He received offers, but in the end Safford High School graduate Zach Juarez signed with Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.
Juarez, 18, said that throughout the pandemic last spring the football coaches at Clarke kept in constant touch with him, making sure he was taking care of himself.
The offensive and defensive lineman left Safford with his parents Friday to make the drive and get settled in.
He toured the campus virtually and was impressed with all of the trees. The university is near the Mississippi River and pretty.
“It’s a bigger town than Safford, but it’s not as overwhelming as Phoenix,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big change, but I’m ready,” Juarez said.
He expects to get some playing time as this is only the university second season of football. They went 2-9 last year.
Juarez, who graduated with a 3.1 GPA, plans to study civil engineering.
Juarez’s wrestling coach, Herman Andrews Jr., said he is positive Juarez will do well. He described him as a good, respectful young man who does whatever is asked of him.
“He’s hard-working and driven and I’m so glad to see him pursuing sports after high school,” Andrews said.