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BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, who played a season at Utah State before a church mission to Spain, said he would have gone first, and several other BYU football players, including cornerback Preston Hadley, echoed Nelson’s sentiments Monday.
"I turned 18 a week after I graduated [from high school]," Nelson said. "I think that would have been nice timing [to go]. Then you get back as a 20-year-old kid, and I probably would have redshirted, which would have been nice. … I don’t know what impact that will have, but I think it is good — getting them out at 18 and getting them back at 20, and then having five [years] to play four."
LDS missionaries on Utah’s big three football rosters:
RMs on Currently
School roster serving
BYU 77 38
Utah 25 18
Utah State 17 N/A
And don’t forget about the impact the change potentially could have on the top high school basketball player in the country, Jabari Parker, who happens to be LDS and has mentioned the possibility of serving a mission.
He turns 18 next March, and now could go on a mission before enrolling at one of his listed five favorites: BYU, Florida, Duke, Michigan State or Stanford.
Before the change, he would have had to play a year first.
"When he’s 18 and if he did want to go on a mission, he can now," Parker’s father, Sonny Parker, told Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com. "He has to decide whether or not [he will]. He hasn’t decided one way or another."
Tribune reporters Kurt Kragthorpe, Lya Wodraska and Tony Jones contributed to this report.
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