Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle has foot surgery

Florida State lost a three-year starter on the defensive interior with the graduation of Demarcus Christmas alongside defensive end Brian Burns declaring for the NFL. Since then, redshirt freshman Xavier Peters, who was expected to contribute on the outside this upcoming season, announced his transfer to Kentucky to be closer to family, leaving Odell Haggins with just nine scholarship defensive linemen who won’t be true freshmen in 2019. Even still, six of those players are underclassmen.

Now, the unit is thinning out even further, at least for now. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Ja’Len Parks has undergone a surgical procedure on his foot, per his Instagram. We won’t be linking the actual post due to offensive language in the caption but this is another photo of his foot from Parks’ IG Story. The cause of his injury, nature, and timetable for his return haven’t yet been provided.

The former high school teammate of fellow redshirt sophomore Cory Durden hasn’t had the same success on the field. Instead, he missed all of 2018 with an injury and redshirted as a true freshman back in 2017. Parks hasn’t seen any playing time in Tallahassee thus far during his career and another injury may set him back even further. The Newberry native will by vying with interior linemen such as Cory Durden, Robert Cooper, Cedric Wood, and Tru Thompson for playing time behind Marvin Wilson in 2019.

Parks was one of the top members of Florida State’s 2017 recruiting class. He was ranked as the No. 140 overall prospect, the No. 9 DT, and the No. 25 prospect in the state of Florida. Parks was the second highest-rated interior defensive lineman, the highest being Marvin Wilson, to sign with the ‘Noles in #Tribe17. If he can stay healthy, which is definitely an unknown at this time, we’ve seen coach Haggins wring the water out of many stones during his days.

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle recorded four sacks and 14 tackles for loss as a senior in high school. He could certainly still develop into a useful player under the tutelage of one of the top DL coaches in the nation.

We’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.

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