Teams do not win championships without repeated acts of
selflessness or without everyone buying into the “team” concept. North Carolina’s
Charlotte Christian is chalked full of talented selfless players but one could
argue that tight end Alex Parker might be deserving of a humanitarian gridiron
award for his on the field acts.
The Knights brought home a third consecutive state
championship in 2014 posting a 10-1 record, could have been 11-1 but the third
game of the season against John T. Hoggard High School was called in the second
half due to inclement weather; and yes the Knights were winning. After an
opening game loss to Mallard Creek, 28-21, Charlotte Christian went on a run
culminating with a 28-21 win over Charlotte Latin for the title.
Two offensive linemen off the 2014 team signed Division-I
offers, Brian Chaffin to Stanford and Phillip Walton to North Carolina State.
The muscle up front has helped pave the way for Class of 2016 running back
Elijah Deveaux to work his magic. The 6’1”, 205 pound tailback already has
eight scholarship offers but committed to Duke in November.
Deveaux rushed for 1,381 yards with 19 touchdowns tearing up
the opposition. Helping open up gaping holes for the prized recruit has been
Parker’s team-first mind set does not stop there. Playing in
a run-first offense, and who wouldn’t with Deveaux on the team, the 6’3”, 235
pound, tight end does not get a ton of looks in the passing game. Starting
quarterback John Turley threw for 1,084 yards on the season. Parker accounted
for 18 percent of the team’s total passing yards gained picking up 198 yards on
11 receptions. Amazingly he turned three of those receptions into scores while
averaging 18.0 yards a catch.
Never wasting an opportunity, Parker finished his junior
season without a drop!
Some stats tell the story but not always. Parker is big, he can
block, but runs really well for a guy his size. Soft hands, nimble feet, and
lowers his shoulders like a fullback when the ball is in his hands. One might
even call him a throwback tight end.
In an Elite Sports Network exclusive interview, Alex Parker
sat down to talk about Charlotte Christian’s championship run, offseason
workouts, the 2015 season, and recruiting.
Alex, Charlotte Christian won their third consecutive state
title in 2014. What was this championship run like for you and for the Knights?
“It was great. All three years I’ve been on the team we’ve
won a state championship. In total we have five titles under Coach (John)
“Coming into the season we lost a lot of seniors. We started
searching for senior leadership over the summer. We started rallying around our
quarterback initially but he ended up having to transfer before the season started.
“In our first game we had a bunch of injuries, I think we
had 10 starters out or hurt by the second half (against Mallard Creek). After
we lost the game we had a meeting afterwards. Our coach said “you guys are 0-1,
how are you going to finish this year?”
“The seniors stepped up and started leading the team. We all
bonded well from that point and went on a big run.”
How does the team look heading into next season?
“We lost all five starters on the offensive line so we’ll be
very inexperienced there. Deveaux is coming back and our quarterback (Turley)
will be back. If the line gels we can win four straight state championships.
“We have some tough non-conference games next year. Our
first game is against Charlotte Catholic, a powerhouse school in the state.
Then we play Myrtle Beach High down there followed by Hogger High (Wilmington). Then I think
we play Weddington, another big public school, then Liberty Christian in Virginia, another powerhouse,
and Charlotte Latin.”
What are your strengths on the field at tight end?
“Blocking, I’m powerful off the ball on my initial hit. I
have soft hands in the passing game and I run well with the ball in my hands. I
grew up playing baseball my whole life which has helped with my hands and
footwork in football.”
Did you win any individual honors for the 2014 season?
“Our coach does not hand out honors for individual players.
We play as a team, win as a team. The state media did not award a tight end
this year, I don’t know why?”
What are your goals for next season?
“My goal is to try to win our fourth straight state
championship. I want to be a leader on the team and be a leader on the
offensive line. It’s important to me to get those guys to form as a group. The
goal is to go undefeated. I believe we have the talent to do it.”
What about your personal goals on the field?
“I’d like to be around double digits in touchdowns. I should
be getting more touches because we lost a lot at receiver. I’d like to play
more defensive if I can (defensive end).”
What schools have started showing interest in you?
“Elon, James Madison, N.C. State, Northwestern, Miami-Ohio, Toledo, and Wofford have
all shown heavy interest. I think Elan might offer me on the 19th when I visit.
I’m supposed to visit James Madison on the 28th, they may offer me then too.
I’m trying to set up a visit with Northwestern this spring as well.”
When National Signing Day rolls around next year and you’re
ready to sign your LOI, what will have been some of the criteria that helped
you select your school of choice?
“Education is one of the biggest factors. Our school is big
on education. Another is being in a location where my parents can come see me
play. I want the school that I choose to feel like home and where the coaching
staff wants me, where I’m not a number. I want to make sure I fit their system
Do you have any early favorites?
“No schools in particular but I am a big fan of N.C. State.
That’s one school I’m hoping that comes through.”
Do you have plans to attend any college camps this summer?
“Last year I went to Kentucky,
my family is originally from there, Wake
Forest, N.C. State,
Charlotte, and Appalachian State. This year, the only school I’ve talked to so
far about attending a camp has been Northwestern. I might go to N.C. State
What are you doing in the offseason to prepare for the college
camps and your senior season?
“I’ve been working out at U.S. Performance Center. I train
there pretty much everyday. I lift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then do
speed drills on the off days. I’m about to join a 7x7 team which will help keep
me in shape and then on the weekends I run routes.”
When you watch NFL games on Sunday are there any tight ends
you enjoy watching play the game?
“Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints), we have the same style
of play and he moves really well, Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers) and Gronk Rob
Gronkowski (New England Patriots). I like Olsen a lot. He gets the job done.
He’s not the fastest guy but he blocks well, catches the ball well, runs good
routes, and he’s not selfish. He’s the one I watch the most.”
Do you play any other sports at Charlotte Christian?
“Our school workload is pretty heavy. I’m focused on
football and weightlifting in the offseason to get bigger.”
You’ve mentioned academics several times. Do you know what
you want to study in college?
“Something in business, not sure what the focus will be just
Who has made the biggest impact on your football career?
“My dad (Fred) has had the biggest impact. He was the head
coach for my team when I was just starting out and up through middle school. We
won a city championship in 2008 during my last year in Pop Warner with him as
What is your favorite part of playing football?
“I love the team aspect because football is more of a team
sport than any other sport. It takes the entire team to win. It’s also the one
sport where you can knock the crap out of somebody and it’s legal.”
Alex Parker’s star is on the rise and he comes from a
program that has a reputation for putting offensive linemen and tight ends into
the college ranks. Parker was called up off the JV team late in his freshman
year and got to watch two top notch tight ends pick apart the competition
through his sophomore season, Garrett Bradbury, who went to North Carolina State,
and Jeb Blazevich, widely considered the top tight end prospect in the country
as part of the 2014 recruiting class. Blazevich signed with the University of Georgia.
Who knows were this multi-faceted tight end will play his
college ball but one could easily guess that worth while college recruiters in
the Carolinas would be smart to jump on this prospect sooner than later.
Whoever gets him will be landing another model student athlete to represent
their program for four years on and off the field. A guy that is willing to
work hard, be selfless in a team-first concept, and be an unsung hero that
helps win championships.
Photo credit: Domonique Barnes; No. 11 Alex Parker breaks
Photo credit: thecharlotteweekly.com; 2014 Charlotte
Christian offensive line with running back Elijah Deveaux, No. 11 Alex Parker.