Utah football notes — OL Parker Erickson nominated as Rhodes Scholar
Former New York Knick and Senator Bill Bradley is one. USC AD Pat Haden is one. Bill Clinton is one of the most famous ones.
There’s a long, arduous vetting process ahead, but political science major Parker Erickson hopes to be one of the next Rhodes Scholars, one of 32 students nationwide and 83 in the world selected to pursue their postgraduate education at Oxford.
He’s just got to work around football practice.
"It’s been quite a bit to do," Erickson said, understating a schedule that occupies almost every waking moment.
Erickson was endorsed last week by the University of Utah to apply for arguably the most prestigious academic scholarship in the world. He’s produced eight letters of recommendation, formed relationships in Washington D.C., taking interviews, and he’s currently on his 24th revision of his 1000-word personal statement that will go a long way to determine if he’s got Rhodes Scholar stuff.
Consider that Erickson already has a 4.0 GPA despite attending his fourth school in five years and playing football, albeit mostly as a scout team player. After stops at Salt Lake Community College, Utah State and Snow College — oh yeah, he also went on an LDS Church Mission to Detroit — he’s finally found an academic and athletic home where he’s happy.
Adding to his mental well-being: He no longer commutes to school from Lehi, which required him to wake up every day at 4:30 a.m. for training, school and practice. Not exactly ideal circumstances for an aspiring brainiac.
"Now I live 10 minutes away, so I have a lot more time," he said. "I’m really happy about it."
Erickson has more scrutiny upcoming when he’s grouped against candidates from a multi-state district in October, then by the end of the year, he’ll know if he’s one of the 36. Coincidentally, that’s about the time he’ll be earning his bachelor’s degree.
Erickson sees himself working to bridge gaps between the private and public sectors to "create social change" and better sculpt public policy (he goes to a lot more detail in his statement, he said). Juggling all of his commitments can be tricky, but he’s keeping the end goal in mind.
"The price is right — let’s get real: It’s free," he said. "But the more I’ve done my own research into Rhodes Scholarship and the programs I want to do, it would really equip me best to make the social change I want to see both in public policy and the business sector."
The Rhodes Trust annually awards 83 scholarships to students around the world who demonstrate scholarly achievement and a commitment to public service.
Hatfield’s new role • Sophomore Dominique Hatfield was a wide receiver. Then, after a season-ending injury to Reggie Porter, he became a wide receiver who moonlighted as a corner. Now, he’s a corner playing some wide receiver.
The toughest part so far has been learning the playbook, Hatfield said Tuesday. Against Idaho State, when he had two pass break-ups, coaches simplified things for him.
"Playing DB, that’s kind of a natural ability I was blessed with, and I’ve been playing it from a very young age, and my feet and my hips are very smooth," he said. "So playing DB wasn’t very rough at all, but learning the plays, there’s so many different terms and so many different looks you can get."
Teammate Justin Thomas said that Hatfield isn’t as good as Porter right now, but he’s a similar talent.
"He came in and he made good plays right away," Thomas said. "That’ll help us out a lot."