Upon seeing a tweet a few days back asking about Parrker Westphal, we realized that one of the biggest recruits on Michigan’s big board had somehow managed to slip through the cracks. Surprisingly, Parrker has yet to find himself under the BBR microscope that is the QAS. I would like to take this time to remind everyone that if there is a prospect that you would like covered, feel free to leave a comment or tweet us (@BBlueRecruiting). We aim to please our followers, and are always looking for new content to write about.
Parrker is a name that Michigan recruiting fans should be very familiar with. The CB from Bolingbrook, IL (Bolingbrook) has been considered a Michigan lean for months, and appears to be as sure of a get as you can find in recruiting. At 6’0” and 186lbs, Parrker has an ideal frame for the position, and could even drop back to safety at the next level. With this class, the speculation seems to be that Michigan will take at least one, but more likely two players for the secondary. Exceptions could be made though for super-talents such as Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith though, so that will be a storyline to watch throughout the recruiting process. Jabrill Peppers was the first secondary commit, and Parrker could very well be the second.
Along with having a good frame for CB, Parrker has the talent to match it. The 247Sports Composite has him as a 4-star, the 14th best CB, and the 114th best player nationally. Being the 5th best player in the state of Illinois, Parrker has accumulated offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
First off, Parrker, get someone to record your highlights whose not using a flip phone to do so. You’re not making my job any easier.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it. Watching Parrker’s film, I see a prospect that would be a nice fit for two positions: boundary corner and SS. So why those two positions? The primary reason is speed. While Parrker isn’t lacking in speed, he will never have that elite quickness that would allow him to cover top WRs on an island. He isn’t slow, but I could see him getting burned by quicker, shiftier receivers.
The other main reason I see him at boundary CB or SS has to do with what he brings to the table, rather than what he doesn’t. One note that I made while watching his highlight tape was the number of run plays that were on it. For a CB, he offers a great skill set for being effective in the run game. Parrker is impressive at locating the runner, and getting past the blocks that protect him. He is a sure tackler in traffic, and is excellent at bringing down runners in open space. Having him at a position where coverage is less of a concern and the run game is more emphasized would work in his favor. He is a versatile prospect who can make plays on both passing plays, as well as run support.
While it has sounded like it to this point, I really don’t see his coverage abilities as a downside to his game. Parrker has the speed to run with receivers, and is quick on his feet when reacting to cuts. He seems like a natural fit at CB, and does a good job of getting himself in position to make a play on the ball. Having that 6-foot frame gives him better opportunities to get a hand on the ball compared to smaller CBs, and he utilizes that length often on his tape.
If it isn’t apparent yet, let me make this clear, Parrker is an athlete. Everything described above helps showcase his versatility, and we haven’t even gotten to it all yet. He takes kickoffs and punts for his team, and has a deceiving speed and slipperiness while doing so. With Jabrill on board, I don’t see Parrker doing the same (if he chose Michigan) in college, but I would definitely say that he is a threat to take picks back to the house with the ball in his hands. Along with kick/punt returns, Parrker is also on the coverage side of special teams. Here you can see his ability to shed blocks and get to the runner, as well as his knack for laying the wood. Parrker can hit, and he isn’t afraid to do so.
With his experience at a number of positions, including on special teams, Parrker should definitely be pushing for early playing time no matter where he goes. Having that level of versatility, it’s hard to imagine coaching staffs not finding a role for him early on. He has a ceiling of being an all-conference type player, and with the right mentoring, the League isn’t out of reach either.
In my opinion, Parrker is a must have for this 2014 class. He has the skill set and size to play CB or S at the next level, which could answer multiple needs question for a limited size class. It seems the staff wants to take one safety, and the other elite prospects in this class that Michigan are in on (Juju Smith and Montae Nicholson) seem like unlikely options at this point. The recent question seems to be with the Michigan coaching staff though, and not Parrker himself. Rumblings as of late are that Brady and co. have started to cool off on the standout CB. There hasn’t been anything concrete on the situation, so I don’t want to say too much on it, but speculation is that since they already have a boundary CB in Jabrill, they are wanting a field CB to compliment Jabrill on the wings. Once again, take it for what you will, but it would at least explain why the long time Michigan lean hasn’t committed yet. With the offer going out to 2014 CB Brandon Watson, Parrker could feel some pressure to commit before his window closes, so this is a situation to watch closely in the coming months. The BBQ at the Big House should help make this situation clearer when the time comes.
For all the latest on Parrker’s recruitment, as well as Michigan recruiting, stay tuned to Bleed Blue Recruiting. As always, Go Blue!
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