'21 TN OL William Parker (Tennessee commit)

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Griffin-Parker has four brothers and two sisters. One brother, Terrell Parker, was shot and killed when the Pearl-Cohn star was 12. His dad spent time in prison but has now been out about 12 years and remains in his life. "Every day I see him he tells me, 'I love you. When I was 17, I was in juvenile. I was on the news for all types of stuff. You are on the news for being great,'" he said. "He is proud of me."

Griffin-Parker, who went by William Griffin prior to this year, said he is in the process of changing his name to add his dad's last name. Griffin-Parker will be the first in his immediate family to attend college. "I've always been told, 'Go the route that nobody else did (in the family). You be the savior of this family,'" he said. "You can either pick the right path, or the wrong path and I picked the right path because all of them stayed on me and I feel like that's the best path to go." Sports in general has helped forge the right path, he said. It taught him teamwork and how to be a better communicator. "It kept me straight because I didn't have anything else to do," he said.

Prior to high school, Griffin-Parker spent time homeless. He was in and out of houses. He said he didn't have a bed to sleep in until he was a sophomore. But football brought him into a team and into the Firebirds' family. He developed close relationships with coaching staff members, who act as additional father figures for him. He has built friendships on the team. "Football has been fantastic for him," Pearl-Cohn coach Tony Brunetti said. "They don't have a lot, but he's used to not having a lot. If he doesn't have it, he doesn't have it. It's not important to him."

..."He's still a young man," Brunetti said. "He still has a lot to grow up with. He's got a lot to grow in the sport. But I think his mindset is a lot better. He's trying to be a better leader. And that's what you want to do, you want to grow every year." That mindset paid off during the coronavirus pandemic. While many picked up pounds, Griffin-Parker lost 20..."I didn't have a cell phone and I'm really not big into phones," Griffin-Parker said. "I'm not big on social media. It will mess up your whole life. So because I didn't have a phone, I'd go out every day and run. Sometimes I'd run six or seven miles with a trash bag on. That's what I did for fun. I don't play video games either. I did that and the pounds started coming off."
Tennessee football recruiting: William Griffin-Parker went from homeless to prospect
gotta be a favorite of mine: no phone, no social media, no video games, odds stacked against him in life.
 

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