The Parks Sweepstakes heats up
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008
By Ronnie Gallagher
He’s broken every record known to man in Rowan County, he’s climbing up the state chart, and he’s the MVP of the 35-7 state championship win over West Craven last week in Winston-Salem.
Now, the fun part starts for junior running back K.P. Parks.
He has one season left of running the ball in Mount Ulla. Colleges are going to descend on him in droves, wanting him to sign on the dotted line.
“I’m just going to stay calm,” said Parks, who now has over 7,000 yards rushing in three years.
Parks, who has been an all-county player in basketball, is skipping that sport this season. He has too much on his plate.
Next year starts immediately. Parks is headed to San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American combine, scheduled for Jan. 1-3. The top 500 players in America are invited.
It will be an NFL-style combine, where players will run the 40, do agility drills and vertical jumps.
It concerns West coach Scott Young because Parks has been nursing a high ankle sprain for the past three weeks.
“K.P.’s going to be able to do some things well, like the bench press and vertical jump,” Young said. “I hope his ankle is 100 percent by then, but there’s no guarantees it will be.”
Young said he’d have plenty of highlight films to go along with Parks.
“It will be a good experience for him,” Young said.
Young said Parks will be seen in many different camps and combines.
“Over the summer, we’re just going to have to take a circuit,” he said. “We’ll go to a lot of one-day camps.”
Parks has mentioned Wake Forest as one of his top choices, but there are plenty of others who will bear down on him now.
In fact, Young thinks defensive lineman Chris Smith will also be highly recruited. Wake Forest is interested in the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder, too.
Young would like both to commit before the 2009 season even begins.
“Chris is receiving stuff from Stanford to Notre Dame,” Young said.
“I don’t know yet,” said Smith, a 16-year-old man-child. “Right now, I’m going to play basketball and have fun. I’ll get bigger and see what happens. But it makes me feel good to get a chance to go to the next level.”
There are several Falcon seniors who are tweeners. In other words, they’ll probably be Division II or Division III players.
Young pointed to Marco Gupton as a possible D-I player.
He said Austin Greenwood, Nate Dulin, Kenderic Dunlap, Brantley Horton and Garrett Teeter, among others, could continue their careers. Playing in the state championship game didn’t hurt their chances. College recruiters noticed, Young said.
“A lot of guys come in saying, ‘Coach we want to recruit your kids because they already have a winning mentality.’ ”
Young added, “That goes a long way. Success breeds success.”