Kettle Run junior Michael Parker has emerged as a bona fide football prospect, with offers from Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Boston College (the first to dangle a scholarship) and North Carolina State.
The question is not only where will he play in regard to school, but where will he play in regard to position.
Because of his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and his 4.6-second time in the 40-yard dash, recruiters have projected him as a defensive end, tight end, strong safety, linebacker and receiver.
“It’s crazy,” Kettle Run Coach Jeff Lloyd said. “You get these guys coming in here, and everybody sees him as something different or projects him as something different. He’s getting better every week.
“To go from a kid a year ago who was just so raw and really needed to be coached and to learn football [and] see him progress is neat. He has some God-given things that you can’t coach.”
Parker last week scooped up a fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown in the Cougars' 20-16 win over county rival Liberty, a game pitting undefeated Fauquier County teams.
The courting of Parker has changed the way Lloyd handles recruiting at the fourth-year school. Lloyd, who coached Manassas Park to a state title in 2004, said he used to not send out film until a player’s junior year. Now he does it earlier.
“I had never had a sophomore recruited,” Lloyd said. “It was a shock to me, but it seems to be the trend now. The word back from recruiters is if they don’t have [offers to them] by the time they’re juniors, they feel they don't have a shot at them.”
Kettle Run junior running back/defensive back/kick returner Joshua Tapscott also is drawing Football Bowl Subdivision interest. The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder returned a kickoff for the winning touchdown against Liberty, his fourth punt or kick return for a score this season.
“I really believe until your senior year they kind of recruit off intangible things that you can’t coach — height, weight and speed,” Lloyd said. “If ‘Tap’ was 6-foot, I think he’d have as many offers as Parker does.”