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Versatility defines Ricky Parks

5/27/2011

HOGANSVILLE, Ga. -- You have to love a good nickname. For Ricky Parks it's short, sweet and to the point.

Around Callaway High School they call him "Sticky Ricky."

"I love my nickname," Parks said. "Going into my sophomore year we went to a team 7-on-7 at Alabama and on the way home my coach started calling me 'Sticky Ricky.' I had a great tournament and caught everything. I guess it stuck."

Parks, 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds, is an ESPNU Watch List member at tight end and is one of the most athletic recruits in the country. He started at quarterback last season.

"That was a lot of fun," Parks said. "I like everything about playing quarterback. If I could play that in college I would. That's up to the coaches. I know I could at least do some Wildcat things. I have a good arm and can see the field well. I can also get out of trouble and extend a play."

Parks passed for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 675 yards and 12 TDs. Still, he's best served playing tight end, where he's a dynamic threat wherever he lines up.

"First off, Ricky has great character," Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. "He's humble and has a plan to be successful. He works hard each and every day in the classroom, the weight room and on the field. As a player, he's physical, has great size and can really run. He's also versatile and runs good routes.

"He catches everything and that's why we have called him 'Sticky' since he got here. He's a guy that can play H-back, flex out or line up next to the tackle. Ricky can block. He can do it all."

Parks concurred.

"I think I can fit in just about anywhere," Parks said. "I can be a flex guy or H-back. I can line up next to the offensive tackle and block. I think I can do it all at the position. I have that kind of versatility."

Parks has some serious upside. ESPN's director of recruiting Tom Luginbill calls him one of the most versatile and intriguing prospects in the 2012 class.

"There is no questioning Parks' ability level," Luginbill said. "The only question is where to play him and that is a good problem to have. Wide receiver, safety, outside linebacker or even tight end are the positions he can play. His blend of skill and ideal measurables make for a coveted prospect at the BCS level."

While his physical attributes are as good as they come, Parks brings something else big to the table, and that's leadership.

"Ricky is like having another coach on the field," Wiggins said. "When you have a player like him that demands so much from his teammates in regards to work ethic and getting the best out of everyone, that means so much to a football team. That's what he brings to this team and this school. He has so much leadership and character."

Now the big question is who will land Sticky Ricky? Parks has it narrowed to three schools -- Georgia, Alabama and Auburn. For him, they are all on equal footing. He knows the coaches, knows the schemes and has visited all three campuses.

"All three are dead even," Parks said. "I have been to all three schools multiple times and I can't separate them. I have had a great time at all three places and I love all those coaches. I feel comfortable at Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. I would love to commit before the summer ends but if I need to extend the process to figure it out I will."

Unricky Parks, Ricky's father, says one team has to emerge.

"We are hoping to come up with a decision before the season," his father said. "That would put his mind at ease. But this is hard. We are going to see all three places again this summer. They are all even and we are looking for one team to have that edge."

The younger Parks has some factors in mind that ultimately will help him decide.

"Playing time is important so I am looking at the depth charts," Parks said. "The coaching staff is important as well as the overall atmosphere and environment. I feel like I can adapt well to all three, but I have to pick one in the end."

Parks has a younger brother, RickTez, who is a quarterback and a member of the class of 2014. Already 6-2 and 180, he will be the next in line for the Parks family.

"He's going to be a special talent," Wiggins said. "And he will be 6-3, 6-4 before it's all said and done. Tez can run and has a lot of great skills."

For now, RickTez is known as Tez. Maybe after next season, when he takes over for his brother as Callaway's quarterback, they can find a more original and appropriate nickname.