There is no shortage of people who would gladly step in and tell a high school recruit what school he or she should attend. There can be a lot of pointing fingers. The advice can get cloudy in a mix of a million opinions. If a recruit can find that one person though that they trust, share anything with and expect wise counsel in return, they are set.
For Manvel four-star wide receiver Kyrion Parker, he didn't have to look far. He turns to one of his personal heroes.
"My grandmother gives me strength," said Parker. "She inspires me and helps tell me right from wrong. "
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The outcome of turning to his grandmother, Dr. Judy Parker, was finding his future home. When he's able to sign his national letter of intent tomorrow, he's following her advice and signing with the school he's been committed to for a number of months.
"Without a doubt, I am signing to play at A&M," said Parker.
The process Parker has endured -- a flood of calls from colleges across the country followed by a commitment to LSU and a switch to A&M a short time later -- is one his grandmother knows was no walk in the park.
"I am so proud of him," said Dr. Parker. "He has had to go through some obstacles but he has worked hard. He knows what it means to work hard and be grateful. As long as he can balance humility and hard work he will be fine."
Parker's grandmother attended two A&M games with him.
"Oh yes, I really enjoyed them and loved College Station," said Dr. Parker.
While it's not easy to juggle schoolwork, excel on the football field, find a future college and fend off other coaches and fans all at once, the four-star receiver knows what he's faced over the past year is nothing compared to what another family member has endured. His grandmother is not only a kind and intelligent woman, she's demonstrated the toughness to overcome almost impossible odds.
"She is where I get my strength from," Parker said. "She has been through a lot, you know. She is actually a sole survivor of a plane crash."
The crash was in 1997.
"It happened in the late 90's," said Dr. Parker. "I have had a lot of surgeries since then and was hospitalized two months of the time. Kyrion lost his grandfather in that crash. It was a very difficult time and a miraculous time. It exploded with me in it. I did not know what had happened and could not move. Fire was everywhere and I asked God to help because I could not help myself. What I did not know until months after the accident was that there were people already in place taking action before we even hit the ground. I had no idea until I received a letter from one of the first responders, who explained it."
While some people could become depressed or bitter after such a traumatic event, Dr. Parker looks at things differently.
"A lot of times negatives happen in life but sometimes the negatives can be seen as positives," she said. "Surprisingly enough, the explosion, which was the negative, was really a positive. The first responder explained that if it had not exploded and instead turned wing over wing they could not have rescued me. The explosion actually propelled the plane close to a road where they could get to me."
After sharing her story it's not surprising that Parker is influenced by the perseverance of his grandmother.
"Sometimes we just need to know that all things are working together for good," said Dr. Parker. "I am very proud of my grandson, what he has overcome which led to his commitment to A&M."