Beaufort High School linebacker Justin Parker has emerged as one of the nation's top recruiting prospects, cracking Sporting News Today's list of top 100 football recruits for the 2010 class. As Parker approaches his decision, the senior agreed to give readers a glimpse into the recruiting process with a diary every Wednesday, as told to Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet sports reporter Brandon Parker.
I went to the Clemson-Wake Forest game this past weekend and I enjoyed the crowd atmosphere again. I'll admit that it wasn't as crazy as the first time I went to Death Valley, and maybe that's because this was my second time being there. It wasn't the closest of games, with Wake Forest getting blown out, but it gave me a chance to see two schools play that are recruiting me and are at least in the top 10 on my list. Wake Forest is probably about sixth or seventh and Clemson is still my favorite school right now.
After the game, I got to talk with some of the Clemson players in the locker room. I also talked with defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Kevin Steele and head coach Dabo Swinney, who told me they were in desperate need of a linebacker and that he was looking forward to me visiting soon.
I'm planning to go to the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game this weekend because it gives me another chance to see two schools that are recruiting me. Plus, I'm sure it will be a packed house up in Columbia because it's a SEC game.
I actually contacted Colorado about taking an official visit there later this month, but I still haven't heard back from the coaches yet. If he gets back to me, I'm pretty interested in getting the feel for an out-of-state school. Colorado's been pretty consistent about staying in touch with me and sending me mail, so it couldn't hurt to check them out.
Last week's game wasn't fun losing to Berkeley and giving up 51 points, but we didn't hang our heads because we're a team that knows how to overcome adversity. (Berkeley quarterback) Bruce Ellington is a great athlete with a lot of speed, and everybody was out of place on defense, so it was hard to slow him down. Me and Bruce are pretty good friends because we've seen each other a lot at past combines, so we talked some after the game.
I know a lot of the region focus goes to our game with Summerville, but first, we've got to play a Colleton County team that's better than its record shows. I think (four) of the games that they've lost have only been by eight points or less, so like any other team, we're not going to underestimate our opponent. We just have to do what the coaches ask of us and get better with our assignments, because this is an important part of the season.
My top five schools (in order): Clemson, South Carolina, N.C. State, Colorado and Virginia Tech.