The commitment and recent signing of Georgia QB Zach Buchan is probably the most interesting recruiting story of this off-season. Buchan may not be the first “American” signee in recent years [Ray Bahr and Marcus Volpe come to mind], nor the first NCAA transfer to come to Guelph [remember DL Kalven Seilis from Eastern Michigan]. Still it is very intriguing.
The way I understand it, Buchan had recruiting interest from several FBS and FCS schools [Georgia State & Middle Tennessee are two of the names I remember], but a broken hand that required surgery cost him most of his senior season and put a damper on his NCAA prospects. A year ago he committed to the University of Alberta, then five or six weeks later he received, and accepted, a scholarship offer from nearby Kennesaw State, an FCS program.
That didn’t work out. In his words …
“After the first year at Kennesaw, it just wasn’t going in the direction that I’d hoped. It just wasn’t a good fit,” Buchan said. “I started doing some research up in the Toronto area, up where we used to live and where we still have family and we found the University of Guelph. They just won the Yates Cup up there which is the Ontario championship.”
Buchan’s father sent his highlights to Stu Lang and that started the ball rolling. Buchan thoroughly enjoyed an official visit to Guelph in late January. He committed to the Gryphons relatively soon thereafter. We first learned of his commitment from OC Todd Galloway at a mid-February FoGF reception. At that point the application and acceptance process needed time to work through. Buchan will be studying Mechanical Engineering at Guelph.
Jump ahead a couple months and on April 11, Buchan signed his LOI in a ceremony at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville. We saw the evidence of that a few days later on Twitter.
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This week there is a story in Buchan’s hometown newspaper, the Dawson News – Former Dawson County quarterback signs to play Canadian football. The story is “premium” content and most of it is behind a paywall. Worth sharing ….
Though it’s a full day’s drive to reach the university from Dawsonville, the Buchans have extended family only 15 minutes away and Buchan says he’s already made friends there.
“You know we are thrilled because it’s a different chapter of his life. This is something he’s passionate about and he’s always wanted to do. We plan on going to every game,” said mom, Tiffany Buchan.
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Dawson County High School is a AAA program in north Georgia. Buchan worked his way up as a QB from Dawsonville’s middle school to JV QB at DCHS to become a two-year starter on the Varsity team. His junior year he earned All-Area Honorable Mention. That included all classifications – i.e. A to 6A.
For what it’s worth, the All-Area Player-of-the-Year was a senior QB named Deshaun Watson of Gainsville HS. Some of you may recognize that name as Watson was a finalist for the Heisman trophy and led Clemson to the National Championship game this past season as a sophomore.
In his senior year, Buchan was also the team’s field goal kicker. After his hand injury and surgery, Buchan returned to the field as a kicker for several games, before starting again at QB to finish out the season. Buchan also played Varsity Baseball for the DCHS Tigers.
In 2013, Buchan led DCHS to a 23-20 victory over a 5A opponent. The opposing coach was highly complimentary in a preview of their 2014 re-match …
The Tigers have been in playoff contention each of the last three seasons under Jeff Lee, now in his 12th season. Quarterback Zach Buchan (Sr., 6-2, 180) leads the Tigers’ Hybrid Wing-T offense. “[Buchan] is their best player. He reads the field so well,” Central coach Shane Williamson said. “He’s got great timing with two quality receivers [Hunter Mitchell and Dalton Edwards].”
And, from a January 2015 article about the resignation of DCHS head coach Jeff Lee …
Lee apparently had an unusual way of instilling confidence in his players.
Tigers quarterback Zachary Buchan, a senior, was surprised when he heard Coach Lee talking about him in front of a roomful of people.
“He said things I never really thought of myself as being,” Buchan said. “He called me great leader and a kid he would want on his team no matter where he was. That just blew me away.”