DOVER — Brooks Parker was so happy, all he could do was call his mom’s cell phone over and over.
Parker knew she’d be working in school that afternoon.
Still, he couldn’t wait to tell her his big news.
After Parker and his mom had taken out a small loan for him to play football at Delaware State as a walk-on, coach Rod Milstead had just told the youngster he’d be getting a scholarship.
“I remember, I walked back to my room and I was just laying on my bed smiling,” said Parker, a former Delmar High standout. “I was blowing my mother’s phone up. I kept calling her and calling her.
“I was like, ‘Mom, I’ve got to tell you something. I’m on a full scholarship.’ Then she understood why I was calling so much.”
That moment happened four years ago. Now a senior, Parker has long since proven his worth to the Hornets.
The Laurel native goes into his last season expected to be one of DelState’s top defensive players. A second-team pick on the preseason All-MEAC squad, the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder has been a regular in the Hornets’ starting lineup for the last three seasons.
Parker came to Dover with something to prove.
He was a good enough athlete that he ran for 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Delmar. But the two-way player didn’t have any college offers coming out of high school.
Parker admits he probably didn’t do enough to get his name out in recruiting circles.
“I remember when I first arrived on DelState’s campus,” he said. “I was walking around and I was talking to my mom. I was like, ‘I can’t wait until I’m a somebody on this campus.’ Getting the opportunity to play at Delaware State, I was like, ‘I’m definitely going to make myself known and try to make an impact on this football team.’
“Honestly, I felt like I was kind of an underdog. I had a chip on my shoulder. Nobody wanted me. I thought, what a good opportunity to come to Delaware State — in my home state — and try to be the best player I can be.”
Just a year after receiving his scholarship in the spring of his freshman season, Parker led the Hornets in tackles with 58 tackles in 2019. He was a second-team All-MEAC pick.
Parker is now up to 110 career tackles, including 18.5 stops for loss.
He likes the fact that younger players can look up to him and go to him with questions. But he also says he still has plenty to prove.
For starters, of course, he wants to help the Hornets win the MEAC championship. DelState, which opens it season on Sept. 3 by hosting Lincoln, Pa., was picked to finish fourth in the six-team league.
At the same time, Parker would like to keep proving himself as a football player. He now plays on the outside, which allows him to make use of his athleticism.
“I have really high hopes,” he said. “Ultimately, I want the team to be the best that we can be. Our goal is ‘MEAC or bust.’ That’s what Coach Milstead is preaching.
“But hopefully my goals align with that. I haven’t achieved first-team all-conference so that’s definitely a thing I hope can align with our team as a whole to make us better and reach that level that we want to reach.”
Deciding to play football at Delaware State four years ago wasn’t an easy one for Parker. Coming up with the tuition at first was a financial burden for he and his mother, Adriene, who worked in the Seaford School District for over 20 years.
In the end, though, it all worked out.
Parker likes being from a small town and he said playing for the Hornets gives him the same feeling.
“I feel like it’s so close-knitted and everyone is just so together,” he said about his roots. “It feels like a community. It’s kind of how it feels on our football team.
“Being a smaller school, it fitted in well,” Parker added. “It’s a small community, everyone knows everybody. Everybody tries to help one another.”
Former Lake Forest High wide receiver Jalen Morris, a freshman at DSU, announced on social media that he is taking a break from football for the time being. He said he plans on remaining a student at the school. ... Hornet defensive lineman Isaiah Williams is teaming up with the group Samaritan’s Feet to try to get 4,000 pairs of shoes to children in Delaware and in Williams’ hometown of Coney Island, N.Y. Shoes will be made available to students in need at both Shoe Distributions and through Shoe Lockers at schools. More information is available at https://samaritansfeet.org/isaiahwillliams/.
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 302-741-8227 or email@example.com.
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