’t have any games canceled this spring. But until next football season, he’s making do like many athletes are in trying to stay sharp and in shape before his senior season.
“I go on runs around my neighborhood. I’ve been trying to find things around the house like cement blocks — or we have these logs outside from a tree we cut down, so I’ll put those on my back to do squats,” he said. “I’m just trying to find stuff like that ... to keep myself close to where I need to be.”