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Red Raider Snapshot: Justus Parker

Posted: July 14, 2017 - 5:21pm
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Justus Parker

Position: Nickel back, safety

Ht./wt.: 6-0, 210

Class: Sophomore

High school: La Vernia

Last year: Parker sat out after transferring to Tech from Division III Texas Lutheran but practiced with the team.

Outlook for 2017: Parker was the surprise of spring practice, going from an unknown to in the two-deep. Douglas Coleman and Parker shared time with the first team at nickel back during the second half of spring ball. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs said Parker also could back up Jah’Shawn Johnson at safety.

Parker walked on at Tech after being a first-team all-conference player two years ago as a true freshman at Texas Lutheran.

“I watched his video,” Gibbs said, “and I honestly said, ‘The guy’s better than most of the guys we’ve got,’ and then when he showed up and worked out … I would have repped him last year if he was eligible.

“To the kid’s credit, he’s gotten better since he’s been here, but (his emergence) is a combination of the guys that were here were just so bad and he made a good decision (to transfer to Tech). Now he’s got to keep learning.”

Former Tech receiver Jonathan Giles, before he transferred to LSU, was asked what defensive backs gave him the most trouble. He named Parker and cornerback Octavious Morgan.

“He does a good job getting his hands on people, being physical and has a knack for the football,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Arkansas transfer Willie Sykes was taking the second-team work at nickel back during the first half of spring practice, but midway through Kingsbury directed Sykes to concentrate on school. Then Parker stepped in.

“He can play safety, too, so there’s some versatility in his game,” Gibbs said at the end of spring ball. “In fact, we didn’t move him to nickel until halfway through the spring, because he was doing so well at safety. But you’ve got to train multiple nickels, because if you don’t and something happens to your starter, then you’re screwed.

“Honestly, he’s been playing better than the other guy, but Doug could go outside and play corner, so it’s a good problem to have. You’ve got some versatility and you’ve got some depth.”

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— Don Williams, A-J Media

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