Highly Sought After 2014 DB Parrker Westphal Confirms, â€œMichigan State definitely has a legitimate shot!â€
Every so often, a greatly talented, yet humble, high school football recruit emerges. In todayâ€™s promotional world, boasting and emphasizing your talents is encouraged, so that you can get scholarship offers from the best programs. Parrker Westphal, one of the best cornerback recruits in the nation, rejects this stereotype.
A humble young man from Bolingbrook, Illinois, Westphal has amazing potential. Known for his speed, the growing student-athlete can also lay down crushing hits. Watching him fly around the field and throw wide receivers down like ragdolls is pure joy for any football fan. Coaches from around the nation have experienced similar delight, and thus have offered him a chance to play for their programs. All the while, Westphal has not allowed the jubilation and hype to go to his head. He ignores all the noise and somehow manages to stay grounded. He credits much of his ability to his coach and his brother.
â€œI just work hard. I give most of the credit to my big brother [Brandon] and my coach, Todd Howard. He [Howard] played in the league for a couple of years and heâ€™s just given me everything heâ€™s learned. Heâ€™s passed down all the information, all the knowledge heâ€™s gained over the years.â€
The humble, young recruit with great talent recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio to talk about Michigan State and his recruitment.
Clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-meter dash, it is no wonder that Parrker Westphal has garnered so much attention. College coaches crave speed, because in the words of the late Raiders owner Al Davis, â€œYou canâ€™t teach speed.â€ But pair Westphalâ€™s quickness with his propensity for delivering bone-rattling hits, and it suddenly makes sense why the youngster has accumulated over 20 scholarships offers.
Included in the schools displaying interest are Michigan State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan and Florida. All long for a lockdown corner like Westphal who can thrive in any coverage scheme. Coaches from sea to shining sea long for a defensive back who plays with the hunger and drive that Westphal does. All look for a corner who loves helping in run support but also stays true to coverage responsibilities. Westphal will have quite a college decision to make.
Among the many programs in the mix, Michigan State offers Westphal a place to learn, grow and possibly develop into an NFL safety. Though this doesnâ€™t cause Westphal to immediately put MSU at the top of his list, he does appreciate the possibilities. â€œI feel like the NFL finds you wherever youâ€™re at. I feel like the potential that you have and you create [matters]. It depends on the player if he wants to go or not. If I work hard then Iâ€™ll get there. So itâ€™s not really on the coaches. But the defense they run, they put the player in a position where they can play,â€ Westphal said.
One man who can impart NFL knowledge on the youngster is Harlon Barnett. A seven-year NFL veteran, the hard-hitting safety earned the nickname â€œDa Bang Stickâ€ for his physical play at Michigan State and in the pros. â€œHeâ€™s very down-to-earth. I can have a conversation with him like a friend,â€ Westphal said. â€œWe joke around a lot. We donâ€™t really talk much football. He was All-American in college. Iâ€™ve seen a couple of his highlights on YouTube, him knocking somebody out. Heâ€™s a real cool dude.â€
In addition to the Spartan coaching staff, Michigan State has another person helping to sway Westphalâ€™s decision: fellow highly-touted class of 2014 recruit and MSU commit Enoch Smith Jr. The two are close friends and grew up not too far away from one another. â€œHeâ€™s been trying to get me to turn Green ever since he committed,â€ Westphal said. â€œHeâ€™s always in my ear. Heâ€™s real friendly. We talk every now and then.â€ However, potentially playing alongside Smith at MSU â€œwouldnâ€™t affect my recruitment that much,â€ Westphal said. â€œBut it would be cool playing alongside of a friend. Especially on defense, we tag team. He gets the sacks, I get the interceptions and help each other out.â€
Countless big-time programs have offered Westphal scholarships, but Michigan State is still very much in the race. â€œMichigan State definitely has a legitimate shot,â€ Westphal affirmed. The senior at Bolingbrook High School also added, â€œIâ€™d been on campus last yearâ€¦for spring practice, but I plan on hopefully getting down there with Enoch the next time he visits.â€
In regard to his timeline for making his final decision, Westphal explained, â€œIâ€™m just going to go whenever it feels comfortable because I donâ€™t really have a set date. Whenever I know itâ€™s right, because I donâ€™t want to regret my decision.â€
Should Westphal decide that the Green and White suits him, he will share a significant bond with Barnett. Both play with a physicality rarely seen from defensive backs. Barnett could help Westphal use his 6â€™1, 186 pound frame effectively. But one has to wonder: where did Westphalâ€™s physicality come from in the first place?
â€œItâ€™s probably from him [my older brother] bullying me when I was younger and just seeing him. He gave a couple of his defensive backs in high school some concussions,â€ Westphal said. â€œJust donâ€™t be afraid to throw your body around.â€ The eldest Westphal, now a senior linebacker at Illinois State, taught Parrker much more than how to hit. â€œIâ€™ve always had a five year head startâ€¦heâ€™s 22 now,â€ the younger Westphal said. â€œIâ€™ve always had the over-training the other kids probably didnâ€™t have. Thatâ€™s probably my biggest benefit.â€
The Westphals are a close family. Parrker considers himself blessed. â€œMy family just emphasizes family first. So thatâ€™s my main focusâ€¦family.â€ His family has helped Westphal stay grounded throughout the recruiting process, not allowing him to get too high or too low. His strong family will certainly help him even more as he navigates the often treacherous waters of deciding on a school and adjusting to a new environment.
Wherever Parrker Westphal ends up, the humble young man from Bolingbrook, Illinois has the potential to be a star at the college level and beyond. With blazing speed and a physical style of play, Westphal has the essential God-given ability to do special things. Hopefully for Spartan Nation, he chooses to do great things in East Lansing. â€œRight now I still donâ€™t see that Iâ€™m the best player in the country yet,â€ Westphal said. â€œItâ€™s always been my goal to win the Heisman and Iâ€™m not there yet, so Iâ€™m not satisfied.â€