Fortius Spotlight: Onias Parks
A large contingent of Northwest Rankin players made their way to MRA on Saturday morning to compete in the second Fortius Project of the Spring. After three guys from Provine took home medals on March 5th, the Cougars followed that up by doing the same this weekend. However, the entire group of players from Northwest Rankin were impressive and each one performed well enough to be named to the All-Combine team.
For junior Onias Parks, it was an especially special occasion. After spending last season in a reserve role behind the talented Jalen Hoover, the camp provided him a platform to showcase what he can do. He took full advantage of the opportunity.
“The camp was a great experience. I felt like I showed off a little of how our offseason has paid off for me as a member of the team and for me as a player and individual,” Parks told SES Mississippi.
“My favorite part was the 5-10-5 drills. It’s a lateral quickness drills and it’s always a good feeling when you can be a linebacker and clock a good time in that drill.”
All day long during the camp, Parks was a big source of entertainment, not only for me, but for many of his peers. He always seemed to have something witty to say, or an encouraging word for a fellow competitor. Coming out of his shell is a process that he is undergoing this offseason not. Not only in personality, but also with his work towards a new role that will showcase him.
After playing behind Jalen Hoover, who made All-Combine at the Fortius Project on March 5th, this Fall Parks is looking forward to coming out. This will be his season to show what he has to offer at outside linebacker. He says coverage skills and blitzing ability is what sets a guy apart at that spot, and he feels those areas are strengths for him. Stopping the the run is also crucial, another area in which he feels proficient.
From Hoover, he has learned to always give it all he can, even though the situation may seem bleak. Also to play with more heart than the guy lining up in front of you.
“Playing a reduced amount isn’t fun. It pays off when it’s your time. My time has come,” He said. “I’m going to do everything in my will to step up and be a role player for my team, my coach and the 10 brothers that playing alongside me.”
Parks echoes the sentiment for his teammates that many of the players from Northwest Rankin share. They have bought into what their coaches have preached to them about family and unity as a team. With the talented players on the roster and their will to win and unite as one, the Cougars are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
“We are expecting to go further than we have ever gone. We expect to be above the line when it comes to being just an average team,” Parks said.
Beyond next season the talented defender is unsure where he will continue to play football, but he is determined to do so. Wherever that may be. He just wants to continue to play the game he loves so dearly.
“I’m working hard every day and having that ‘one more rep’ mentality. I plan to set more training days. My expectation are to get noticed whether its by junior college, division two or division one,” Parks explained.
There are many answers to the question “why” when it comes to the reason Parks plays and loves football. He often uses those “whys” to drive him closer and closer to his goals.
“My answer to why I play this game or why do I love this game or even why do I dedicate my life to this game is because God blessed me with this talent,” He offered. “I’m going to use this to be a blessing to my family, the young guys that look up to me and last but not least my community. I want to be able to bless his kingdom and be able to have light and his word show brightly through me.”
Having learned from Hoover and others before and around him, he also encourages the younger guys that look up to him to do the same.
“Being able to take tips and pointers from older guys will not only help you in football, but in life as well,” he tells them.
“In order to be a good leader you have to be a good follower.”
Parks is considering a return trip to the Fortius Project when it stops at ICC on April 30th.