North Little Rock offensive tackle Curtis Parker doesn’t dwell on what ifs. All he wants to do is work hard and play football.
At 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, Parker has the physical attributes for playing offensive tackle/guard. Add his foot speed and college teams love his skills. If he was only taller, the East all-star in Friday’s all-star football game might be playing in the Southeastern Conference. Instead, he’ll be playing at University of Central Arkansas next year and will experience Estes Stadium at the all-star game at 7 p.m.
"Arkansas really liked him but would have liked for him to be 6-5," North Little Rock Coach Brad Bolding said. "UCA is super excited to get him. He has great feet, but his height was the biggest thing. I’ve not ever seen him get beaten off the edge. He is a great run blocker."
During his sophomore and junior years when he was 6-1 and 6-2, Parker knew that colleges were wishing he would grow three inches taller. Regardless of what was going happen, he kept doing his thing.
"I knew that Arkansas and a lot of schools wanted me to three inches taller," Parker said. "But, it never affected my work ethic, and I kept working hard."
Although Parker has been playing since he was six years old, playing offense is relatively new to him. Up until 10th grade, he played defense. It was during his sophomore year that he started playing offensive tackle.
"My coaches told me I was going to move to offensive tackle," Parker said. "At first it was a shocker and an eye-opener, but I don’t regret it. I wouldn’t be where I am right now."
Bolding believes Parker has a strong chance of starting at UCA. While Parker is not so sure about that, he appreciates the vote of confidence.
"It is good to hear that, but as a freshman I won’t put all my hope on that," Parker said. "Whether I redshirt or not I’m going to work hard. At the end of the day, I will work at getting a spot on the field."
Parker is undecided about his major and will spend the first two years exploring options including the engineering field. He is excited about UCA, and on his recruiting visit was impressed with the coaching staff, facilities and environment.
"He is a quiet guy, and I never had a problem off the field with him," Bolding said. "He’ll thrive in the environment at UCA."