William Parks planned all along to take an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh this week. He was planning to just get a look, and get a better feel. He saw all that he needed to see, and decided that Pitt was the right place for him on Saturday.
"(Committing) was a strong possibility, but that's why I came out here; to see what it was like," Parks said. "As I was talking with them, talking with the coaches, they said anything is possible. They all have the same philosophy. I think it's an overall relief that I feel good about. Now I can go home and keep working hard.
"It's everything. The facilities, but going right back there, it felt like home. That's really what it was, and I made my decision this morning."
Parks, a cornerback, chose Pitt over offers from UConn, Temple, New Mexico, Stony Brook and Buffalo. He had taken other unofficial visits to those schools, but had yet to be at Pittsburgh. It may have been the last of his offers that he visited, but it was a clear-enough favorite to be his school of choice.
"It was an unofficial visit, but it just felt like home," Parks said. "I get to go home and not worry about anything but working hard and focusing on my senior season."
As a junior, Parks finished with 70 tackles on defense with five interceptions and a forced fumble. On offense, he finished with 750 yards rushing and another 250 yards receiving. While this Pitt coaching staff is drawn to offensive players who Pitt up big numbers on offense—some of who don't even play defense—Parks has kind of proved their theory by being the every down player in high school, and being drawn to the ball on defense. He also has one other important trait they're looking for in a corner.
"In their defensive scheme, the way they recruited me, they like the fact that I can jam and be a physical, aggressive corner," Parks added. "That's a good feeling. They use cover-three in their scheme, and I can run with it."
There were three other factors that stood out to him on his unofficial visit. One of them is in regards to the coaching staff. He talked about Pitt being a family atmosphere. He also picked up a characteristic that the Pitt coaches have been preaching since they were all hired here.
"The coaches, they are really great guys, and they talk about discipline," Parks said. "That was really what I was looking for. That was what me and my coach were looking for; integrity and character too."
Academics also played a role.
"They had my major," Parks added. "They're one of the top ten schools that have sports medicine. That's what I want to major in. They had all the things I was looking for."
Then, there were the facilities—with one other incentive that stood out to him. He just happened to be in town on the same day that Taylor Swift would be performing at Heinz Field. Obviously the football part came first, but he liked the fact that Heinz Field also draws a big concert as such.
"I like the campus, I like Heinz Field," Parks said. "It was awesome, just awesome. The locker rooms were good. That means a lot to see (the facilities). Taylor Swift was performing, but I guess she wasn't there yet. I was looking for her, but I didn't see her. I went down there, and they said, ‘Taylor Swift is going to be performing,' so I said, ‘Where's she at?' She wasn't here yet."