For Malkom Parrish, the decision was final last June.
That still didn’t make Wednesday’s signing of his national letter-of-intent to the University of Georgia any less of a relief for the Brooks County athlete.
“There’s a lot of weight gone off your shoulders,” he said after making it official that he would be a Bulldog.
That also meant that Parrish, who starred on both sides of the ball for the Trojans, was now officially a defensive back and a defensive back alone. And that was perfectly OK for the 5-foot-9, 189-pounder. Despite rushing for 1,300 yards and 24 touchdowns and throwing for 2,600 more yards and 18 more scores, Parrish said the decision to pick his permanent position was quite easy. Defensively, he made 38 tackles and had three interceptions.
“It wasn’t hard at all after the hits I took in high school,” he said. “I know they hit harder than that in college, and I don’t want any of that. So it wasn’t hard at all.
“Defense is always where I wanted to be. I always wanted to be a defensive player and growing up, I always wanted to hit somebody.”
Added Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman: “We really feel like Malkom is going to do the right things, and will certainly make Brooks County proud.”
Knowing that he wanted to play on the defensive side, Brooks just needed to figure out where to do that. After some early doubts about Georgia, the more Parrish saw and learned about the Bulldogs, the more he realized it was the perfect landing spot for him. That led to his commitment June 13 of last year.
“During the process, I thought that Georgia wasn’t the place,” Parrish said. “But during the visits, through the communication with the coaches, meeting the team and just being in Athens, it helped me realize that this is it for me. This is where I’m meant to go, this is where I need to be.
“After the commitment, there was no second guessing my commitment.”
It also meant that Parrish gets the opportunity to represent his home school.
“I was brought up in Miami, and to move to Georgia and to go to Georgia, I’m loving it,” he added. “I’m soaking up everything.”
While Parrish long ago knew what his college destination would be, BC teammate Deric Herring made the decision this week that he would continue his career at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
He will have a familiar face one he gets there as Valdosta High running back Nelson Herring, Deric’s cousin, also signed with the Red Ravens on Wednesday.
“I want to get out in the world and explore a little bit,” Deric Herring said. “I also get a chance to play with my cousin and we’re going to play to the best of our abilities.”
Once he gets to Coffeyville, Deric Herring plans to get to work in the classroom as well as on the field in the hopes of heading on from there in two years. He had 68 receptions for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns, while also scoring seven more times on kickoff and punt returns.
“I just feel like it’s the best chance for me to get my grades right, and I can transfer and go anywhere I want,” he added.
That was a point Freeman made as well.
“We’re proud of what he’s done, but he still has a lot of work to do,” he said. “He’s played hurt and played sick and played injured, doing all those things that you have to do when you’re grown.
“But he’s grown now, and we’re proud of him.”
For Malkom Parrish, the decision was final last June.
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Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches
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Area teams hoping to get over the hump
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It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.
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