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Recruit's Diary: Gamecocks in Parker's top spot

Justin Parker
Justin Parker

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 will be taking my first official college visit to the University of Colorado this weekend. After calling the coaches last week to set up a visit, they called me back on Tuesday and I'll be flying out around 5 in the morning. I'm really excited to go, and after I got off the phone, it kind of hit me that the main part of my recruiting and my decision are getting closer and closer. I know it's going to be cold up there because they said it snowed a few days ago, so I'll be bringing lots of clothes. I've heard that Colorado has a great business school, which is a plus since that's what I want to major in. When I go up there, I'll be checking out the college atmosphere, asking a lot of questions and just getting a feel for how it might be to be a student there.

Like I've been saying, I know that two of my other visits will be to South Carolina and Clemson. When I was up at the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game this past weekend, I talked to (USC recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Shane) Beamer about taking my official visit with them during the weekend they play Florida (on Nov. 14), but that's still in the works. I'm still not sure where I'll take the last two of my five visits, but I'm looking to make those plans within the next few weeks.

I enjoyed myself at the South Carolina game and the defense was on point, which really stood out to me. I had a chance to talk with (former Beaufort High teammates and current South Carolina players) Jimmy Legree and Devin Taylor. When I talk to Jimmy, it's mostly a regular conversation about how things are going and he might throw some things in there about USC. With Devin, he makes a point to tell me not to go anywhere else and that USC is the place for me.

After going to the game and thinking some, I realized that I wanted to show South Carolina some of the same love that they've shown me since day one. I remember the first camp that I went to was at USC during my freshman year, and the day after, they called (Beaufort High defensive coordinator Jerry) Hatcher and said they were going to keep an eye on me. South Carolina will always be the first camp I went to and the first school that offered me a scholarship in my sophomore year. I'll always remember that and I can tell they are really committed to me.

So at this point, South Carolina has a small lead on Clemson. I'm looking to make a decision by the end of November -- definitely after all of my visits and before signing day in February -- so we'll see what happens.

We've got a BIG game coming up on Friday at Summerville with the Region 8-AAAA title on the line. With it being my senior year, I want to go out with a bang and win region for the first time since I've been here. Us being out of school this week could be a good thing for our team because we have a little bit more time to watch film, a little bit more time to lay in bed on Friday morning and think about the game.

Matter of fact, I was thinking about how our school's volleyball and tennis teams beat out Summerville this year to win region, so now it's on the football team to do our part. It's do-or-die and winner takes all, so you can't help but get fired up about a game like this.

My top five schools (in order): South Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Virginia Tech