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In which BracketCat counts down the 14th day until the 2020 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive back AJ Parker.

#12 AJ Parker
AJ Parker’s (12) second-quarter interception was a key turning point in the 2019 upset of Oklahoma.
Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Disclaimer: As the 2020 football season still is “technically” scheduled to proceed as planned in Manhattan, with the recent delay of our season opener until Sept. 12 against Arkansas State, we will reset and continue this Countdown for just a little bit longer...

Goal No. 12: NO SELF-LIMITATIONS. Expect more of yourself.

#12 AJ Parker

Redshirt Senior | 5-11 | 178 lbs. | Bartlesville, Oklahoma
AJ Parker
AJ Parker
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Arlando Dwayne Parker Jr. (b. Feb. 15, 1998) is a two-year senior starter at cornerback who is looking to bounce back in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury in 2019.

A promising young defensive back from Oklahoma, Parker redshirted in 2016. He saw playing time in 11 games in 2017, with two starts at cornerback and two starts at nickelback.

Parker registered 24 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups that year. He carded a season-high eight tackles against TCU, had five plus a tackle for loss in K-State’s win at No. 10 Oklahoma State, and batted away a season-best two passes against Charlotte.

Parker started all 12 games at cornerback in 2018, finishing fourth on the team with 53 tackles to go along with a tackle for loss, two interceptions and six pass breakups.

His two picks came in Big 12 play — at West Virginia and against Texas Tech — to tie for seventh in the league in conference-only games.

Parker tallied a career-high nine tackles at Baylor, and had seven against both UTSA and Kansas. He tied a career high with two pass breakups in the first two games of the year against South Dakota and Mississippi State, and also blocked a punt against Texas.

Parker started the first eight games of 2019 until an injury cut his season short, but he still finished with 28 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and five pass breakups en route to honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches.

He was tied for second in the Big 12 and 17th nationally in interceptions prior to his injury.

Parker, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, registered his first pick of the season on K-State’s first defensive play of the year against Nicholls, and also had key interceptions in wins at Mississippi State and against No. 5 Oklahoma.

He carded a season-high eight tackles against Baylor and also had six against Oklahoma State, tallying tackles for loss in both contests.

Parker was a three-year starter at cornerback and wide receiver for head coach John McKee at Bartlesville (Oklahoma) High School.

He was named to the USA Today Sports/American Family Insurance All-USA Oklahoma Team as a defensive back following his senior year, in addition to earning All-State honors from The Oklahoman, The Tulsa World and the Oklahoma Coaches Association (OCA).

Parker also had honorable mention All-State accolades as a junior in 2014.

He helped to lead the Bruins to a 10-2 record and a trip to the semifinals of the Oklahoma Class 6A-II state playoffs in 2015, and also hauled in 65 passes for 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns between his junior and senior seasons.

Parker, who was selected to play in the OCA All-State football game, also was a three-year starter in basketball, earning all-area honors, and participated in track and field, placing third in the state meet in the high jump as a sophomore and junior.