Tigers, Gamecocks battle for LB

The nation's No. 12 middle linebacker prospect talks about his upcoming senior season, his top schools and much more in this in-depth report.

LB Justin Parker Profile

Since the end of last season Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker has been growing in a big way. In fact, he's grown another inch and a half to 6'2 1/2 and also added a few pounds as well, moving up to 228.

In a recent interview with SCPrepNation.com, he spoke more about his development.

"Without a doubt I feel that every time I'm in the gym or on the field that if I don't give 100% every single time someone else out there is and then I'm letting myself down. When I do that everything else will fall into place," he said.

That tremendous effort of giving his very all shined brightly over the past two seasons.

"As a sophomore I played OLB and had six interceptions. Last year as a junior I played ILB and had 97 tackles while missing 2 games due to an injury."

One game especially stood out in terms of numbers for Parker last season.

"I would have to say the Summerville game last year was my best game. I had 23 tackles, a sack, and three tackles for loss. It was for the region championship but we came up just a little short."

This offseason Parker hasn't been to many team camps yet, but he hopes to change that in the near future with visits to Tennessee, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina.

That aspect may be a big part of the reason why he doesn't hold more offers at this point.

"So far I've just been to the SC Shrine Bowl Combine and a couple of 7-on-7's," he said. "I did okay at the combine but not good enough for my standards. In both of the 7-on-7's our team started slow but we got it going towards the end. I like the improvement that we are making.

"I feel we will have a good year. We lost a lot of players but if we do the things we need to do over the summer we will be where we want to be at the end. My goal for our team is of course win region and always play for each other when we are on the field."

Parker also talked about what he'd like to accomplish on a personal level too.

"My personal goal is to gain the trust of my teammates, and to let them know everytime I step on the field I give everything I got," he said.

That mindset is far from the norm compared to most top prospects when it comes to individual goals but it's sure to open the eyes of college coaches who relish a strong performer who puts the team first and foremost. Looking ahead to college Justin talked about the factors that will indeed weigh heavily in his decision making process.

"The main factor is education. After that it's the relationship with coaches, and playing time. Location is not a factor for me." Justin currently has offers on the table from South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina State, Maryland, Wake Forest, Central Florida, Syracuse, and Vanderbilt. From that group he says the in-state powers are pressing him the hardest currently.

"I would say Clemson and USC are even."

There are a couple of schools that Parker feels may be on the verge of extending him offers in the near future.

"I'd say Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, and Tennessee could be the next schools to offer me," he said.

Still there a number of schools out there that Justin says he'd love to hear a lot more from before too long.

"I would say Florida, Michigan, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Penn State are some schools that I'm highly interested in that I'm not hearing a lot from right now."

Asked to assess the state of his game currently Parker replied, "Right now I would have to say my strengths are my sideline to sideline speed, open field tackling, and my instincts. I'm working hard this offseason on improving my cover skills, my speed, and overall strength to become a better all around player."

As for when Parker might make a final call on his college destination he offered us this statement.

"At this time I feel it will be on Signing Day but if something feels right it could be earlier," he added.

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