Although many colleges offered Blake Bartschi scholarships to play football, he chose to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first.
Bartschi grew up in St. Anthony, Idaho where sports have always come naturally to him.
"I've been involved with sports my entire life," said Bartschi. "I've been playing ball ever since I could walk it feels like."
He originally focused on basketball but found that he excelled in baseball, track and most of all, football.
"I did not like football for a while," said Bartschi. "The first two years of high school football were super hard and I wasn't 100 percent convinced that that's what I wanted to do."
Bartschi said during his sophomore year in high school his thoughts on football changed.
"I had a coach that really made me fall in love with football," said Bartschi.
The 18-year-old had an outstanding high school football career, enough for college scouts to send letters and visit little South Fremont High School to watch him play.
"It was all new to me, I'd never been in a recruiting position before," said Bartschi. "I started getting letters from University of Washington, Duke, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton."
Bartschi got scholarship offers from Southern Utah University, Idaho State, Weber State and even a walk-on position at BYU. The Bartschi family has ties to Idaho State as their daughter, Blake's older sister, played volleyball there.
"ISU was just awesome but Weber just felt like the best fit for me," said Bartschi. "The coaching staff, everything, the place down there was just everything I wanted out of a program."
Bartschi said a big reason he chose Weber State was the feeling of belonging he felt on his visit. He also became good friends with one of Weber State's main recruiting coaches, Colton Swan.
"He's the one that would come up and see me or call me and check in on me," said Bartschi. "He and I got to build a relationship to the point where it wasn't like talking to a recruiter or a coach anymore. It was like talking to a friend."
Despite the excitement to follow his new found dream to play college football, Bartschi decided to put his offer on hold to serve a two-year mission for the LDS Church. Bartschi was called to serve in the Sao Paulo, Brazil Mission and leaves 24 days after his high school graduation. He said it was an easy decision to make.
"There was never really a debate. Ever since I was a kid I told myself 'You're going on a mission.' That's just something that I've been accustomed to my whole life. My brother went on a mission, one of my sisters went on a mission, and my dad went on a mission. It's something that I believe very strongly in," said Bartschi." When I came right down to it, I knew that if I had to choose between serving a mission and college football, I'd choose a mission 100 times. I would never choose football over a mission because I know what's important."
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