Two-sport Duck wants to break out as senior reciever
EUGENE, Ore. -- Given the choice between the Olympics and the NFL, Oregon track star and receiver Samie Parker says he'd take both.
Brimming with confidence, Parker is out to prove that he'd be worthy given the option. He'll start next Saturday when the Oregon Ducks open their football season at Mississippi State.
"I know everybody around the country, they've never heard of me, so that kind of fires me up, too," he said. "So I'm going out there and trying to make an impression and letting people know, that I'm here."
Parker first gained attention on the football field as a sophomore, when he caught nine of Joey Harrington's passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in Oregon's 38-16 Fiesta Bowl victory over Colorado.
Last season, he was the team's leading receiver with 49 catches for 724 yards and eight touchdowns -- while most of Oregon's opponents keyed in on senior Kennan Howry.
Howry wrapped up his career at Oregon with a school-record 173 catches for 2,698 yards.
But after winning their first six games last season, the Ducks lost six of their final seven. The season ended on a low note with a 38-17 loss to Wake Fores in the Seattle Bowl.
When Parker wrapped up spring football drills, he joined Oregon's track team, where he bloomed despite an abbreviated schedule.
Parker recorded the school's second-best time in the 100 meters at 10.18 seconds. He went on finish third in the Pac-10 100 meters before placing fifth in the NCAA championships.
Parker thinks he can do better, although much of his time has been devoted to his first love, football.
"What I did last year, with the minimum training that I had, kind of shocked people. They didn't know what I could do. With more training -- a couple coaches, my coach here, my high school coach -- think it would be a good idea. Then I can always tell my kids or put on my resume that I went to the Olympic Trials and did whatever. So I think I'm going to go out there and give it a shot next year."
Football, however, remains his main focus, both for this year and beyond.
"I've got a goal for myself, approximately 65 catches, plus 1,200 yards, 12 TDs, something in that area," he said. "I think it's possible though, just because of the type of player I am. After I catch the ball, I like to make something happen with it."
He knows the dream of both getting noticed by the NFL and competing at elite track levels is something of a longshot. Parker says a future in football is probably more realistic at this point.
"A lot of teams love the speed," he said with a smile.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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