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This has been one of the toughest springs for high school students to go through the recruiting process because of the coronavirus pandemic. Crestwood High School's Parris Lowery saw his first Football Championship Subdivision offer come in on April 2 and is now up to four offers in just a couple of weeks. Despite the difficulties from the pandemic, he's enjoying the recruiting process.
"First and foremost, it's amazing to get to go through this process. It's my first time going through this recruiting process," said Lowery. "The first offer came in and it brought a smile to my face. It really brightened up my day.
"All of the problems going on in the world, though, it's very hard."
Crestwood head coach Roosevelt Nelson said it's tough to get attention from college coaches right now because there are no football activities, but determined coaches and athletes will find a way to get their tapes in front of college coaches.
"It's a challenge right now. You've got to send coaches information via social media or phone calls, just saying, 'Hey, don't forget about this kid we've got here,' " said Nelson. "Here at Crestwood, each coach on my staff calls guys. One of my coaches, Coach Willy Martin, that's one of the guys that's really taken charge, making sure all the guys have their stuff sent out. And I do some of that myself.
"It is a little difficult right now. These guys have a lot to deal with. They have to deal with their players at home and check up on their own guys on top of the recruiting aspect. It's uncharted waters right now."
Lowery's first offer came from Chattanooga two weeks ago. Since then, he's received offers from Campbell, Citadel and Missouri State. He's hoping to see that number rise as schools start to open back up and he can start visiting programs.
"Man, after all of this is over I'm really looking forward to finding my new family for the next four years and start visiting colleges and see what's a good atmosphere and what's a good background for my education," said Lowery. ""The coaches kept telling me to stay patient and that the time would come and it's come now."
Nelson said the No. 1 thing that Lowery has done to make this early recruiting process easier has been his focus on academics. Coaches want to bring well-rounded athletes into their programs, so good grades help boost good tape.
"Parris is an outstanding young man that does a tremendous job off the field in the classroom, as well as on the field. All the offers he's getting right now are definitely well deserved," said Nelson. "I would say the biggest thing that helps him right now is the academic aspect and his junior film. Even if schools aren't able to visit, you've still got your academic report that coaches can look at and also your film from last season that's still there. I tell the guys that their academics and their game film are the keys to things happening for you, especially early on."
However, good grades can only help so much. At the end of the day, a player has to perform on the field. Nelson said Lowery is a little undersized, but more than makes up for it with his ability to make plays.
"His ability to make plays (has attracted coaches). I really feel like a lot of Power 5 (conference) schools would be interested in him if he was 6-(feet)-3(-inched) or 6-4, and he's right around 6-2 and 275 pounds, so that's why the bigger ones haven't come yet, but a lot of the FCS and (Football Bowl Subdivision) mid-majors are interested in his playmaking ability," said the Crestwood head coach. "If you look at just the plays he made, his ability to get into the backfield, he's strong and very knowledgeable about the game. He's a quick learner and he's very versatile. You can play him inside, you can play him outside and that benefits him to show him playing more than one position on the defensive line."
That versatility is crucial for Lowery, because he can fit in multiple schemes and isn't a situational player.
"His versatility helps. He's a guy that's going to stay on the field for three downs," said Nelson. "He's not going to be on for first and second down, then come off when it's a passing situation or vice versa."
Lowery is just looking forward to the pandemic starting to slow down so he can go visit schools. He isn't planning on making a decision on college until after his senior season, because he wants to keep the door open for more offers to come in. On top of the recruiting process, Lowery is just looking forward to getting back on the field with his teammates.
"I'm most excited to come back as a senior and I can be a better leader," said Lowery. "I want to lead the team to more victories and be a better player. I want to be able to see the field better and I can call plays out."
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