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.
The Christmas holiday was good for me and my family. All we did was chill out and enjoy each other’s company, which was perfect for me. I’m not the type to ask for any gifts for Christmas, really. I just take each day as a blessing and a gift.
I’m also grateful to be at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach this week. There’s 82 of the best players from all over the country, so the competition and intensity level is so high.
I got here on Monday afternoon and we started practicing twice a day on Tuesday with light pads and helmets to avoid injuries, but you can already tell how big, strong and fast these guys are. There’s one offensive lineman (Dak Smith) on the West team from California who’s about 6-foot-9, 380-some pounds and committed to the University of Southern California! I’ve never seen some guys this big, but at the same time, I don’t let size get to me on the field.
Outside of the two-a-day practices, we mostly have meetings and meals. The hotel we are staying at is so nice because it’s right on the beach, has a great view from the room and there’s a game room set up for us with eight flat-screen TVs and Xboxes, so we’re having fun.
Most of the coaches are former college and NFL players, so I’m learning a whole lot from them because they’ve been to where I’m trying to get. They’ve already shown me some things that I’ve never seen before, and I know it will help me become an even better player at the next level.
Speaking of which, as I consider all my options as a recruit, I realize that I sometimes have to think about a plan B. I’ve seen guys get hurt in high school or not qualify academically, so while I feel like I’m on the right track in both areas, I look at it as you have to have a back-up plan, whether it be another career or a prep school option, because you never know what can happen.
I’ve been weighing my options and talking to different people, and there’s a few changes in my list of top schools. I know some people will question that because they feel like I’m set on a school already, but where I spend the next three or four years of my life is important to me, so I’m trying to consider everything. It’s still pretty close between all of the top schools, so we’ll see.
My top five schools (in order): LSU, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee.