University of West Georgia may not be a household name across the country yet, but they are certainly making a case to be recognized as one. Ranked 15th in the first Coaches Poll released this season for Division II college football, the team has high hopes for this season after coming up short last year.
One new addition to the starting defense that is generating a lot of praise is linebacker Matthew Parker.
Parker is entering his redshirt junior season at West Georgia, entering his first year as a starter. He will be looking to be a key contributor and make a name for himself.
We had the chance to ask him some questions as they head into the first week of the season.
Q: College football has such an electric atmosphere. How much of a role does crowd support play on game days?
A: “I would definitely say the fans that come out, regardless of home or away, can create a certain energy on the field that’s unlike any other and just makes the game that much more fun to play in and be apart of.”
It is an exciting time for Parker as he comes into his first season as a starter.
Q: You’re going into your first season as a one-spot on the depth chart, and you were an dominant during your time at Buford. What are fans going to see from Matthew Parker this year?
A: ” I’m just thankful that my hard work is paying off and hope that it can continue to pay off on the field, and I can help my team wherever they need me. As for Buford, it was a great program to be apart of and helped prepare me for what was to come on and off the field. Playing with all of those guys in high school was a team full of talent that pushed me to be the best I can be and we always support one another. So, I hope that this year I can make some of my Buford family proud!”
There are some high expectations going into the season for West Georgia, as they are ranked in the top-20 in the preseason rankings.
Q: West Georgia is going into the season ranked 15th in the first Coaches Poll of the season. Does that give you guys extra motivation heading into the year?
A: “I would definitely say there’s some motivation with that and the goal is always #1. We’re just gonna take one game at a time and respect each team we play, and that should put us where we want to be come the end of the season.”
Parker will be starting at linebacker next to Korie Rogers, who formerly was at Clemson before transferring to West Georgia.
Q: What is it like getting to play next to a guy like Korie Rogers?
A: “Being able to play alongside Korie is really cool especially since we’ve grown up together and played at Buford. On the field I would say he’s helped push me to become a much better player by competing with him and helping me with small things like technique, or even being the leader he’s become on the field and setting an example of how to do things the right way. Being next to a guy with that kind of talent doesn’t just happen everyday, so I hope I can learn what I can from him moving forward. Off the field, he’s a great guy too and has become one of my closest friends and that’s what’s so cool, because he’s a really humble guy. He’s a very talented football player. You don’t come across too many people like that.”
Q: What are you most excited about for this upcoming season?
A: “What I’m most excited about this season is just getting to play and see where we go as a team because this year the team has felt completely different than any other year when I’ve been here. Everyone always talks about “family” and the bond you get by playing football, but breaking it down in the huddle on that doesn’t make you a family. It’s everything you do as a team to push each other and hold each other accountable. This group of guys we’ve got truly has something special and we’ve got a lot of talent, so I’m excited to see what we do with it this season.”
West Georgia is set to open up their season this Saturday against Catawba on the road.
Edge Sports Network would like to thank Matthew Parker for answering our questions for this interview. We wish him the best of luck this upcoming season.
Cover photo via: UWG Athletics
Follow Matthew Parker on Twitter: @outdapark6
Follow Edge Sports Network on Twitter: @TheEdgeSN