Auburn Family Important In Parks' Decision

Auburn's newest commitment Ricky Parks talks about the Tigers while Coach Pete Wiggins discusses his star player.

Hogansville, Ga.--The nation's number two tight end Ricky Parks made his announcement on Friday that he was the latest commitment to the Auburn Tigers, but his decision actually came days earlier. A visitor for Big Cat Weekend, Parks said he felt at that time Auburn was the place for him and he was finally ready to make it known to the world.

"It was very exciting for me," Parks said. "Getting to commit early to a great school like Auburn is big for me. It's great to be an Auburn Tiger and playing with my future teammates is going to be good for me.

"It's because of how big of a family they are. I want to be a part of a big family like Auburn. This year showed how much of a family they are. I want to be a part of something like that."

One of the biggest reasons for Parks' decision was Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Parks said the two bonded on his many visits to the Plains and it culminated on Big Cat Weekend.

"When I was with Coach Malzahn in his office is when I knew I wanted to be an Auburn Tiger," Parks said. "I told him to keep it quiet and I would do it big when I came back home. I actually did it then. He wanted to yell, but he said he would keep it quiet and tell Coach (Gene) Chizik and the rest of the coaches. He said I made his day.

"He's a great coach," he added. "He's going to be like a father figure to me when I get down there. He wants me to play the H-Back position like Philip Lutzenkirchen and move me around. He wants me to play wildcat too. I like the offense."

Parks and his father pose with the Callaway coaching staff.

When you talk to Callaway Coach Pete Wiggins it's easy to tell that Parks is a respected member of his team and has the trust of his coaching staff. With the room filled to capacity and close to a dozen coaches from Callaway present Parks is someone they've come to love as one of their own and Wiggins said Auburn is getting something special with the latest commitment.

"He is a leader on the football field and a leader in our school," Wiggins said. "Throughout the recruiting process it has been easy to talk about Ricky. He carries himself well. He brings an intensity on the field where people around him play harder. That's on the field and in the weight room.

"I've said to many coaches, he's like having another coach on the field for us. His mother and daddy are great people. Ricky has great respect for our school and the teachers here and they all love him. He's going to bring a great attitude and athlete to Auburn University. He'll be a great asset to their program."

Just like many of his future teammates are doing, Parks said he's immediately going on the offensive and trying to make the 2012 Auburn signing class something special. He said fellow Georgians Jaquay Williams and Geno Smith are two of the guy's he's hoping to bring with him to the Plains when signing day rolls around in February.

"That's something that's on my mind," Parks said. "I want to be on a championship team so I know if I can recruit the best players to be a part of things then I'll do that."

When asked what his message was to the Auburn fans that were excited about his commitment Parks only said two words and it's all that was needed.

"War Eagle!"

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