It took a little over three years, but Joshua Parker finally found a place to call home.
The former Cullman football player currently attends school at Auburn University, where he is also a walk-on offensive lineman for the Tigers’ football team.
For Parker, he’s finally found his happy place.
“It’s been great for me,” he said. “Honestly, I wish I had come here sooner.”
The son of Cullman’s Mark and Ashley Adams, Parker played football for the Black and Gold under coach Mark Britton from 2005-2009.
After graduation, Parker decided to head to Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., to continue his academic and athletic career.
“I went there on a partial academic scholarship,” he said. “They didn’t give out athletic scholarships.”
It was in the fall of 2012 that Parker decided to make a change. He wanted to attend Auburn, and he wanted to continue his football career.
“I came down just in time for football tryouts,” Parker added. “It was tough, that’s for sure.”
Parker made the team as a walk-on, but never saw any playing time under the Chizik regime.
Now, with Chizik gone and Gus Malzahn at the helm, Parker is hoping to make an impact on his new coach and staff.
“Coach Malzahn runs a similar offense to what we ran in high school,” he said. “It’s good for me to do what I already know how to do.”
As far as his teammates go, Parker said he’s already sensed a mental change in most of them regarding the hire of Malzahn.
“Everybody is excited now,” he said. “It was a big change for them, but it’s for the better. It was a rough past year, but we are all ready to go.”
One of the football differences between high school and college that Parker alluded to was the overall physicality of each individual player.
“It’s tough, because every player is big, strong and fast,” Parker said. “On the other hand, it’s really exciting for me to go up against players like that, players who potentially might wind up in the NFL someday.”
Physicality wasn’t the only noticeable difference, either.
“It’s a lot more difficult, not just playing football, but academically as well,” he said. “Everything here is more important and it’s a lot more strict than anything else.”
Parker currently works out as an offensive guard for the Tigers. Spring practice is set to begin shortly, and Parker said he really wants to show the coaches what he can do.
“You know, coming out of high school, I feel like I left a lot on the field,” he said. “I felt like I could have tried a lot harder. So, for me, I want to get out there and kind of catch up on what I missed back in the day.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.