Nick Parker

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nick Parker will be wearing a different red and blue when he plays for the Rebels next year.

Parker picks Rebels

By Angie Ledbetter

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Last week South Panola Dandy Dozen running back Nick Parker made verbal, non-binding commitment to play football for Ole Miss.

Parker had an official visit Thursday afternoon with Rebel head Coach Houston Nutt and running back Coach Tyrone Nix. According to Parker, he and his family met with the coaches and discussed every area.  He has another visit scheduled for January 22.

The NCAA forbids coaches and their staffs from commenting on any recruit before the national day of signing.

His first official interview was Friday morning with The Panolian after his visit and decision.

“My visit went really well and I decided to make a verbal commitment to the University of Mississippi to play football,” Parker said. “I have always looked their direction but didn’t make up my mind until Thursday. I kept my options open about other schools because you always have to.”

Parker liked the football program and the way the program is set up, he said.

“I like the coaching staff. Coach Nutt is a great man, not only as a coach but as a people person. The biggest thing that drew me to Ole Miss is they are steadily building and coming on up. They’ve won the Cotton Bowl two years in a row.”

With a huge smile on his face, Parker talked about former teammate Darius “Tig” Barksdale.

“I feel like I will be at home again with Tig being over there and playing with him,” he said. “It will feel good playing with my little big brother again.”

The Rebels have had several South Panola players that experienced great success with their football careers at Ole Miss and Parker is proud of that.

“They have all set an example for me and I guess I will be right at home again. Being closer to home will make it even better for me.”

Some examples are first round draft pick Peria Jerry of the Atlanta Falcons and Jamarca Sanford of the playoff bound Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play college football and I feel like the South Panola coaching staff has prepared me for that. My football years at South Panola have made me what I am. I feel I am well prepared to play.”

Parker was considering other schools, but the proximity to home was one of the major deciding factors for him.

Parker reflected on  his high school years and playing for the nationally-ranked Tiger team.

“It has meant a lot,” he said. “It has gone by so fast and I wish I had another year. People around here treat you like family. The players are just like your brothers and you can’t get any closer than your brothers.”

Losing the state championship last year made Parker realize that losing that game helped the team.

“You can’t under estimate other teams. You go out there and play 100 percent every down,” he said.

Another loss came in the early part of Parker’s senior year to MUS.

“That game felt bad but I think it was a good loss. It woke up the team and motivated us to go win. We didn’t like the losing feeling.”

However, he said that it “felt great to go out on top.”

Parker spoke of the support of the coaching staff at South Panola.

“They’re a great coaching staff and have helped me tremendously,” he said. “They’ve helped me in the classroom and outside of the classroom. Whatever I needed, I could ask them for it and they’d get it for me.”

Parker plans to take his ACT in February and continues to work on his grades. He does not forsee academic eligibility as a problem .