Beaufort High School linebacker Justin Parker has emerged as one of the nation's top recruiting prospects, earning more than a dozen scholarship offers from Division I schools and cracking Sporting News Today's list of top 100 football recruits for the 2010 class. As Parker approaches his much-anticipated 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'll be going to the Clemson-TCU football game this weekend to check out Death Valley again. My brother, Jeff, is supposed to go up there with me, too. I probably would have gone to the South Carolina-Mississippi game, but it's on a Thursday and I've got school the next day. I'm thinking about going to see South Carolina next week when the team plays South Carolina State at home.
The phone calls and messages from coaches and recruiting sites have been pretty constant since the season started. Every Saturday, I have three or four coaches call me, telling me to watch their teams play. It's a quick conversation because it's right before the game and I figure they have to go get their team ready to play. Some call me on Fridays before or after our games, too. By now, I'm pretty used to all of it and I know not to let it get to my head.
Last week, we lost our first game of the season to Stratford. Really, we just gave up big plays and weren't in the right place at the right time to make plays. I look at it as you can't blame it on one person or one group of the team. We played as a team, so everybody messed up and we lost as a team. We're confident that we'll learn from our mistakes and we've had good, hard practices so far this week.
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We never like to lose, and hopefully, it won't happen again this season. But if we were going to lose, we're glad it happened now, against a non-region team, rather than to a region team like Fort Dorchester a couple weeks ago.
This week will be a test because West Ashley is a good team in our region. I've heard that their quarterback is pretty good, so we're going to have to contain him and get ready for their different looks on offense. If we stop him and get some big plays, we'll give ourselves a good chance to win the game.