Parkite commits to Air Force Academy for football
Judge Memorial High School senior Xavier Price, a Park City native, didn’t get many opportunities as a wide receiver on the football team. In the Bulldogs’ run-first offense, Price was used primarily as a blocker, opening holes for the running backs.
But, when he did get a chance to catch a pass, he made the most of it.
"My junior year, I caught 10 passes," he said. "But I scored seven touchdowns and averaged like 35 yards a catch."
His blocking prowess, combined with his big-play ability, earned him looks from several Division I college football programs. Ultimately, though, Price settled on the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
"The spring of my junior year, I got six or seven offers and Air Force was my first Division I offer," he said. "That following July, we went out and took an unofficial visit. I kind of fell in love with the message they have there, the type of program they’re running and the type of institution they have.
"I ended up committing I think three days after I got home from my unofficial visit. I stayed committed through the whole  football season and then, back in January, I took my official visit out there and it reaffirmed my decision. I just knew it was the perfect place for me."
Plus, he added, having personal contact with Head Coach Troy Calhoun didn’t hurt the Falcons’ chances.
"Coach Calhoun was a big part of why I committed," Price said. "For most programs I received offers from, it was usually an assistant coach that would call me and offer me. For my Air Force offer, Coach Calhoun actually called me and offered me my scholarship. That had a little bit more weight with it."
To attend the Air Force Academy, Price will be required to serve after graduation. He said that wasn’t a decision he took lightly.
"When I first got my initial offer from Air Force, I was a little hesitant," he said. "None of our family has really had much experience in the military and that wasn’t my vision of my life. But once I got out there and I learned the honor it was to serve our country and the type of money I’d be making and the benefits I could give my family — especially my [future] kids — that kind of sold me. When you go into the Air Force Academy, it’s not just about your college football career and education — it’s about your kids and grandkids."
Price wants to major in management with an emphasis in finance. That will open doors to opportunities to serve as a finance officer or working in logistics. But, he added, he’s also interested in some emerging technology.
"Right now, I’m also kind of interested in being a drone pilot," he said. "I might try that out, too."
But first, Price said, he wants to make his mark on the football field. He thinks he’ll fit in well with the Falcons’ offense, which is similar to the offense he played in at Judge Memorial.
"I’m used to the double wing and running the ball, mostly," he said. "What they’ve done over the last few years, though, is kind of open up their offense. There were some sets last year where they’d come out in a spread formation and have four wide receivers on the field. I really like the versatility of the offense."
Though he may have been uncertain with his decision to attend the Air Force Academy at first, Price said he’s always known that he wants to play football as much as he can. Growing up in Park City, he said football has always been a big part of his life.
"I started playing little league in third grade up here in Park City, playing for the Miners," he said. "That was a great, great time period. From fifth to eighth grades, I also played in Park City. I made some really good friends up here. I really grew as a football player and as a person, too."
But, he added, he’ll always remember the times his Bulldogs bested the Miners on the high school fields.
"I take pride that I’ve never lost to them in a game," he laughed. "That’s something that’s really cool. I care about those guys, though. I’m cheering for them when they’re not playing against us. I want to see them have success."
As he moves on to his college career, Price said he wants to find ways to contribute as a freshman, whether on special teams or at wide receiver. From there, he wants to make sure he improves from year to year.
"I want to be first-team Mountain West," he said. "If I reach that, then I want to be first-team All-American. Then, hopefully, I’ll be able to put my name in the [NFL] draft. That’s all I can really hope for right now. I know I’ll be getting a fine education, so all I can do is do my part on the football field and in the classroom. To have the opportunity to serve our country and a chance to play in the NFL — that’s all you can really ask for."
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This season, the Miners are led by a quartet of seniors who combine to shine on and off the court. According to head coach Matt Carlson, the seniors are the heartbeat of the team and have led the charge for Park City’s jump to Class 5A.