Two years ago, Justus Parker had just finished his freshman season. The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs had just finished up their 8-2 season, where Justus had patrolled the secondary all season. Parker had gained a reputation as a playmaker and at times during the season looked like he was a man playing among boys. At this time was when Parker made the decision to play Big 12 football and walk on to the Texas Tech football team. Very little was known about Parker, but the coaching staff found quickly thatg he could be something special, took another year until fans could see what Tech and TLU coaches had already seen.
6. Justus Parker, DB (Preseason Rank: NR)
Justus Parker first caught our attention as the 2nd string nickel corner on Tech’s pre-season two-deep. We thought it was strange that a unknown walk-on would make the two deep over more high profile additions during the offseason in the secondary. Parker went relatively unseen until the Kansas game, when he started his turnover streak which included a fumble return for a touchdown.
His got his first start the following week at West Virginia and would start every game afterward. An opening drive interception to set up an early score against Iowa State was a sign of things to come and he continued to show a nose for the football by picking off Baker Mayfield to keep Tech close, at that point in the game.
What gets overlooked by most football fans outside of Lubbock, is some of his best performances were during Tech’s unfortunate losing streak, while everyone in and around Lubbock knew we had found something special in Justus Parker.
Forcing two fumbles against TCU at a point of the game before the Horned Frogs pulled away late and ultimately helping secure Tech’s regular season finale over Texas with a play that will go down for all time in Tech legend.
Welcome to #TexasTech lore, Justus Parker. #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/sH9kTateA3— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) November 25, 2017
No one outside the coaching staff could have foreseen the potential in Justus Parker. None of us gave him a second look earlier this year and he proved us all wrong to become a beloved Red Raider that embodies everything we love about Texas Tech.
Next year, Parker will be going into his Junior season. No reason to think that the next two years will be anything less than spectacular considering his performance this year. However, ultimately this season will be always thought of as his best due to how he arrived on scene and his strong play in some of the biggest situations.
Wtih 9 more returning starters next year, David Gibbs’ new contract and a massive influx of redshirts, getting injured players back, and incoming freshman, this defense has the potential to do some really special things with Justus Parker right in the middle of it.