Parish looking to make an impact

After receiving a medical redshirt last year, C.J. Parish is ready to go out with an impact.

For C.J. Parish, the opportunity he has this year to make a splash at defensive end for Arizona almost never came. After a concussion knocked him out for his senior season, Parish found himself at a crossroads with his college football career hanging in the balance.

Fortunately for him, Mike Stoops asked Parish back for a fifth senior after granting him a medical redshirt, giving him the opportunity to contribute to the 2011 UA football team.

"I'm very grateful that Stoops brought me back for this year," Parish said. "I thought last year my career was going to be over with and I was going to have to do the Pro Day. I found out that I was going to be coming back this year, and I get to prove myself and help out my teammates like I know I can."

The chance he's been given won't be easy though, as he'll be asked to replace Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore after they exhausted their eligibility. The 6-foot-2, 235 pound defensive end knows exactly how tough the task he's been assigned is going to be to fulfill.

"It's tough to replace guys like that," Parish said. "They're Pac-10 everything, they've got NFL scouts all over them. All you can do is what you can do. What you can help the team out with, what you can help the D-Line out with is all you can do.

"You can't worry about what people did last year. You respect them, you look at what they did and you want to be great like them, but you don't get ahead of yourself. It's a big task, but we're going to be able to do it."

Many surrounding the Arizona program have pinpointed the defensive line as a potential area of weakness for the Wildcats this season and for obvious reasons after the graduation of Reed and Elmore. Parish and his teammates are aware of the uncertainly regarding the group, but insists that it's only bringing them closer together.

"We take it one day at a time," Parish said. "The media will always say something, but what we're going to do is we're going to depend on each other, we're going to work hard every day, and be the best we can be every day."

Despite recording two sacks and three tackles for loss overall in the first scrimmage of the spring, Parish believes there are plenty of elements of his game on which he can improve.

"I think I played okay Saturday," Parish said. "There's a lot of things I need to improve on: my run-blocking, a couple pass plays I should've done something different. I can improve a lot, you can always improve on something."

After appearing on the offensive side as a fullback last year, Parish is excited to be back on the defensive side of the ball in his final season as a Wildcat.

"I love to play defense," Parish said. "I was born to be a defensive player. I'm very excited about being back on defense.
"I played defensive end in high school, played it in junior college, and a little bit here. I just have a better opportunity to play more this year with those two guys moving to the next level."

Back on defense, Parish is entering the season with a defensive attitude and frame of mind, and has his eyes on earning a starting position in 2011.

"I'm going to play with a chip on my shoulder," Parish said. "I have a chip on my shoulder. I still want to get better, I want to learn more and I want to do what I can so I can get that starting position."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories