SOUTH JORDAN — Chayden Johnston hasn’t even started his senior season, but he’s already decided where he’ll play once his high school career concludes.
The 6-foot junior gave a verbal commitment to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham after Tuesday’s practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“Utah has always been my No. 1 choice,” Johnston said. “I figured, why wait?”
Johnston spent Tuesday’s practice on the sideline with Utah's kicking corps, including ski-racer-turned-kicker Andy Phillips.
“During practice I’m able to hang out with them,” Johnston said. “They all treat me very well, and we already have a great relationship.”
Johnston is a first-team all-state winner and one of the top rated prep kickers in the country. He said his longest field goal in a game is 51 yards, while his longest in practice is 68 yards.
His high school coach, Bingham’s Dave Peck, said the fact that Utah offered him a scholarship this spring speaks volumes about his talent. Until high school, Johnston was a soccer player.
“If he could go to any school in the nation, that’s where he wanted to go,” Peck said.
Johnston was offered a scholarship after Utah’s Junior Day a couple of weeks ago. He plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right after high school so he probably won’t get to play with Phillips, who is just finishing his freshman year at the U.
Johnston said he’d always hoped to play football in college, but he’s still trying to comprehend that his dream has come true.
“It’s a little shocking that all of this has happened,” he said. “But I’m very excited.”
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