DITR: ATH/SAF Bernard Parker Jr., Philadelphia High School (Philadelphia, Mississippi)

Bernard Parker Jr. is position-less.

The 2025 prospect lined up at both free and strong safety, in single and two high looks. He lined up in the box as a safety, whether it was a three safety look, or specific coverage using a box safety. Parker would play cornerback, typically working in the slot, where he’d show ability as a press-man corner. Besides lining up at every defensive back spot, he also has snaps on the defensive line, as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

Unbelievably enough, he would use his size and speed to move the tackle, then counter, showing good technique as a pass rusher, as well as having violent hands, which he’ll display when defending the run, to shed blockers. Besides lining up at every alignment on the defensive side of the ball, he also plays special teams. He’s recorded blocked punts as a defender, and also has snaps as a long snapper, where he demonstrated impressive blocking ability.

However, arguably Parker’s most impressive snaps come from when he plays quarterback for Philadelphia. Seeing a defensive back play quarterback is uncommon; Watching one pick apart an opposing defense is even more absurd.

It doesn’t matter where Parker is lined up at, his play is going to be outstanding. Starting with his defensive looks.

His game as a safety is very complete. He doesn’t fear getting involved in the run game; he can hit extremely hard, wrap up well when tackling, work in between tackles and guards and use his hands to shed blockers. He’s able to find the ball-carrier even in strong traffic. His combination of tackling ability, technique and vision makes him a force against rushing plays.

His technique in the passing game is equally as good as his ability in the running game. He’s able to read the QB’s eyes when lined up in high looks, read the receivers hips when lined up at cornerback and fluidly flip his hips when backpedaling. He’s violent at the catch point, which helps to disrupt the receiver and force turnovers. Parker shows great ability as a press-man corner, with reps showing how he can dominant the line of scrimmage. He’s also good at tracking the ball in air, catching it at its high point and winning 50/50 balls. On top of all of this, Parker possesses outstanding awareness.

He’s able to process information pre-snap, and during the play, then move his body to the most advantageous position. In other words, his processing is otherworldly.

NFL clubs will hire multi-million dollar teams to get their defensive players in advantageous positions so they can be one step ahead on the field. Parker is essentially doing what these teams are paid to do, and he’s only in high school.

It’s why teams can’t throw his way. If he’s tried on a screen pass, he’ll see the pre-snap alignment, make an educated assumption, then put himself in position to blow up the pass. On short routes, he’s able to alternate between reading the receiver and quarterback, then fire down through the receiver, jarring the ball loose.

The play that best showcases Parker’s awareness would be a screen play he blew up (1:28 mark on his Hudl, linked below). As soon as the ball is snapped, Parker is driving down to tackle the receiver for a loss. As moves down, he’s reading the quarterback; however, another receiver comes to block him. Parker is able to shed the receiver, but he’s thrown off course. Instead of being able to deliver a big hit with an 100% success rate, he’s now attacking the ball-carrier at a new angle that isn’t guaranteed to bring him down.

In an instant, Parker took in that information and changed his strategy. As he worked past the blocker, he changed his approach from thumping the ball-carrier, to playing the ball itself. As receiver reeled the ball in, Parker extended his arms and punched the ball loose, causing an incompletion. Rather than making a reckless tackle, he evaluated his situation and executed a good defensive play- and did it in less than two seconds.

His play defensively is phenomenal, but his ability at quarterback is polarizing. Parker weighs in at 5’11, 180 pounds. He probably doesn’t have the size to play quarterback at the next level. However, there’s something about a defensive superstar picking off the opposing offense, then throwing a 50 (air) yard pass against the opposing defense, that makes you unable to stop watching.

He isn’t just shot plays, with deep throws to open receivers. Parker can place the ball where only his target can get it. He reads opposing defenses well, and with a fairly quick release, he’s able to get the ball to the open man efficiently. Parker will force a punting situation, block the punt, have it returned, cause a fumble then throw a touchdown, all in the same game- it’s simply mind-blowing.

He’s a three-star recruit with offers from Ole Miss, Arkansas State, ULM, Middle Tennessee and LA Tech. Parker might be flying under the radar, but every DI institution needs to observe his senior campaign.

Below is a QnA between Parker Jr. and Myself:

What’s your height and weight?

“I’m 5’11, 180 pounds.”

What player do you compare yourself to and why?

“I compare myself to Caleb downs because of his size and skills.”

What are your plans once you’re done with football and why?

“I plan to be apart of sports medicine”

What’s your GPA?

“My GPA is a 3.7 with a 20 ACT score.”

Do you have any offers, if so where?

“I have 5 offers: Ole Miss, Arkansas State, ULM (UL-Monroe), Middle Tennessee, LA Tech.”

What’s your 40 speed?

“My 40 is a 4.53.”

What are your current football goals?

“My goals for football are to make it DI and take care of my family.”

What’s something football has taught you?

“Football taught me how to be a better person and help others out.”