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.
My time at the Shrine Bowl has been good so far. I checked in on Saturday and then on Sunday, we went to the hospital to talk with the kids, and I enjoyed that.
We practice twice a day, once from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and later from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The rest of the time, we spend in meetings, going out to eat and hanging out in our hotel in Spartanburg. The practices have been pretty intense, and while I'm not saying that I haven't played around some good players at Beaufort High, it kind of makes things even easier to have the best guys in the state playing on defense along with me.
I've been able to pick up what the coaches want us to do pretty quickly and, as of right now, it looks like I could have a chance of starting or playing a lot at linebacker. When I came here, I definitely came excited and ready to play, so I'm looking forward to Saturday's game. At the same time, I realize that it's not about me or any of the other players, but it's about the kids who benefit from this game each year (The Shrine Bowl is played to benefit the Greenville Unit Shriners Hospital and 21 other Shriners Hospitals across the nation).
Since college coaches aren't allowed to come out to our practices or anything this week, I thought that I might have a little break from the recruiting scene. But a lot of the reporters from Rivals.com and other recruiting Web sites are around, so even after practice (Monday), I had three guys who wanted to talk to me. As soon as I finished talking to one, another one was standing right there, ready to talk. So I guess the whole process never really ends until February, but I'm used to it.
My top five schools (in order): South Carolina, Clemson, LSU, Georgia Tech, N.C. State.