Whether it was on offense as the best receiver in Rhode Island, on defense as a pick-6 waiting to happen or as a deadly kick returner, you had to keep an eye on Buchanan at all times. He dominated during the regular season, did what his team needed him to do in the postseason and on Tuesday was named the 2021-22 Gatorade Rhode Island Football Player of the Year.
Buchanan’s role in the Purple's Division II title this fall was undeniable.
Facing double- and triple-teams all season, Buchanan finished the year with 63 catches for 1,143 yards and 10 touchdowns and also ran for 399 yards and eight scores. Buchanan had two kickoff return TDs — including a game-winner against Westerly in the regular season — and a punt-return score that came in a five-touchdown game against Coventry. Buchanan also threw a touchdown this season.
On defense, he was just as important to the Purple. He had 75 tackles and five interceptions, bringing three back for scores. He also had a fumble recovery for a score.
The Gatorade award isn’t just based on football talents alone. Buchanan has volunteered as a youth mentor at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center in Providence for the last seven years and donates time at a homeless shelter and food bank. He maintained a 3.0 GPA in the classroom and will be attending college next fall.
RI high school football: Classical's supporting cast proved to be the difference in Div. 2 Super Bowl
Buchanan still hasn’t decided on where he’ll attend. The senior is currently weighing football offers from the University of Rhode Island, Sacred Heart and New Hampshire.
Buchanan is the first wide receiver to be honored in over 30 years, with Cumberland’s Chris Plamondon winning the 1988-89 award.
It’s only the third time a Classical non-track athlete has won the award.
What other Classical football players have won Gatorade Player of the Year for Rhode Island
This is the second straight season a Classical football player has won Gatorade Player of the Year following Samuel Baddoo – who now plays for Brown - last spring. It’s the fifth time in the history of the award that the same school had players go back to back;
East Providence won back to back from 1992-1994
Joe Wahl and Steve Silva
East Providence won in 1999-2001
Lorenzo Perry and Liam Coen
La Salle won in 2002-04
Josh Morris and Anthony Francis
La Salle won in 2012-14
Dylan Poirier and James Osmanski
North Kingstown won from 2018-2020
Cumberland won the 1988-89 award
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Marquis Buchanan wins RI Gatorade Football Player of the Year