It all might seem like a recruiting whirlwind for Parker Stokes. The senior defensive tackle went from a relatively quiet recruitment to a torrential downpour of offers and recruiting interest that eventually led to a commitment to Furman.
Once the regular season ended and his Hudl film was out, the senior’s recruitment began to really pick up. He received offers from Delta State, Valdosta State, Carson-Newman, Lenoir-Rhyne, Savannah State, Navy, Presbyterian and then finally Furman on January 20th. Stokes committed to Furman just a few days afterward on January 23rd, announcing his commitment on Twitter:
— Parker Stokes (@pswizzy_) January 24, 2017
We caught up with Stokes and talked about how it felt to finally be done with the recruiting process.
“Being done with the recruiting process is somewhat bittersweet because I enjoyed getting offers and speaking to coaches and stuff like that but it was also stressful having to evaluate and research each school and try to schedule visits over others. So being done with the recruiting process is also kinda relieving.”
In the month of January, Savannah State, Presbyterian, Navy and Furman offered Stokes, giving the senior FCS and FBS options for the first time in his recruitment. We asked Stokes what it felt like having his recruitment go from 0-100 during the new year.
“I kinda started to accept the fact that I would have to go to the D2 level when I knew I had the ability to play D1 and it was tough, but then once Savannah State offered me and everyone started to roll in. I was all of sudden presented with multiple D1 offers and it become somewhat stressful but also humbling.”
Playing for the Paladins football program was just too big of an opportunity for Stokes. He explained why they had everything he was looking for in a school: “When Furman offered me they immediately were pushed to my top 4. The campus and academics really separated Furman from the other schools because a Furman degree means much more in the work force than other degrees. Also the tradition behind their football program really pushed them over the top.”
The 6’1″, 280-pound senior from Jefferson County should be a great fit in the Furman program. He is a tough player with a violently quick swim move, and he just wreaks havoc in the opposing backfield. Those quick hands in the trenches earned him 73 tackles and eight sacks on the season, which led Class AA defensive tackles last fall.
The Region 4-AA Defensive Player of the Year had a lot of twists and turns in his recruitment. We asked him to look back and provide advice to underclassmen about the college recruiting process. The senior responded with a very mature answer.
“The recruiting process to begin with was very slow and I kinda felt like I wouldn’t get a chance to showcase my talents at the level I could truly play at. I just had to accept where I was with my recruiting and know that God had a plan for me, and if God wanted me to go D2, D3 or JUCO I would, because not everyone’s path is the same. Just stay humble and listen to what all coaches have to offer because you never know where you actually want to go until you visit and do research on that particular school. If you feel you should be a D1 player don’t let that get in your head and keep you from receiving a college education, because football doesn’t last forever but that degree does. Just to sum it up. Always have an open mind and an open heart to all options and never stop working for your dreams. There is always a plan.”
Furman has been racking up commitments from the state of Georgia in this recruiting cycle and especially this weekend. It will be interesting to see but the Paladins should have anywhere between five to 10 commits from the state of Georgia come National Signing Day.