Over the weekend, Kent State received a handful of commitments when players in the signing class of 2018 all visited its campus. At least one of those commitments is somebody that may see the field this year.
“We’re ready to get it on as soon as I get there,” Connor Parks, a defensive end from Orlando, Fla. (Oak Ridge), told MAC Prospectus.
— Connor Parks 3⭐DE (@9connorparks) January 28, 2018
By 247sports.com‘s composite rating, Parks is a three-star prospect with a composite score of 0.8361. The website also lists him at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds (likely measured before his senior season). Over the weekend in Kent, Parks weighed in at 243 pounds.
Parks was a one-time Purdue commit. The defensive end still has only nice things to say Purdue’s coaching staff, players and culture, but he just didn’t feel like he was completely at home, which led to him formally decommifting in late November. Less than a month later, Sean Lewis, who had recruited Parks to come to Syracuse last spring, was hired as the head coach at Kent State.
“I’ve known coach Lewis for a minute now. He used to recruit me in the early spring and we built a pretty great relationship. I believe in his work,” Parks said. Parks added that he felt more at home during the players’ visit, which made him feel like Kent State would be his new home.
“We have a pretty experienced coaching staff. Our linebackers coach, Will Windham, he was the Georgia linebackers coach last year so he’s got a taste of the National Championship — and that’s what it’s all about. … Our defensive line coach (Brian Cochran), when he went to Chattanooga, he turned that whole defensive around,” said Parks.
“Just my leadership alone, not even going to the playing side. I make others want to go hard in practice, make others want to follow my footsteps because I’m hard. I’m ready to compete. I don’t care if you’re 6-foot-8, 400 pounds, I’m still going to compete. Just that leadership role in practice, I’m gonna go hard. Everyday, I’m going hard. In the weight room, I’m going hard. It’s the mental things that I’m ready to be a true freshman.”
Parks also received offers to play at Southern Mississippi, Florida Atlantic, Bowling Green, Colorado State, Mercer, Middle Tennessee, McNeese State and Coastal Carolina.
“It’s time to dominate.”
Parks wasn’t the only one to commit to Kent State over the weekend. Of the five total commitments made, all but one have gone public with their commitments. Players who visited and have since made their commitments public also include: wide receiver Lonkevious McFadden, offensive guard Julian Sams and wide receiver Montre Miller.
— K E K E (@ChiefKevious) January 28, 2018
— BigJu 5️⃣5️⃣ (@AyyJuliann) January 28, 2018
— Montre Miller®™ (@newera_vi) January 30, 2018
That makes for one remaining commitment made, but it’s just not made public yet. Others that visited Kent State include dual-threat quarterback Wyatt Rector (Virginia decommit, also visited Western Michigan), linebacker Matt Harmon, defensive end Parker Devine, defensive tackle Elijah Ratliff, who flipped from Marshall and three others. Devine has since announced his commitment to play for Georgia Southern.
CLASS OF 2018
One more week and kids can start sending their letters of intent in. Kent State only had four early signees so Lewis and his staff had a lot to do in just a couple of months. Here’s what the class of 2018 signing class now looks like, including those who have already signed (in bold) and the more recent commits.
- Javaughn Williams (wide receiver; Cleveland, Ohio; John Hay)
- Craig Elmore (running back; Chicago, Ill.; Phillips)
- Ishmael Robinson (linebacker; Washington, D.C.; Woodson)
- “Woody” Barrett (quarterback; Orlando, Fla.; Copiah-Lincoln CC, Auburn)
- Elijah Ratliff (defensive tackle; Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Reynoldsburg)
- Jo-El Shaw (running back; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Lackawana CC)
- Capone Blue (cornerback; Murrieta, Calif.; Murrieta Mesa)
- Connor Parks (defensive end; Orlando, Fla.; Colonial)
- Lonkevious McFadden (wide receiver; Pahokee, Fla.; Pahokee)
- Montre Miller (wide receiver; Columbia, S.C.; Westwood)