By LARRY VAUGHT
Emma Buchanan and her roommate, Caitlin Pendygraft, randomly picked a dormitory when they were applying for University of Kentucky housing their freshman year and had no idea how they got placed in a dorm with football, baseball, swim, track and cheerleading team members.
The Mercer County friends found out about their dorm when former Mercer football star Dee Smith, now a walk-on running back at UK, told them. They eventually became good friends with UK football players Josh Paschal and Nassir Watkins, who lived in the dorm basement close to them.
“They were so nice. They would do anything for us. If we had to walk back from K-lot where we park our car which is miles from our dorm, they would come get us and take us back so we would not have to walk,” said Buchanan.
She didn’t initially tell them her father, David Buchanan, was the football coach at Mercer County — but they soon figured out she knew a lot about football.
“When I met them I was asking what position they played and I guess most girls don’t ask that,” Buchanan, a marketing/business major at UK, said. “But I told them Dad was a coach and that Dee Smith went to my school. They love Dee. They said he is doing really well in practice and I hope to get to see him play this year.”
That friendship led to Paschal and Quinton Bohanna, another UK defensive lineman, coming to Harrodsburg in July for the Mercer County Youth Football Clinic.
“We asked Josh to come here and he was all for it. He just had to ask permission and he was good to go and he got Quinton, who I know a little, to also come,” Emma Buchanan said. “Josh is so nice. He is so down to earth. I didn’t honestly know he was so good. He never acted like he was better than anyone. He would do anything for anyone. He is just the best.
“He said he was nervous about what to say (to the young players) and I told him they would love him and be excited he’s here and he could not mess it up. I hope the kids learned that you need to set a goal to strive for because these guys (Paschal and Bohanna) have made it. It’s hard in July to get kids out here to play. It’s hot and they are not really into it but seeing these UK players should make them want to play.”