ATLANTA, Ga. -- I spent the weekend at the Nike The Opening Regional football camp's tour stop in the Peach State. And that meant I got to see FSU commitments Ja'Len Parks and Corey Durden, of Newberry (Fla.). Both are defensive tackles. Parks is rated four-stars and and Durden likely will be shortly, and both were invited to The Opening Finals, held later this summer outside Portland.
How Florida State landed the best two defensive tackles in the state from a school just 20 minutes from UF's campus is a popular one with FSU fans and one that annoys Gators to no end. Ja'Len's father, John, was a member of the 1985 FSU recruiting class with Odell Haggins, who is now FSU's defensive tackle coach. As you'll see in the video, Parks describes Haggins as an uncle to him. Parks' mother, Tonia, ran track at the school, too. Her sister is Durden's mother. Haggins is one of the nicest coaches you will ever meet, is exactly the type of person a parent wants to send their child to, and it doesn't hurt that he has sent 14 defensive tackles to the NFL draft since 1997.
The 6'4, 302 Parks showed excellent burst off the football, and he has the ability to fire out low. When he learns to use his hands and implement counter moves while staying low and not popping up, he has potential to be a real disruptor.
Durden is a really interesting prospect. At 6'5 and 315, he has a bit of bad weight on him in the gut after being in a boot which limited his conditioning for a bit, but he has great length and moved a lot better than I expected him to. I think Durden has the ability to eventually hold 325+ good pounds. I'll be interested to see how he moves laterally and fights double teams.
In the video, we discuss:
-Who is the better player?
-The pair's relationship
-The best pre-game meal
-The best pre-game song
-What recruits the pair want to bring to the class
-Who they try to play like