By Ty Pimienta, reporting intern
Once upon a time, Parker Houston was a center.
After two years of snapping the ball to the quarterback, Houston moved to tight end. It was a good move.
Houston is one of the most highly-touted tight end prospects on the west coast and has verbally committed to San Diego State.
“I think that it was fairly easy for me,” Houston said of the transition. “When I got moved to center, freshman and sophomore year, it was better for the team. Because I was the only kid that could get the ball back to the quarterback.”
“So when I got pulled up (to varsity), I played scout team tight end. So I got knocked around a bit, but I caught most of the balls thrown at me. The transition was awesome, I mean, it sucked learning the whole new playbook all over again, but it was definitely worth it.”
Reed coach Ernie Howren, who coached the Raiders to their fifth-straight regional title this fall, said Houston’s build and athleticism that led to changing Houston’s position.
“It was the size and the strength right away was the first thing, and then second was his hands,” Howren said.
But it’s not just Houston’s physical attributes that separate him.
“I think he (Houston) is the most confident kid I’ve ever been around and he’s not afraid to let you know it,” Howren said. “I mean that both in good ways, he’s truly a guy that backs up everything he says and he’s not afraid to let you know that I’m the best.”
In his junior year, Houston had 40 receptions for 525 yards and 10 touchdowns. This season, with defenses paying attention, he caught 41 balls for 368 yards and six touchdowns.
Almost expectedly, Houston’s skillset doesn’t stop there. He recorded 3.5 sacks playing defensive line this year at times and was the team’s long snapper.
Last year during the offseason, Houston worked with former NFL tight end and long snapper, J. J. Milan.
“He really helped me, he helped me with my 40 stances, my ten-five-tens or my vertical jumps,” Houston said. “He helped me get ready for the combines or like the camps I was gonna do.”
Houston attended five camps such as; the Nike Opening Camp in Oakland, the Under Armour Camp in Las Vegas and Louisville Cardinals Camp, and University of Nevada, Reno.
“I think it was awesome,” Houston said. “I mean, working with a guy that’s been in the NFL, you know, every little kid’s dream that plays football wants to make it there.”
After a full offseason of camps and working with Milan, Houston believes his final season at Reed was his best one, although it’s a close call.
“I’d love to say this year just because, you know, it’s easier for me to play tight end now that I had a year under my belt. But God, last year was one of the best times of my life so it’s very tough to pick,” said Houston.
Offensively, Houston benefited from having a close relationship with senior quarterback Matt Denn.
“We’ve been friends since first grade,” Denn said. “I mean, just growing up with him and being able to come out here and finish our years of high school together is great.
“He runs great routes and catches the ball when it’s thrown his way, he does a great job blocking for me when we are running.”
Houston had the attentions of numerous college recruiters, including Boise State and Oregon State, before verbally committing to San Diego State.
“The fact that it’s close, you know, the fact that they’re a great program and competing for the Mountain West Title every year,” Houston said of his decision. “The guys that they’ve been producing and I think that when I visited, it was a great family atmosphere and I really liked how the players worked in with each other and how the coaches treated the players and just, you know, I felt like it was the right fit for me.”