EATON — Chip Parker not only will get the chance to fulfill a lifetime dream of playing college football, he will also be part of the first-ever recruiting class for Wheeling Jesuit University.
The Eaton senior defensive back recently signed to continue his academic and athletic careers with the NCAA Division II Cardinals, located in Wheeling, West Virginia.
“I’m really excited. It’s a good faith-based school. That’s a huge thing in my life,” he said. “Also, it’s going to be a first-year program and I’m going to get an opportunity to prove myself from day one and that’s pretty big for me too.”
The Cardinals will compete in the in the Mountain East Conference.
Cardinal football will begin with an exhibition schedule in 2018-19 while building the capacity to play a full season during the 2019-2020 season.
“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. My brother went and played college football and I’ve always looked up to him. It’s always been a dream of mine,” he said.
Parker, who plans on majoring in Exercise Science, will get to join his brother Brandon Robinson, who is on the Cardinals coaching staff.
The idea of establishing a program and building traditions is something Parker is looking forward to.
“I think it’s going to be really fun. We’re going to be the foundation class. We’re going to get a chance to start traditions,” he said.
Parker is part of the Cardinals inaugural National Signing Day class of 39 players.
Eaton coach Brad Davis believes Parker will make the most of his opportunity.
“I’m really proud for Chip. I know his parents are extremely proud of him. This is always a special opportunity. Specifically, going to Wheeling Jesuit it’s such a unique situation and it’s so exciting because they are just starting out,” Davis said. “He gets to be the first recruiting class and really lay the groundwork or the foundation for that program. He’s going to be part of making those traditions that most student-athletes just kind of fall in to when they go to an institution at the next level. He’s going to do a great job and make the most of it. I’m extremely proud of him for doing so.”
Eaton Athletic Director Travis Miller said its an exciting time for any athlete who gets the chance to chase their dreams.
“It’s a very exciting day, a very happy day. This young man gets to follow his dreams and chase his goals and get the opportunity to play football at the next level,” Miller said. “He’s worked hard. He has a passion for football and loves playing the game.”
Wheeling Jesuit head coach Zac Bruney believes his coaching staff is bringing in the right players to build a program.
“We, as a staff, are really proud of the caliber of student-athletes and families that have signed Letters of Intent to join our program,” he said via a press release. “We believe we have signed top-notch talent, but more importantly the right academic and character profiles for a program has to be built on. It is very gratifying as a head coach to see countless hours of work in the recruiting world come to fruition and the trust that people have shown in us to do things the right way. This initial wave of signees will be looked upon as the leaders and brick layers to our program. They are all a part of history and an excitement that is the rarest of opportunities as a college student-athlete.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH