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Gabe Marks and Parker Henry at Pac-12 media day: Plain-spoken Cougs

MIKE LEACH has called nickel back Parker Henry one of the biggest overachievers he’s ever coached. During the Pac-12 media days interview with Henry and star wideout Gabe Marks, Henry pointed to two people he said are most responsible for his work ethic.

“I’ve just tried to work hard ever since I got to WSU, it’s something that’s been instilled in me at a young age. My parents, from Day One, my parents get up at the crack of dawn and they work their butts off every day. If I didn’t do the same, I’d feel like I was letting them down. It’s just kinda been part of my DNA growing up,” said Henry.

When the subject of smart football players comes up, Washington State doesn’t get mentioned enough for Marks’ liking.

“At Washington State, we don’t get credit for our mental (prowess),” said Marks (who looks very different from last year after getting a close-cropped haircut).

Marks also took exception to the idea that the Air Raid doesn’t produce great route runners at wide receiver.

“I don’t know where this stigma about Mike Leach receivers came from, but we have a track record of great receivers that have played in this offense, that are some of the best route runners... I don’t understand that,” said Marks.

Henry was asked about the biggest difference d-coordinator Alex Grinch made his first year at Wazzu. His answer was immediate.

“The culture,” said Henry. “He brought a certain attitude and energy to the defense that was missing in the past. As the spring went on… we started adopting his attitude and his culture and how he attacks every day – we started doing the same. The whole defensive staff and the whole defense has adopted that as our motto: we’re going to attack every day and we’re going to try and attack our opponent every single day.”

Henry said being put on scholie at the end of the 2014 season was especially important to his family given the expense of treating his mom’s multiple sclerosis.

“It’s huge. It’s something my family has had to deal with for a long, long time. The medical bills, the medicine, it’s really expensive. And the scholarship, it’s alleviated them from having to financially help me and take away from her so they’ve been able to focus more on my mom. She deserves every single bit of it. It’s just been a blessing all around.”

Marks also said he didn’t leave for the NFL at the end of last season because he’s not done with what came to Washington State to do.

“The NFL is going to be there… there’s no need to rush into the hard life of the business when you can just get a chance to play college football with your friends one more time and try to win some games. I think it’s a very (underrated) thing, playing college football and how much you’re going to miss it, and I know that… it’s something that you should cherish.”

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