If there was any doubt that it is a year to remember in Wichita, then uncovering a hidden gem like Wichita (Kan.) North defensive tackle Darius Parish makes it even more evident.
The 6-foot-4, 325-pound defensive tackle has remained under the national recruiting radar because of a coaching change at his high school. But two Big 12 programs have already extended scholarships to him, and he might just be the best kept secret in Kansas.
But the secret's out now.
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Parish picked up an early scholarship offer from Kansas in December and then in early April received a scholarship offer from Nebraska. He's also taken unofficial visits to Kansas State and is getting regular attention from Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri.
"Darius is a special player," Steve Clark, who is the new coach at North after spending 22 years as an assistant at the school, said.
"He probably hasn't gotten the attention that he deserves because we haven't been very good for a while. But I'm telling you that he is right up there with the Brown brothers and Chris Harper when it comes to being the best in Wichita."
Both KU and Nebraska seem to agree as they didn't hesitate to offer scholarships early on.
Rivals.com should have film on Parish to evaluate in the near future and he'll be ranked at that time. But the buzz from local observers in Wichita is that he is a "physical freak with a huge upside."
Parish recently attended a KU mini-camp in Wichita where he clocked in at an amazing 5.08 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also said he has a 330-pound bench press and a 440-pound squat. When asked what schools see in him, Parish said he's both good at stopping the run and getting after the quarterback.
"I clog up holes all the time," Parish, who was not aware of what his stats were for the 2006 season, said. "When I rush the quarterback, I have a nice little fake move that my defensive line coach taught me. I just do this fake and the linemen think I'm going one way, but I really end up going the other way."
KU and Nebraska seem to hold the upper hand at this point because of their early heavy pursuit.
"I really like Clint Bowen up at KU," Parish said. "He's a cool guy. I talk to him when I can, but I've been really busy with the summer. We've been kind of distant lately because it's the summer, but KU is a school I really like. I'm being recruited by Ted Gilmore at Nebraska. He's a good guy, too. He's from Wichita."
Parish has taken several unofficial visits to Kansas State, but the Wildcats wanted to see him in camp before they would offer him. However, it looks like the KU mini-camp is the only camp he'll be able to make this summer. He does have some plans to take some unofficial visits, though.
"I'm not going to anymore camps right now," Parish said. "I was supposed to, but I don't think I'm going to make it. I've been busy conditioning. I'm supposed to go on some college visits in July to Nebraska and Oklahoma State."
Parish was born in Dallas but moved to Wichita after he was first born. He said he's not really followed one college team a lot. He's more of a fan of defense.
"I'm not a fan of one school or another," he said. "I really don't follow colleges like all the fans do. I like the strategies. I like to look at how the defense attacks the offense. That's why I would like to watch a team like Oklahoma and their defense. But I'm not a big fan of one team really."
Parish does not look like he's in a rush to make a decision, too.
"I'll probably make my decision in the middle or the end of my senior season," he said.
"I'm not going to rush it, and I'm going to let the process go through. My grandmother and my uncle are doing background checks on all the schools that have offered me. I also want to major in engineering."