THIS WASN’T A BULL RUSH – IT WAS MORE
like a bulldozer. Ja’len Parks, a 6-4, 295-pound
defensive tackle for Newberry, ran over an
offensive lineman as part of a one-on-one drill
during a football camp in Texas this past January.
Parks’ brute strength was on display, and it was
caught on video. But there’s more to the story –
Parks said he did the same thing a few times to
“I said, ‘I don’t know why you are doing this to
yourself,’” Parks said.
Richard Vester, who is entering his first year as
head coach at Newberry, said that type of strength
is what he saw all spring from Parks and his cousin,
Cory Durden, a 6-foot- 5, 315-pounder. Parks and
Durden have committed to Florida State, and
Seminoles fans of a certain age are hoping the
Newberry Cousins can do for their defensive line
what the Selmon Brothers – Lee Roy, Lucious and
Dewey – did for Oklahoma in the 1970s.
“I call Cory and Ja’len ‘tackle hogs’,” Vester said.
The cousins live just five minutes away from
“They compete to see who can get to the ball-
Vester said Parks, who can bench press 405
pounds, is the stronger cousin. But Durden, who
benches 385, is longer, and the two Panthers
make a destructive pair.
each other, and they have been virtually insepa-
rable since birth. Even so, it wasn’t always such a
lock that the two would play college ball together.
Parks committed to FSU in July of 2014. Durden,
for a long time, seemed fixated on Alabama
and Florida.Finally, on Feb. 20, Durden took the
“I didn’t pressure him,” Parks said. “I told
LET US CATER YOUR NEXT
him, ‘Whatever your choice is, I will be with you
100 percent, bro.’ But when he said he wanted
to be with me, I said, ‘Alright, if that’s what you
One thing is for sure: This is what the Seminoles
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