Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
football coach John Vogt will never have to convince his younger players about the importance of getting their tails into the weight room on a regular basis. All he has to do is point at Mitchell Parsons
to showcase the benefits of a dedicated workout routine.
It wasn't so long ago that Parsons, the Wolverines' University of Colorado-bound tight end, was an athlete long on potential but thin on … well, Parsons was just plain thin. A few years later - years filled with countless hours of punishing repetitions in the weight room - and Parsons has evolved quickly into one of the top tight end recruits in the nation.
"He was always a good athlete, but he wasn't the kind of kid where you would go, ‘Wow,'" Vogt said about the No. 9 player in the Class of 2013 tight end rankings
. "He figured out the weight room part of it. In the summer before last year, during seven-on-seven drills he started catching everything and showed something we hadn't seen yet. Last year was a breakout year for him as far as being a receiver goes."
Parsons continues to shine in the weight room. Last season, Vogt estimates that Parsons played with about 210 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame. This season, Parsons is weighing in at about 235 pounds and has not lost an ounce of the explosiveness that makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
"I lift every morning from Monday through Thursday for at least two hours," Parsons said. "I didn't know how important it was at first. I kind of looked at it like it was a pain. But last summer and this summer, it has really clicked. As soon as camp started I could tell the difference."
Parsons became an instant offensive force during his first season as a starter last year. After missing the entire 2010 campaign due to a broken ankle, Parsons essentially jumped from the freshman squad into the varsity starting lineup. The abrupt promotion didn't faze him, as he led the Wolverines in every pass-catching category, finishing with 35 receptions for 634 yards and five touchdowns. Among Parsons' many highlights was a five-catch, 151-yard performance with three touchdowns in the Wolverines' shutout win against Highlands Ranch.
While Parsons may have surprised some opponents out of the gate last year, the University of Colorado recruit will not enjoy that luxury this season. Expect Vogt to utilize Parsons in an array of formations in order to take advantage of his size and create defensive mismatches.
"I love getting the ball, but I don't need 10 catches a game or anything like that," Parsons said. "We have a good running back, and if teams want to double team me or always put the safety over me, someone else will be open. And we have a lot of guys who can make plays."