Football spotlight: Keller Fossil Ridge senior finds his place at receiver

Posted Monday, Nov. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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His story: Ryan Parker returned to the gridiron for his senior season after playing only basketball his junior year. He was a two-way player as a freshman and sophomore, getting some time as a wide receiver, but he primarily played at defensive back. This year, as a receiver and special teams player, Parker leads Fossil Ridge with 61 catches for 1,013 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the Panthers’ game Thursday against Southlake Carroll, he hauled in 15 receptions for 205 yards and a score. He also returns punts and kickoffs.

He said: “I didn’t play my junior year because I didn’t think they would let me play the position that I wanted to play. My freshman year, they had me at cornerback, but I wanted to play wide receiver. But I didn’t think they would let me. Me and [quarterback Jacob Gnacinski] developed chemistry in the spring and then 7-on-7. I knew we could be good just based on how we looked in spring ball. I knew what I could do at receiver. It’s been fun. The school has been way more behind football this year. We definitely thought we could beat [Southlake Carroll], and we feel like we can really make a deep run into the playoffs. We feel like we can play with anybody now.”

His goals: Parker would like to play football after high school, and local program TCU is at the top of his list.

Coach Tony Baccarini said: “We always give every kid an opportunity to come out that would like to, and different people talked to him at different times. And I’m not sure how it all happened exactly, but we got him out to some spring practices and went from there. He’s just a very explosive athlete — not only catching the ball, but running after the catch, blocking and also kickoff returns and punt returns. He’s got multiple kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns this year against tough competition.

“Offensively, we have a lot of good people and a great group of receivers overall and a quarterback that can get them the ball. So we find ways to get Ryan the ball to let him do his thing after the catch. As athletic as he is and the skill set he has, if he keeps progressing, he could have a very special year.”

Interesting note: Parker is averaging 17 yards per catch this year and has attempted two passes this season, completing one for 30 yards.

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