McCurdy and Johansen are heading to college on football scholarships
When Mark McCurdy walked to the table near the front office at Park City High School on Wednesday afternoon, he couldn’t help but smile. Waiting to watch him take his seat and sign his letter of intent to play football at Davidson College were more than 30 of his teammates and members of his family.
“It was awesome to see so many people there, especially because it’s one of those things where they don’t have to show up to it. … They chose to,” McCurdy said. “They’ve all supported me my whole time in Park City, ever since we moved here before the seventh grade. It was amazing because I know some of them wish they could be in my position but they were genuinely happy for me, and that meant so much.”
McCurdy and his childhood friend, Chase Johansen, both signed to play college football at FCS schools that day – McCurdy for Davidson, and Johansen for the storied University of Montana Grizzlies program.
It was a rare sight to see him smiling. McCurdy is known for his stoic nature in the classroom, on the football field and the basketball court.
That’s the person the D-I FCS program can expect to arrive on their North Carolina campus in August.
“I felt like when Davidson offered me a scholarship, and as I was going through what was on my checklist for what I wanted, they fit everything,” McCurdy. “I didn’t really expect any big-time offers so I was looking at the FCS from the start. I had an amazing experience whenever I visited there, and it just felt like home right away.”
Montzingo considers the two-time all-state receiver to be one of the Miners players ever.
McCurdy’ choice to attend Davidson is about more than football, although Davidson is armed with one of the most exciting FCS offenses— they ranked No. 2 in rushing yards and No. 21 in total offense.
“Academics have always been important to me, so I wanted to go to a college where strong academics was a part of its identity,” McCurdy said. “I also wanted a strong sense of community, a new place to call home because I wanted to get out of Utah. I also felt like I could have more than a football career there, so it just sounded perfect.”
Last season playing for Park City, McCurdy was named the Region 10 co-MVP, finishing the season with 969 receiving yards for 30.3 yards per catch, 14 touchdowns, 502 rushing yards and five scores while also throwing a touchdown. He’s also starring on the basketball court, averaging a team-high 12.3 points per game. In the spring, he’s expected to be an integral part of the Miners track and field team and its quest for a state title in sprints and relays. But before he leaves for North Carolina, McCurdy is looking forward to spending time with his family and friends — important parts of his life that helped him get to where he is.
“Honestly, I’m not ready to leave just yet. … I have some more stuff I want to accomplish but I’m starting to get more ready,” McCurdy said. “Park City is such an awesome place and I really love it here. … But change will be good. I want to be back living here when I’m older though.”
Johansen makes it official
McCurdy wasn’t the only Miner to make things official on National Signing Day.
One of his childhood friends, Park City starting linebacker Chase Johansen, sealed his verbal commitment to play football for the University of Montana.
“I guess with Montana, it just felt like home. … It felt right,” Johansen said about committing to the Grizzlies. “I told my parents and then we called the coaches at Montana to tell them, and it was just a special feeling. My parents had always been super supportive and offered great advice, so sharing it with them was perfect.”
Johansen’s journey to Missoula was far different from McCurdy’s to Davidson.
Where McCurdy got his offer, and others, early on in his recruitment, Johansen was forced to wait and wait until an offer finally came.
Despite attending camps throughout the summer and getting positive feedback, Johansen was still without a scholarship midway through this past season, reaching the point that he would not be playing football in college. But that all changed in October when Montana became the first school to offer — followed by offers from Weber State, Idaho and Northern Colorado.
In the end, it came down to a two-team race between the Grizzlies and in-state Weber State for the all-state linebacker.
“I knew I couldn’t go wrong,” Johansen said. “With Montana, I had the great feeling about the culture of the team, it just felt like home. There’s a great winning history with them, and I just knew deep down it’s not only where I should be, but where I wanted to be.”
Much like McCurdy, Johansen is happy to put this part of his life behind him and look forward to the future challenges that lie ahead. But before he tackles them, he’s excited to spend the next few months at home with his family and friends.
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