When you think of Texas Tech football, you think of great wide receivers. Michael Crabetree was a two time Biletnikoff award winner. Wes Welker is a ring of honor member who also transformed the NFL. Danny Amendola had several big performances on the national stage.
However, when you think of great receivers to wear the scarlet and black, one of the first names you should mention is the great, and unfortunately now late, Dave Parks. The Split End from the early sixties who was monumental not only at the collegiate level but also the professional one.
Parks played Split End, which is a position that doesn’t exist anymore, but most commonly resembles your modern day wide receiver. He also played defense as well, which is something you rarely see in college football nowadays.
The Abilene native caught 80 passes for 1107 yards and six touchdowns in his three years at Texas Tech, with the first two being school records for a career at the time. His biggest year was his final year, when he caught 32 passes for 499 yards and four touchdowns. Parks led the Southwest Conference in receptions and yards per reception that year, along with finishing top 3 in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards.
The Southwest Conference recognized his greatness by naming him an All-Southwest Conference selection in both 1962 and 1963. His stats were so great his junior year that he was named an All-American by eight different publications. One of those eight was a first team All-American selection by the AP, the first ever for a Red Raider.
Although Parks wasn’t as successful as a pro, he still made a huge impact on the game. It all started when he was taken first overall in the 1964 NFL Draft, the lone Red Raider to be selected first overall and the first Split End to ever be drafted hi that position.
Over the course of his first few seasons in San Francisco, Parks was electric. He was a pro bowler his first three seasons and was an first team All-Pro in 1965 and 1966. His best year by far was in 1965, in which he led the league in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,344) and receiving touchdowns (12). In fact, nobody would reach 1,344 yards again til 1981, and no one would reach 80 catches again til 1978.
Parks combined for 182 catches, 3,021 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career, with his lowest totals per season was 36 catches, 703 yards and five touchdowns. However, Parks would not reach those totals again in his final seven season, with the exception of six touchdowns in 1972.
In 2012, Texas Tech unrelieved their ring of honor. They started out with three great Red Raiders, one of which was Parks. He is one of five players to have their number retired by Texas Tech. There’s no surprise that he was also voted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
When you walk into the Texas Tech athletic facility, one of the jerseys on display is Parks. Please, when talk about the great Red Raider football players and the best receivers to wear the Double T, don’t forgot Dave Parks’ name.
- Tech star Dave Parks, three-time All-Pro, dies at 77 – When worked at the Lubbock A-J, anytime I need to ask a question about Tech history, Don was always the guy I went to. He’s probably going to have the best feature on Parks, so it would be wise to read this.
- Red Raider legend Dave Parks has died at age 77 – Another one, this time from everythinglubbock.com with some tibits about his non-offensive accolades.
- Texas Tech Athletics Mourns the Passing of Dave Parks – This one is from the official website, with more accolades concerning his college days.