Relentless rusher

One of the most intriguing prospects at Tennessee's recent O-line/D-line camp was a pass-rushing whiz from the Bluegrass State. Sign in or subscribe now to read all about him.

Each year the NFL Draft underscores that guys who can rush the passer are worth their weight in gold. That makes Brandon Parks a pretty valuable commodity.

Blessed with a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame, 34-inch arms and an explosive burst, Parks recorded "around 20 sacks in 11 games" as a junior at Madison Central High School in Richmond, Ky., last fall. He's interested in Tennessee, as witnessed by the fact he attended and thoroughly enjoyed Saturday's O-line/D-line camp at Neyland Stadium.

"The coaches here are awesome," he said as he left the stadium Saturday evening. "I like the way they taught me to use my hands and use technique. I feel like they know a lot and they can teach me more, take me to a higher level."

Although he has been well coached at the high school level, Parks believes he gained immeasurably from the Knoxville camp.

"I got a lot of experience and a lot of work out of it," he said. "The coaches pushed it to the limit. That was what I liked the most ... that they pushed me to the fullest."

Whether Parks stays at roughly 250 pounds and plays end or bulks up and plays tackle at the college level remains to be seen. He believes he can add 30 pounds without losing his mobility.

"I think I can put on the weight," he said. "I'm working on adding more weight to my body, a lot more muscle."

Asked to describe his style of play, he replied: "I go hard every play. I give 110 percent effort."

Parks' passionate pursuit of opposing quarterbacks is aided by the fact he gets to rest while Madison Central's offense has the football.

"I play defense all the way," he said. "I play nose guard."

That's right. This young man recorded all of those sacks last fall while playing smack in the middle of the defensive line. That suggests he is both aggressive and relentless.

"I like to get after everybody," he said. "I like to get pressure on the quarterback. I had around 20 sacks last year in 11 games."

Asked if he could be a rush end at the collegiate level, he smiled.

"Yeah," he said. "I've got the long arms. I just have to work on my speed."

When asked if he thinks he might be a pass-rush specialist at Tennessee, he shrugged and replied: "I want to play what they think is best for me."

In addition to football, Parks excels in track. He placed sixth in the shot put (50 feet, 1 inch) and ninth in the discus (132 feet, 10 inches) at the Kentucky state meet as a junior.

The Big Orange has enjoyed great success with prospects from Madison County, Ky., in the past. Previously signed from that locale were Craig Faulkner and Luke Stocker. Faulkner averaged 15.5 yards per catch as Heath Shuler's go-to receiver back in the early 1990s, serving as a senior captain in '93. Stocker was a three-year starter at tight end who averaged 13.4 yards per catch on 29 receptions as a senior in 2010 and was picked in Round 4 of the 2011 NFL Draft. He also served as a team captain.


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