All-class player of the year: QB Parks leads Griffin to historic season

Quarterback Jaquez Parks led Griffin’s history-making state championship team. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Quarterback Jaquez Parks led Griffin’s history-making state championship team. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Jaquez Parks is more likely to wind up in the Ivy League than the ACC or the SEC. He’s not a five-star recruit. He’s just a record-setting quarterback on Griffin’s history-making state championship team.

‘’It doesn’t bother me, but I’ve wondered about it,’’ Parks said of his status as a college recruit. ‘’It motivates me to show what I can and that I could be that (five-star) player even though they’re not looking at me like that player.”

Parks is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-classification state player of the year, an honor that typically goes to a player headed for big-time college football. Recent winners include Alvin Kamara, now at Alabama and Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss.

Griffin rallies around QB after game-day burglary

AJC 2013 all-state football teams

AJC 2013 all-metro football teams

None meant any more to his team than did Parks, who guided Griffin to a 15-0 finish and its first state championship since 1978. Parks passed for 3,640 yards and rushed for 1,329. He had a hand in 45 touchdowns.

In the state championship game, a 56-35 victory over Carrollton, Parks state a state-finals record with 554 yards from scrimmage – 338 passing and 216 rushing.

‘’Great choice,’’ Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague said of Parks’ selection. “Smart decision-maker, 1,000-yard rusher, 3,000-yard passer. What more can you ask of a quarterback?”

Griffin’s hardest victory came in the quarterfinals against No. 1-ranked Sandy Creek, the defending Class AAAA champion. Parks struggled for much of it but completed eight of nine passes for 125 yards in the fourth quarter, when Griffin erased a 26-17 lead in the final seven minutes and won 32-26.

‘’We held him in check for 41 minutes, but he wouldn’t let his team quit,’’ Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker said. “He was definitely what made Griffin what they were. Without him, I don’t think they were anywhere close to being as good a team.’’

That Parks’ college prospects are no higher remains a mystery. Harvard and Yale have shown interest, although it’s more likely he’ll wind up at Air Force or Kennesaw State.

It isn’t size. He’s 6 feet, 200 pounds, according to his coach, Steve DeVoursney. It isn’t academics. Parks said he has a 3.8 GPA.

And he’s fast. Parks has run on Griffin’s 4×100 relay team. He also runs hurdles and competes in the long jump, high jump and triple jump. He’s a point guard in basketball. His father, O.J. Parks, was a member of Griffin’s 1988 state championship basketball team.

DeVoursney put Parks in charge of his spread offense in the 10th grade. Griffin is 33-5 in the three seasons since. DeVoursney calls Parks’ presence the X factor in an offense that averaged 42.7 points per game.

‘’We spread the field so much, and he’s so good at finding the open receiver whether they’re running deep, standing on the sideline or in his face,’’ DeVoursney said. ‘’To protect against that, you’ve got to drop everybody in zone, and if you do that, he’s like a running back with the ball. If he sees a crease, he’s going to take off on you.’’

Griffin twice burned Carrollton with touchdown passes against blitzes. With 2:52 left, Parks got loose on a 73-yard run that put the game on ice and Parks in the record books as the first player ever in the state finals with more than 500 yards from scrimmage.

Parks believed it came from hard work and doing what he does best. ‘’Which is taking what the defense gives me,’’ he said. ‘’It was really an unbelievable game. I knew I could do it, but it’s still hard to imagine that I did.’’

21 comments Add your comment

Mayor Kasim Reed

December 27th, 2013
10:39 am

And this is BREAKING NEWS, why?

dre

December 27th, 2013
10:48 am

breaking news?

William Jones

December 27th, 2013
11:27 am

It’s breaking news because of what this young man and his family has gone through shortly after representing his city by winning a championship. Not to mention Griffin runs deep through out this State. Besides many fans, supporters, NFL players (of which no city can boast of having more NFL Talent born from their city) He is a great picture of a young bright athlete who never got the big head that has warmed the hearts of several movie stars as well as other stars who have visited this young man to encourage him. So I hope you can understand why like him and many others I proudly say,” WE ARE GRIFFIN”

DOD

December 27th, 2013
11:30 am

6′ 0″. News flash – it *is* his size.

DawgSinceBirth

December 27th, 2013
11:40 am

William Jones: I TOTALLY agree….and I am NOT from Griffin…I do coach high school football in Class AAAA though…..He is what is RIGHT about high school football!!!!! Good luck to him and y’all ought to be VERY proud of him!!!!

Also….being a HUGE Georgia fan…these are those “type” of kids we MISS out on…he would probably give his left arm to play for the Dawgs…..but we won’t go after him because he’s NOT “rated” high….oh well…

Bearman

December 27th, 2013
11:43 am

@So called Kasim Reed,
Are you jealous!!! Of course all your breaking news is crap anyway!
What’s your “MARTA” story today!

Rick Toland

December 27th, 2013
11:48 am

I have watch 50 years of high school football and Parks is the best all around player Ive ever seen. He played QB, punted, holder on field goals and extra points also played some DB. Great reward for this young man.

Keeno

December 27th, 2013
11:50 am

“It’s breaking news because of what this young man and his family has gone through shortly after representing his city by winning a championship. Not to mention Griffin runs deep through out this State. Besides many fans, supporters, NFL players (of which no city can boast of having more NFL Talent born from their city) He is a great picture of a young bright athlete who never got the big head that has warmed the hearts of several movie stars as well as other stars who have visited this young man to encourage him. So I hope you can understand why like him and many others I proudly say,” WE ARE GRIFFIN” Amen William Jones! I truly hope that is not really Mayor Kasim Reed making that comment!

collegeballfan

December 27th, 2013
11:54 am

“6′ 0″. News flash – it *is* his size.”

