Blue Springs High School lineman Daniel Parker has really been making a name for himself as of late.
During the 2016 season, he was one of four finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the best lineman or linebacker in the Kansas City area.
He’s also received offers from 11 different NCAA Division I Power Five conference schools, including Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Kentucky, along with smaller schools Missouri State and Northern Illinois.
That’s already a good load of offers.
There’s now a chance for even more. The three-star recruit showcased his talents at the Rivals 3 Stripes Camp in New Orleans and he impressed last weekend. So much so, that he was awarded the Defensive Line MVP award.
“I felt like the underdog coming in because I was from Missouri,” Parker said. “All these other kids were from Louisiana and Houston, so I didn’t think I was going to get it. But I just came in and do what I do, and that’s compete.”
He was in the camp with some of the top high school talents from the southern region of the U.S., including talent-rich Texas and Louisiana. They participants competed in agility and cone drills. Then coaches worked with each prospect individual before going to one-on-one contact drills.
Parker, who is a defensive and offensive lineman for the Wildcats, competed as a defensive lineman and fared very well against the offensive linemen, often using his speed to get around them and hit the pad behind them during contact drills.
“I did pretty good. I lost two reps, one was to an LSU commit – he was pretty strong,” Parker said. “Plus I don’t normally play D-tackle so he got me out of my position. The rest of the time I felt good on D, smacking some kids around.
“Sometimes they would try to block me and I would go outside of them or fake outside and go inside. A lot of kids were too slow on their feet.”
Even after Parker’s impressive performance, he was not invited to the Rivals Five Star Challenge, but he still feels he was able to show what he could do, which in turn possibly boosted his recruiting stock.
“Some people might see getting the Defensive Line MVP as not a big deal because I didn’t get a Five Star invite,” Parker said. “But I don’t care. I got the MVP, so I was the best defensive lineman there.”
In the Kansas City area, Parker has proved that he’s among the best both on offensive and defensive line. After initially being recruited as a defensive lineman, a couple of months ago,
Parker announced on Twitter that he was going to look to be recruited as an offensive lineman.
Currently, he is unsure what position he wants to play in college. At the end of the football season, Parker weighed 275 pounds. But he also is a basketball player for the Wildcats and he lost 30 pounds during this season. Right now he’s 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, measurements that are more suited for a defensive lineman. After his senior football season, Parker plans on making his decision on where he’ll play in college.
“I am going to take the best offer that I like,” he said. “If there is a school that I really like, that’s where I’ll go. Either on offensive or defensive line. Right now, I don’t really know.”
If you ask Blue Springs offensive line coach Joel Page or defensive coordinator Derek Wilson, Parker will be a strong contender for playing time regardless of which position he plays in college.
“He’s going to be a national recruit on either side of the ball,” Page said. “He was pretty fast at 275 as well. Most colleges will want him at 275 or bigger. If he plays on the defensive line, he’s going to play at about 300 pounds and will play an inside position. If he plays on the offensive line, he’ll be a guard or a center. He will be very successful at either one. Playing as an offensive lineman helps him on defense because he understands what a blocker will do. He’s going to be in the conversation for first-team all-state next season.”
Last season, Parker earned all-state honors playing mostly on the offensive line, but Wilson anticipated that the junior will be contributing a lot more on defense next season.
“Daniel had an amazing winter,” Wilson said. “He’s gotten faster and significantly stronger. We don’t often have guys who play both ways, but Daniel is one of those very special talents – kind of like Carlos and Khalil Davis were a couple of years ago. Daniel is so big and so skilled, we would be foolish not to use him on both sides of the ball.
“In 2006, I got to travel to Orlando for the Under Armour National All-Star game. In that game, were Maurice and Maurkice Pouncey,” he added of the brothers who are now NFL standouts with the Dolphins and Steelers. “They were on the offensive line against two kids I had in the game. And that’s who (Daniel) reminds me of. I remember how long and athletic the Pounceys were, and that’s what Daniel reminds me of.”
So Parker will have the chance to help Blue Springs get redemption for last season, in which the Wildcats lost to Kirkwood in the Class 6 state championship game. He also wants to get the Buchanan Award, an honor he feels he’ll be battling for against friend and William Chrisman senior defensive lineman Daniel Carson, who is also receiving multiple Division I offers.
“I am not going to let anyone beat me for that," Parker said. "I’m getting it this year."