FULTON, Miss. (ICC Athletics) – Itawamba Community College linebacker Keshun Parker was named Defensive Player of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on Thursday.
“It means so much to be picked as the Defensive Player of the Year because there are a bunch of great players in Mississippi and all across the country,” said Parker. “This award is more than just me though. It wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my teammates and coaches. They deserve a big part of this award too.”
Parker finished his sophomore season with 81 total tackles, including 18.5 for a loss of 91 yards and seven sacks. He also broke up five passes and forced two fumbles. ICC finished 5-4 after winning four-straight games, including a 22-21 road win over No. 2 Northwest Mississippi Community College in Parker’s final game with the Indians.
“It’s always a big honor when you can be recognized throughout the country as the best defensive player for the 2019 season,” said Coach Sean Cannon. “Week in and week out, he was consistent, and that’s one thing you ask out of any of your football players. I thought from our first game to our last game, he played good football for us all throughout the year.”
This season, the Calhoun City native was named Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) and NJCAA Defensive Player of the Week for his 14-tackle performance in the Indians’ 30-21 win over Coahoma. He joins Navarro College QB Parker McNeil (Offensive Player of the Year) and Jack Wright of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Coach of the Year) in taking home the NJCAA’s annual honors.
In his two seasons with the Indians, Parker recorded 121 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. As a sophomore, he was named NJCAA First Team All-American and NJCAA Region 23 Co-MVP while being selected to the NJCAA All-Region 23 team and MACJC First Team All-Conference. He earned a spot on the All-Conference second team as a freshman.
“It’s always good to see kids come in and develop and grow on the field and off the field,” said Cannon, who was named MACJC Coach of the Year. “He’ll always be remembered. We’ll have a picture of him in our field house showing his honor to the next group of kids that come through here.”
Parker is the first-ever ICC football player to earn the NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year award.