Arizona football notes: Will Parks' next move; QB de-commits - Tucson News Now

Arizona football notes: Will Parks' next move; QB de-commits

Will Parks was front and center of the Arizona defense in 2015 (Photo by Jordan Glenn/Arizona Athletics) Will Parks was front and center of the Arizona defense in 2015 (Photo by Jordan Glenn/Arizona Athletics)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Will Parks is moving on. He's done with Tucson. For the time being, at least. Willy from Philly is now an L.A. kid.

The Arizona Wildcats leading tackler in 2015 quickly moved on after completing his eligibility in the team's 45-37 New Mexico Bowl win over New Mexico on Dec. 19. A few days after that, he headed off to Southern California to pursue the NFL dream, preparing for pre-draft workouts at STARS Sports Training.

"I'm going to go out there and put a lot of work in," Parks said in an interview before the bowl game. "If I'm going to have to get up at 5 in the morning, I can't wait to do that."

Parks, from his Spur safety position, made a team-high 76 tackles in Arizona's 7-6 season. He had seven tackles for loss, broke up seven passes and forced two fumbles. ProFootballFocus.com had Parks as the Pac-12's highest-graded safety.

Parks, listed at Arizona as 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, will get a chance to show his draft worthiness NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 23 from Carson, Calif.

"Just technique," he said of what he wanted to work on after his Arizona days.

"I think that's the biggest thing is getting out of my breaks faster. And speed as well. I can focus on those things a lot more. ... Now that I'm out in the real world, I have to be ready to do whatever I have to do to be technique-sound.

"If you're technique-sound, everything else comes into play."

Maybe the football thing will work out for Parks. Maybe not. But as we enter a new year, wouldn't you love to have his future?

He's been one of the do-it-right guys in his four years at Arizona, and here's a little glimpse at something he did during one of the last days in Tucson. He gathered up three bags of his clothing, loaded them in his car, and drove around after practice to deliver to the homeless.

As he prepares for the NFL Draft, he said he will be finishing the requirements for his bachelor's degree, focusing on social behavior and human development, with a nine-hour internship at the training facility and a three-unit on-line course.

"I'm definitely happy for that," he said.

"I'm going to be the first male in my family to have a college degree. Two of my female cousins have college degrees, but I'm going to be the first man, and that says a lot. With me having a degree, I can set the bar high for my little cousins and little brother than are coming up."

And that makes mom, Nyerere Parks, very happy.

"She's ecstatic," Parks said.

"I mean, she cries every time she sends me text messages -- long text messages -- saying I can't believe you're really out there doing what you said you would do, and proving all the doubters wrong and staying focused and not getting in trouble and being good academically.

"It's a lot of words she brings on me, but she's just proud."

Parks was one of the leaders on the 2015 Wildcats, and he provided two of the season's most viral moments -- his huge hit on Oregon State receiver Jordan Villamin and his oddly hilarious tapping of the ref's shoulder after the overtime coin flip against Utah.

Active in community service, he said he wouldn't mind getting involved in a non-profit group or opening a business in Tucson. But first, football.

Before he left Tucson, he posted this message on Twitter:

"Tucson it's not goodbye it's I'll see you later it's time to focus on this new journey ahead"

* * *

On the same day that Arizona gained a commitment from junior college All-American linebacker Kapri Doucet, it lost a pledge from four-star quarterback Devon Modster.

Arizona is still expecting four-star quarterback Khalil Tate to enroll for the spring semester. Tate, a dual-threat quarterback from Gardena (Calif.) Serra High, passed for 2,036 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, also running for 2,130 yards and 26 touchdowns.

As of now, Arizona will have only three scholarship quarterbacks for next season -- junior two-year starter Anu Solomon, sophomore Brandon Dawkins and Tate. We'll see if the Wildcats add another to compete.

For the 2017 class, Arizona already has a commitment from junior quarterback Braxton Burmeister, a four-star prospect from La Jolla, Calif.

* * *

Offensive linemen David Catalano, who played at Arizona in 2015 after transferring from San Jose State, has written a book, with all profits going toward cancer care for low-income families.

Catalano sat down with Tucson News Now's David Kelly to talk about his writing and his motivation, as well as his days as a state champion while playing for Canyon del Oro High.

* * *

Arizona commit J.J. Taylor, a running back from Corona (Calif.) Centennial High School, was chosen to the L.A. Times' all-area high school team. Taylor is only 5-foot-6, but he's quick and slippery. In four playoff games, he scored 16 touchdowns and rushed for 801 yards.

Taylor finished the season with 2,049 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns.

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