When he was struggling in preseason practice as a true freshman last fall, Clemson offensive lineman Walker Parks turned to his father – like he always has – for support and advice.
“My dad is my hero,” Parks said this week. “My dad is definitely my biggest supporter, and he’s the person that I fall back on. Him and my mom are the people that I always have when things get rough. This is a very hard lifestyle and it’s fun, but it has its ups and downs. My dad’s been through it, so there’s no better person to talk to than my own father.”
Parks’ dad, David Parks, knows what it takes to play major college football, having suited up as an offensive lineman for Kentucky in the 1990s.
David has experienced the peaks and valleys of a season, so when Walker was having a difficult time in fall camp last year after arriving on campus in the summer, he leaned on his father to help him push forward and overcome adversity.
Walker went on to earn freshman All-America honors in 2020, but even when things were going well for him last season, he continued to use his dad as a resource.
“I remember in fall camp, I was getting whooped for the first couple of weeks and everything,” Walker recalled. “I was having a pretty hard time. I was struggling. Even during the season, later on as I started picking up, I’d always call him and let him know how the day went, tell him what I’m struggling with, what I’m working on. He’d send me motivation, he’d send me workout videos, things that I need to work on, things that he’s seeing when he watches the film, and kind of breaking it down for me.”
As Walker prepares to step into a bigger role on Clemson’s offensive line as a sophomore in 2021, he knows his dad will be fully behind him and have his back through the good times and bad.
“I rely on my dad a ton,” he said. “Like I said, my dad’s my rock, so he’s helped me a ton, develop, and he’s still going to help me as the years go on. I’m always going to fall back on him.”
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