Ex-Narbonne safety Parker finds home with Huskies
CULVER CITY, Calif. – Steve Sarkisian was asked how he gets players from the Southland to matriculate to the Pacific Northwest. The Washington head coach said he merely needed to get the kids on a plane.
"Once they get there they realize how great of a place it is," Sarkisian said.
Exhibit A: Former Narbonne safety Sean Parker.
Rewind to Signing Day 2010. Parker was hosting a 7 a.m. press conference in which he was expected to announce his college choice on national television.
It was perceived to be a done deal. Parker would announce his intentions to go to USC to reunite with his best friend and former Narbonne teammate, Byron Moore Jr., in the Trojans defensive backfield.
However, once the announcement was made, those in attendance were stunned. Parker picked up a UW hat.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Parker said of his Signing Day ceremony. "Everybody thought I was going to 'SC or Michigan. People had their opinions, thinking I was going to go there, but when I picked up the Washington hat, I knew it was for real."
Seattle provided a welcome getaway even if it meant going in a different direction than his best friend. That didn't affect their relationship, and they're still as close as ever.
"We talk every day," Parker said of Moore Jr., who's now a defensive back at the University of Tennessee.
When it came time for another Gaucho to make his college decision, Parker made sure he was there to help class of 2013 quarterback Troy Williams. Parker wanted to make sure, as best he could, Williams' situation didn't end up like his.
Sure, he wanted Williams to join him in Seattle, but he also knew he needed to give Williams the space needed to make his own decision.
"I kept it in his ear when I (could) but I was always the one telling him 'At the end of the day, I'm happy with wherever you go,' " Parker recalled. "But, when he made the choice to come with us, I was even more joyful."
That mature perspective is a huge reason Parker is now the unquestioned leader of the Huskies defense. Now approaching his senior season, Parker is entering his third year as starting safety for the Huskies.
He was second on the team with 77 tackles in 2012, and some draft experts noted the hard-hitting, 5-foot-10 190-pound safety could possibly be the best NFL prospect among Washington's seniors.
Parker loves the position he's in and Sarkisian hit the nail on the head.
The safety "fell in love" with the Washington campus and hasn't looked back.