Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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PREP PROFILES Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor School linebacker Ryan Parker has been a Notre Dame fan since childhood, and now he has been afforded the opportu- nity to pursue his dream of suiting up for the Irish. The 6-1, 210-pound senior will join the pro- gram as a preferred walk-on next fall. His Notre Dame recruitment started with one of Bay- lor School's assis- tant coaches, who knew Notre Dame recruiting coordi- nator Mike Elston. Parker 's coach contacted Elston and sent him film of the linebacker. The Irish linebackers coach liked enough of what he saw to invite Parker up for a summer camp, and it was there that the player earned the opportunity to play football at Notre Dame. "Coach Elston on maybe day three or day four of the camp pulled me aside and pulled me into the Gug," Parker said. "And he said, 'We'd like you to take one of our five preferred walk-on spots here at Notre Dame.' "I didn't really have words at the time. I think my jaw hitting the ground would be an accurate description." Even though the invitation blew Parker away, he didn't commit on the spot. That moment came following his visit for the Irish's thrilling 41-31 home win over USC Oct. 17. He returned home, weighed the idea of accepting one his numerous scholarships — a list that included Navy, Air Force, South Alabama, Army, Florida International and Eastern Michigan — or paying his own way at his dream school. "It was rough," said Parker, who announced his de- cision on Twitter Oct. 24. "I was still trying to make the decision the day before I commit- ted. It was really just that it was my dream school, and I couldn't turn it down." Parker hopes to follow in the foot- steps of previous Irish preferred walk- ons such as current fifth-year senior linebacker Joe Schmidt. "I've wanted to play for Notre Dame since I was 3 years old and watched the movie 'Rudy,'" he said. "It's been a life- long dream. It's hard to turn something like this down. "You can't go wrong with a Notre Dame education. That's the second part —the academics are awesome, I hold that very highly. I'm going up there to try to earn a scholarship. Whatever happens when I get there happens, but I do plan on trying my best to get that scholarship." — Jordan Wells Future Preferred Walk-On Fulfills His Childhood Dream RYAN PARKER Baylor School Chattanooga, Tenn. Status: Committed Class: 2016 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 210 Rivals Rankings: Currently unrated

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