As a football prospect, Milton’s Dai-Jon Parker was one of Atlanta’s best-kept secrets.
The emphasis there should be on the past tense word – was.
“I’ve got about 900 pieces of [recruiting] mail for him sitting on my desk right now,” Milton football coach Scott Walker said Friday.
Parker’s name has been floating around in basketball circles for a while. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooting guard is rated a four-star prospect in hoops and just helped lead the Eagles to the Class AAAAA state championship. He led Milton with 19 points and six rebounds in the title game against Westlake.
But only recently has Parker emerged as a major football prospect. And that was his coach’s intention.
“To make a long story short, I haven’t said anything about him [as a football prospect] because I promised I wouldn’t until after basketball season,” said Walker, who just sent Parker’s football video out this week. “We didn’t want him to be distracted and bothered. We needed to sit down and talk about what he needed to do.
“He originally thought he wasn’t going to play football anymore. I met with him and his mother two nights ago and he’s decided he’s going to pursue both. He’s going to find out what his options are in both and make a decision at that point.”
Apparently there are going to be a lot of options for Parker:
“Every option is on the table for him at this point,” Walker said.
Football, Walker thinks, might be Parker’s best option.
“One thing we kind of all agree on is he probably has a better chance to make money one day in football,” Walker said. “When you’re 6-3 and you’re a wide receiver you’re a little above the curve. When you’re 6-3 in basketball, there are a lot of those out there. That’s one of the things he’s thinking about.”
Parker’s football options are even more amazing considering his limited experience. Other than a brief stint as a defensive end when he was in ninth grade at Marietta High, Parker did not play football until he showed up at Milton’s practices the first day of school last August.
“He missed all of camp; missed all summer,” Walker said. “It took about a half hour to realize he was the best player on the field. In sports he’s just a freak.”