If true their are a bunch of real dumb SEC and ACC coaches out there.

Drew Brees is 6′ 0″ 209.

Taco

December 27th, 2013
11:58 am

That is not the Mayor rest assured. As for this kid, some college like Ga Tech who truly needs a champion to come in and turn a mediocre program into a contender should grab this young man. He could be the next Jameis Winston or Nick Marshall just as easy. What am I saying? He is better than Nick Marshall right now.

ignition

December 27th, 2013
1:33 pm

What the hell if Yale and Harvard want you to play for them Go..

The education and network you get from those institutions is Gold. Sets him up for life plus he’ll probably be one of the better athletes on the field. Waaaaaaaaaay better than going to one of these dumb redneck schools like Auburn or UGA. Go son.

We Are Griffin!

December 27th, 2013
2:24 pm

Physical talent, brains, and by far one of the sweetest young men I’ve ever met. He will go very far in life no matter what he chooses. He has what it takes to make it in this world. I hope some of our youth ( my child included) will model after Jacquez and try to do better in their lives.

Harry Kierbow

December 27th, 2013
6:32 pm

Jacquez was good when he was a 10th grader. As a senior he ran the most sophisticated high school offense I’ve seen. His passing was as good as any high schooler I have seen and he also has that extra gear when running the ball. We have a group that attends the games and we are all amazed that his recruiting list contains no large schools.

Mike Straus

December 27th, 2013
7:38 pm

He seems like the perfect type of running QB for Paul Johnson’s triple option. If he can’t make it as a a QB at Tech he could probably play running back like many of the qBs that Johnson recruits

Delbert D.

December 27th, 2013
7:50 pm

Harvard, Yale, Air Force, wow! This young man is going to be a big success in life.

my bear

December 27th, 2013
8:08 pm

I totally agree Jaquez is smart,Atheletic,humble and a great kid.i really hate what happen to him and his family but it was also more people houses got broken into on Dec,14th a couple of kids at griffin high stuff got stolen but
Noone gave them anything i guess because they don’t play football and don’t have a 3.8 GPA. Also i want to add Jaquez did play a great game Dec,14th but he didn’t do it all by himself. the defense held there ground the whole season it was a team effort all the guys played very good.it states the griffin bears are the state champions not jaquez the state champion.

Sarge1

December 27th, 2013
11:16 pm

Awesome post my bear. Jaquez is the epitome of a “good” kid. And a for-sure athlete to be emulated. I am a 1966 Griffin High grad and, Jaquez, you make me proud to be a life-long Griffinite. BUT, he would be the first to tell you that he did not do it alone: too much offensive firepower for ordinary high school teams. And a defense anchored by Telly Sloan, and the awesome linemen who helped to pitch 5 shutouts. The 2013 Griffin Bears: a “team” in the truest sense of the word. Also, let’s not forget Coach Devorsney, and the full cast of assistant coaches, and many, many other support people who made up this unparalleled TEAM. And that first comment probably WAS Kasim Reed: he of Braves memo fame is that trite and “cosmopolitan.”

Taco

December 27th, 2013
11:43 pm

Kid you deserve everything you recieved and more. You have made me and this entire community proud. You have brought the Griffin Bears their first solo State Championship in the history of our town. I am not talking about the Griffin Eagles or the Fairmont Bears, I am talking about the Griffin Bears.I am not speaking of Co-Champs, I am speaking solo outright State Champs. I donated and I wish you and your family nothing but the best. You are a true champion and I am sure you are going to make some school very proud. Thanks for all the joy you brought me and our community this season.

Bearman

December 28th, 2013
1:06 am

Being one of Griffin’s biggest fans(2 games missed since 1972)I want to add that I’m proud of Parks for his leadership…but I’m also proud of the whole team(players & coaches) for the character, leadership and the love of God for what they done on and off the field this season. To win a state championship you have to have a complete package with God on your side. Thanks for a “Living The Dream” season and for making every true fan of high school football across the state proud of what you done in the Ga. Dome. Next season could very well be another great season but it will take that same effort as 2013 because AAAA will be loaded with tough teams like this season. Good luck to my Bears and all the teams that showed good character in 2013. Go Bears and Can’t wait for another season of high school football and fellowship on Friday nights.

Jeff

December 28th, 2013
5:17 am

If he were to graduate from Harvard, doing so would set him up for life, his kids up for life, his grandkids, and so on. A Harvard Graduate transcends all of the boundaries we place on ourselves or place on others. You can say anything about someone and if the last sentence e “and he’s a Harvard grad” it will outweigh almost anything said before it.

my bear

December 28th, 2013
12:54 pm

@ bear man we will have a great season next year because Stroud will be the starting QB he’s left handed and just as good as Jaquez if not better and pretty much all the o-line is returning and the D-line is on lock down. it’s gonna be the 2014 champions. also i want to add that little DT #53 Sophmore he really handled that middle to be so small for that position you would have to be at least 300lbs 6′3 he reminds me of the’ Hammer’Jessis Tuggle small man doing a big mans job.He’s about 5′7 200lbs he’s gonna be something to watch.