Parker Buchanan won’t have to move far away from home to embark on his next journey as a football player.
The Box Elder quarterback announced his commitment to Utah State on Thursday on Twitter. The Aggies recruited Buchanan is an athlete and plan on developing him into a tight end or outside linebacker.
The Perry native is the second class of 2021 high school athlete to commit to the Aggies this week, joining Texas running back Kendric Rhymes.
“It means a ton to me, it means the world,” Buchanan said in an interview with The Herald Journal. “I’ve since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamed of playing Division I college football. ... And when Utah State started (recruiting me) and offered me, it was just a dream come true to have a school this close and that I personally love, I love the Aggies. ... I’m excited for the future.”
USU extended a scholarship offer to Buchanan in February. All of the other collegiate programs from the Beehive State have “reached out” to Buchanan, “but none as heavy as Utah State has.”
Aggie co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Frank Maile visited Buchanan at Box Elder during his weightlifting class this past winter. The two have been in regular contact ever since, and Buchanan’s bond to Maile was one of the biggest reasons he decided to commit early in the process.
“A big part of (me committing early) was coach Maile and how he was just really honest, and he has a lot of good qualities about him,” Buchanan said. “And I thought to myself, ‘I want this guy to be my coach in the future.’ He’s a really good guy. All of the other coaches that I’ve talked to when I went over there (for my unofficial visit) were super welcoming, and it just felt like a place where I would fit in and where I would belong.”
The 3-star recruit grew up as a Utah State and Utah fan. Both of Buchanan’s parents graduated with bachelor’s degrees from USU, and his father attended medical school at Utah.
Buchanan is a three-sport athlete for the Bees as he is also an all-state basketball player and starting competing as a thrower and high jumper for the track & field program this spring. Box Elder, like most local track & field teams, was only able to compete in one meet before the season was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a junior forward for the Bees, Buchanan averaged 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals an outing en route to garnering third-team all-state honors. Buchanan, who knocked down 54 percent of his field goal attempts, ranked first on the team in rebounding, second in scoring, tied for second in steals and third in assists.
As a junior on the football team, Buchanan completed 112 of 223 passes for 1,702 yards and 15 touchdowns, vs. seven interceptions. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder also led the Bees with 375 rushing yards and seven rushing TDs.
No. 14 played some safety for Box Elder and anticipates competing on the defensive side of the ball even more as a senior. Buchanan recorded 19 tackles as a junior and also punted the ball 12 times for a 33.1-yard average.
The Bees went 3-8 in 2019 and Buchanan is hungry to win more games as a senior, although that’s not his primary objective.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much, but just to go out one more year with all of my buds that I’ve grown up playing ball with and just have a great time,” said Buchanan, when asked about his goals for his final season of high school football. “Obviously, we want to win ... but just kind of enjoy the last year that I have with some of my best friends that I’ve grown up with.”
Buchanan is currently planning on serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling at USU.
What are the biggest strength’s No. 14 feels he will bring to the next level?
“I think a winning attitude, as well as (developing) team chemistry. I love bonding with guys and coming closer (as teammates) and, like I’ve done with my guys at Box Elder, I think I’ll be able to do the same do there (at USU). ... I have a winning mentality that I think will spread. Obviously, coach (Gary) Andersen, he’s a great coach. He’s been all over the place and he loves winning, wants to win, and so I’m going to bring a winning mentality up there and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.”