Florida State hosted a ton of talent last weekend as recruits from around the country flocked to Tallahassee to watch the Seminoles take on Notre Dame. 2023 quarterback commitment Chris Parson was one of those prospects in attendance and he was blown away by his first experience inside Doak Campbell Stadium for a game.
“A lot of people didn’t think Florida State was going to be able to hang in there with Notre Dame," Parson said to NoleGameday's Dustin Lewis. "Florida State, they came to play man, especially that defensive line, they did a great job. It was great watching Jordan [Travis] play and watching McKenzie [Milton] come in and do what he did. Just the atmosphere, being at the game was crazy."
"This was my first game inside of Doak Campbell," Parson continued. "I enjoyed every minute of it. I received a lot of love, going to the concession stand, seeing fans, and taking pictures with them. That was awesome and shows how great the fanbase is. The whole night, even when Florida State was down by 18 to begin the fourth quarter, as far as fans, you couldn’t tell. Everyone was on their feet, they were loud on third downs. Where the recruits were sitting, to the left of us was the band and to the right was the student section so we were in a loud spot. I loved everything about it. Florida State came up short at the end but it was still a hard-fought game. I’m just super proud of those guys. I heard McKenzie say something postgame about how he doesn’t believe in moral victories and I don’t either but it was still good for Florida State to go out there and set the tone and let the world know we’re on the road back.”
In FSU's first full-capacity home game since 2019, fans packed the stadium early and with a feverish passion. There was a buzz in the air leading up to kickoff as everyone welcomed in the return of college football. From beginning to end, the atmosphere had Parson fired up.
“I loved it," Parson said. "When we first got inside the stadium, we were on the sideline for pregame warmups. Seeing Florida State fans come out and warm up and the crowd going crazy, seeing Notre Dame players coming out and the crowd booing. It was great, it gave me chills. Playing in an atmosphere like that, it brings a lot out of you, especially when you're trying to stay focused and locked in. When you hear the crowd roar, it makes you want to go ten times harder. It just lit a fire inside of me. I came out to practice the next day and I was just imagining myself playing in Doak Campbell and I was so locked in. I know that’s gonna be me someday. It was a great feeling being inside the stadium, watching the game, and envisioning myself playing in a Florida State uniform in front of the fans on TV Sunday night. Hearing everybody, watching Chief Osceola and Renegade run out and throw the spear down. I’ve seen it all the time on TV but actually being there and witnessing it, it’s second to none for sure.”
The talented junior had his eye on the quarterbacks throughout the night and liked what he saw from both Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton. Parson has developed a friendship with Travis and got a chance to sit down with him in the locker room after the game.
“It was great watching Jordan [Travis] play," Parson said. "The first few drives, I think they were three and outs, but you could see him getting comfortable. Regardless of turnovers, he did a lot of good things on the field. It was great seeing him deliver the ball and make people miss with his legs. For McKenzie [Milton] to come in and do what he did, that was awesome. That was something you can’t make up, you can’t write up. His first pass, I think it was an 18-yard gain on a corner route, that was his first play here. For him to lead us down to a touchdown, that was crazy to see. The fans were going crazy, I was going crazy, people were texting me about it. To see both of the quarterbacks go out there and play, that was something special, they both did a really good job and I’m proud of both of them. I actually got to talk to Jordan after the game but I remember just sitting there and him giving me words of advice. I’m looking forward to watching this week’s game against Jacksonville State and the remainder of the season.”
Outside of watching the Seminoles open the season, Parson spent a lot of time recruiting other prospects to join him in garnet and gold throughout the course of the weekend. One of his main targets is 2023 five-star wide receiver Jalen Brown and they've begun to build a relationship. He also spoke to a few current commits including tight end Randy Pittman, offensive lineman Qae'Shon Sapp, and quarterback AJ Duffy.
