By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Keuan Parker is considered to be among the top defensive backs in the state.
He showed why when he broke up a pass that helped Booker T. Washington post a 15-13 win over Del City Sept. 4 at S.E. Williams Stadium.
“The key to making that play was to stay locked in and do my part, because it was like the last half-minute of the game,” Parker said. “They were in the red zone, they tried to throw a fade to the bigger receivers and the quarterback likes scrambles, and instead of trying to find the ball, I had to stay on my man, because it was a long play. I just made a play on the ball and helped my team get the win.”
Parker, a 5’11” 165-pound senior, calls that play his most memorable of the season, as of mid-September when the Hornets were 2-0 and ranked third in the Class 6AII poll coming out of an off week.
“A lot of people on our team were kind of banged up from the week before,” Parker said of the off week. “We got to get our bodies back right and compete against each other as a team and make each other better. We need to gel back together and get ready as a team, so we were thankful for the week off. Now it’s back to work.”
Back in the summer, Parker verbally committed to Arkansas.
“I feel like it’s a place I can call home the next five years of my life,” he said.
Parker felt comfortable when he visited the Fayetteville campus.
“It is not too far from home. I can always contact my mom, my brothers and sisters. I feel like I have a great relationship with cornerbacks coach Sam Carter,” Parker said. “And (Head Coach) Sam Pittman, he’s from Oklahoma and has ties here. He wants to get the recruiting pipeline of Oklahoma to Fayetteville going, and I want to be a part of it.”
Parker chose Arkansas over Baylor, Kansas, Nebraska, UNLV and Michigan State.
What he believes helps make him successful is hard work.
“I push myself to get better every day,” Parker said. “I’m not really satisfied, no matter how much work I put in. I don’t pay attention too much to the rankings. I just try to be the best I can be and it shows on the field.”
In 2019, Parker made 45 tackles, 14 pass breakups and had two interceptions.
“The key to that is just doing what I know I can do, believing in myself and being confident and making plays like I know I can,” he said.
Being physical, hitting and winning as a team are the most exciting elements of the game of football for Parker.
When it comes to favorites from the NFL, he likes to watch Tyrone Matthew of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jeff Okudah of the Detroit Lions. He also likes watching old highlights of the legendary Deion Sanders. “I try to see what they do, try to compare myself to them and add what they have to my game,” Parker said.
When he is out on the field, Parker does what he can to help his team to get the win. “Throughout the whole game, that’s what I think about and run to the ball no matter what,” he said.
Knowing that he has a place in the BTW athletic legacy is special, he said.
“It means a lot to me,” Parker said. “It also means a lot to everybody else on this team right now. The people who came through here before us, it is crazy to think that we’re playing behind them. It’s an honor to all of us and we have a historical building right there across the street, where there’s a room full of jerseys and accomplishments. It’s crazy to even think about.”
Parker and his teammates have one thing in mind as the 2020 season plays out.
“We’re going to win the gold ball,” Parker said. “That’s always our goal as a team. We know we can do it, we just got to do what we can do to do it.”
In closing, Parker said, “Go Hogs,” and “Go Hornets.”