Parker no stranger to perseverance

The next several months figure to be physically and mentally challenging for Brandon Magee as he rehabs following surgery to his torn Achilles. One source of support he should seek out is fellow ASU linebacker, Colin Parker, who had to battle his own physical adversity. It is certainly an experience that Parker can draw upon as his unit prepares for a season without their injured teammate.

Colin Parker didn't attempt to minimize the impact Brandon Magee's injury last Saturday had on the linebackers and the defense as a whole. The senior admitted that losing a gifted player and an undeniable leader was a bitter pill to swallow in the hours immediately following the injury.

"When we had our team meeting after the scrimmage, I was expecting to hear that news (about Magee)," Parker recalled. "You never want to see anyone go down for the year, especially a senior. He had a chance to play baseball and he came back for the team. It's difficult to think that something like this happened to him."

Nonetheless, Parker was optimistic that the team could overcome this setback.

"We got depth and we got people that can step up," said Parker. "Now we just have to do it as a group and come out and make plays. We do have very versatile linebackers and an injury shouldn't set us back that much. Shelly (Lyons) went down last year and I feel that as a group were able to pick up the pieces and kept on moving.

"We will have to do the same thing like last year."

Parker indicated that since his duties were regulated to boundary linebacker that he would not be replacing Magee who played the field linebacker role and that those duties would fall upon seniors Shelly Lyons and Oliver Aaron, as well as sophomore Anthony Jones.

"It's gonna be a battle between all of them all throughout camp," said Parker.

Ironically the day Magee was injured also marked arguably the best session the defense has had in fall camp, a fact that is encouraging for Parker and his teammates.

"Right now we are playing well," Parker stated. "We are playing at about the level we expect to play at this point at camp. But we still have to improve and there a lot of things for us to work on. I think we will get it all done in the two weeks we have left here."

The 6-1 223 Parker had his best year to date as a Sun Devil in 2010 as he collected a career-high of 57 tackles (three for loss), which ranked fifth on the team that year. The former Chandler Hamilton player had to miss the tail end of his junior season for the Huskies as well as his entire senior campaign due to two ACL surgeries.

Parker was far from being 100 percent healthy when he reported to the Sun Devils and had to work diligently his first couple of years in Tempe just be healthy enough to get meaningful reps in practice.

The linebacker, who played safety in high school, can certainly appreciate the progress he has made even from last year, let alone the beginning of his ASU career.

"Honestly, last year was a huge confidence booster for me," Parker confessed. "I really haven't played a lot at linebacker before last year. So, to go out there and play the way I did, being assignment sound gave me a great building block to start this season.

"This fall camp is night and day from last fall camp. Last year I was trying to get as many reps as I could and this year I know I can legitimately push for a starting spot. I know the system a lot more and I have a year of game experience. That has been a big difference."

Parker confessed that he is amazed at all the progress he made throughout his Sun Devil tenure and that the journey has been "extremely satisfying."

The linebacker is a Sun Devil legacy, the son of former ASU and NFL star Anthony Parker, who played cornerback for ASU from 1984 to 1987. The senior has naturally been a source of pride for his family and they will be intently following him in person during his last seven home games at Sun Devil stadium this fall.

"It's coming up real quick and it's hard not to think about it," Parker stated. "This season will be a little different. Hopefully I will be coming in as a full-time starter and getting to play in front of everybody I love every week.

"I have been thinking a lot about senior night and how crazy that is going to be. It all went by so fast and it's weird looking back at it."

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