“I did a whole bunch, specifically my guy Jalen Brown," Parson said. "That’s my dog, we spent a lot of time together this past Sunday. Regardless of him being a great receiver and athlete, he’s a great person as well. We clicked, had some great conversations, and we were chopping it up most of the time before the game. The recruits that were also down there, Randy Pittman, we were chopping it up. Omar Graham, I didn’t get to speak to him but we’re really cool. Qae’Shon Sapp, it was great finally getting a chance to meet him. He was one of the guys that was recruiting me back when I visited, it was great talking to him. I got to spend some time with AJ [Duffy], real cool guy. It’s like family and building a relationship with these guys is going to be really important since we’re talking about the future here. I was talking to some other guys today like Kelton Smith Jr, a big lineman out of Georgia. He said he enjoyed Florida State when he came down. I’m throwing that recruiting hat on and trying to get the best guys in here to do something special. I’m ready to get this thing rolling bro.”
Did Parson's experience last weekend make him feel like he made the right decision to commit to Florida State so early in his recruitment?
“Absolutely," Parson said. "I was already 100% locked in but getting down there this weekend, being at the game, that gave me the reassurance I know this is the spot I want to be in. There’s no question as to why I chose Florida State. I’m locked in, I love this university, it’s been my dream school since I was a kid and nothing has changed. Being down there this weekend, I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The Ravenwood product has enjoyed a successful start to his junior season as the Raptors sit at 2-1 through three games. They fell in week one but have had two strong performances since, including a 46-10 drubbing of Franklin High School last Friday in which Parson sat out the fourth quarter.
Their toughest test of the year to this point will come tonight as Ravenwood prepares for a home game against Life Christian Academy. LCA is one of the top teams in Virginia and boasts multiple FBS prospects. Parson is always up for a challenge.
“I’m feeling great," Parson said. "Offense, we’ve been doing a pretty good job. We’re just locked in, especially this week, we’ve got a really good opponent coming in, Life Christian Academy. It’s gonna be a good test. Last week, we played Franklin High School, we won 46-10, our preparation throughout that week is kind of what got us the dub. We had a great week of practice and we wanted to build some momentum. It’s been going great, we lost the first game but we bounced back in week two with a hard-fought victory. Last week we handled business. We’re gonna keep this thing rolling.”
"We know what type of game this is gonna be, especially for Ravenwood, with a great opponent coming down," Parson continued. "We’re not taking this for granted, we’re gonna enjoy the moment, and do what we have to do to win. I’m looking forward to handling business.”
As of September 1, class of 2023 prospects were allowed to be contacting by college coaching staff's directly. Parson heard from head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham at midnight as well as a host of other schools. He was surprised by the amount of attention that came his way. That said, he was quick to let them know he is a Seminole.
“It was a lot," Parson said. "I didn’t think schools were going to hit me up as much because I am committed to Florida State. A lot of schools hit me up, most of the schools that offered me sent me graphics and other schools that I don’t have an offer from or don’t talk to have been contacting me. I’m pretty sure they all got the message that I’m locked in on Florida State as far as my tweets and the way I respond to them. I stay respectful but it’s not the same as when I’m talking to coach Dillingham, coach Norvell, or coach Thomsen.”
Parson hopes to return to Florida State at some point during the season to watch another game if the dates work out. He's locked in and has no plans to visit other schools moving forward.
“I’m probably going to try and come back to Tallahassee on my bye week but I have to make sure that’s the same week they have a home game. So, I don’t know as of right now but I’m gonna try my best to see another home game this year. As far as visiting other schools, going to their games, I’m not going. I don’t need to see anything from other schools. If they’re playing on TV, I might watch it if it’s the only thing on. If it’s not Florida State football, I want no parts of it. I’m locked in on the Seminoles, I won’t be going to any other schools to visit. I’m locked in on Florida State 100%. There’s no flipping going on over here.”
The 6-foot, 190-pound quarterback is ranked as the No. 305 overall prospect, the No. 18 QB and the No. 8 recruit in the state of Tennessee in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.
Stick with NoleGameday as we track the remainder of Parson's junior season and his pledge to Florida State.