Parker Eichenberger grew up surrounded by football. After all, it is nearly impossible to be a Texan and not enjoy the culture and their motto: God, family, football. On Friday nights, towns shut down, thousands of residents fill the stands, and if you lose, well, it can feel like the end of the world. Many famous Hollywood directors have taken note of the different culture in Texas and produced movies about what life is like as a Texas high school football player. Some watch it on television, but Parker experienced it first-hand.
In the second grade, Parker made the decision to start playing football. The opportunity to be aggressive and hit people – and not get in trouble – made it unique. Basketball lacked that aspect. Over time, his love for the game began to increase, until eighth grade rolled around.
At this point in life, he decided it was time to hang up his cleats. High school football no longer appealed to him, and he begged his mom to allow him to quit. But, she was persistent and persuaded him to go in with a positive outlook and give it a fair chance. Now, as he looks back on that moment, Parker cannot express how grateful he is that she urged him to continue playing.
Parker’s high school experience was different than many players. As previously stated, he grew up in Texas where football runs in the blood. Playing football in Texas is fun, but when you play in Texas for one of the best teams in the nation your experience is as close to ‘the dream’ as possible.
All of the athletes at Katy High School worked hard to earn their team’s ranking. They knew that to be the best, you must be willing to outwork the best.
This meant spending majority of spare time studying film, lifting weights, perfecting technique, and staying long after the sun went down to get in more reps. Parker values the work ethic instilled in him during his four years at Katy.
And, in Parker’s junior year, the sacrificed time and countless hours of preparation paid off. The team went 16-0 and won the Texas state championship against another very talented team, Lake Travis.
It was Katy’s eighth state title, which tied the state record. Then, as if the season wasn’t already perfect, they were named the top football team in the entire country.
“In all reality my high school team was the best,” says Parker.
Football may have been fun and games, but the recruitment process was anything but. Every athlete faces the worry and anxiety that comes with making one of the biggest decisions of your life.
For months, they file through letters from different schools, talk to a multitude of coaches, study different offenses (or defenses) to find their best fit, and wonder where in the world they will end up playing. After awhile, the excitement of being recruited can ware off and the process becomes agonizing. However, Parker turned the decision over to someone much wiser.
“I followed my heart and God’s plan,” he says.
Parker felt God calling him to the University of Houston. So, with no doubt in mind, he decided to commit in April 2016.
It’s easy for him to understand why God called him there – the university is less than an hour from home, offers a talented football team, and provides students with a great education. Finally, it all seemed to fall perfectly in place; that is, until last November.
Parker was crushed when he found out that head coach Tom Herman accepted a job at the University of Texas.
“I felt like I had been abandoned,” he says, remembering the surprising news.
Suddenly, the feeling of uncertainty rushed back. Because of how significant a change in head coach is, Parker began to wonder if Houston was really the place for him.
Immediately, the new coaching staff reached out to Parker and settled his nerves. They helped him overcome any feeling that could lead to a decommitment. Parker loves the new coaching staff and is happy to say that he cannot wait to be part of their program.
With graduation only one month away, it’s hard for Parker not to feel incredibly excited about the upcoming transition. At Houston, he wants to take advantage of every opportunity to improve himself as a player. He will work on increasing his strength and improving his overall passing IQ. Hopefully, this will enable him to start as a freshman and earn All American honors his senior season.
Parker Eichenberger is accustomed to putting in work in order to achieve success. The past four years trained him to stop at nothing in the pursuit of his goals. He knows what it feels like to play for a successful team, and is determined to make sure that feeling will carry on to college.
Parker’s Advice: The best advice I could give younger players would be this…do not let anybody tell you that you are not good enough or will never be good enough to achieve your dreams…I had teammates in high school and even coaches say that I would never be good enough and it just pushed me to work even harder.