Jameson Parsons lines up wide right. The ball is snapped and he flies up the sideline, black rubber specks from the turf crunching underneath his cleats, the ball sailing through the air like a torpedo. Parsons looks back and springs into the air, twisting his body, beating the defender, and snatching the ball right out of the sky for a huge gain and a first down. This was not the first, nor the last time he would make a catch like this.
For Parsons, it all comes natural. He has been playing football since the third grade where he started out as a running back; he also lettered three times at Eagan High School in football as a quarterback.
Now, being the natural athlete that he is, he lettered four times in basketball as well, which he says helped translate to some of his success on the gridiron. “My basketball skills helping me on the football field, like the one-on-one competition,” Parsons said.
Now, deciding between football and basketball might seem like a hard choice for someone who had so much success in both sports – but for Parsons, it was not quite as hard as it would seem. “Football has always been my first love. I didn’t really like being in a gym all day, the hardwood was tough on the knees. I just liked being outdoors,” Parsons said.
When Parsons first got to St. Cloud State University, he had been a quarterback and had found some success in doing so. However, the Cardinal and Black already had their man behind center, Phillip Klaphake, the most prolific passer in school history totaling over 10,000 passing yards and ranking second all-time with 88 passing touchdowns.
Once Klaphake graduated, South Dakota State University transfer Nate Meyer took on Parsons in a battle for the starting gig. When Meyer got the nod as the starting quarterback, Parsons made the transition to wide receiver where he credits Klaphake in helping him develop a better sense of everything happening on the field.
“I learned a lot, especially right away, from Phillip Klaphake being backup from him,” Parsons said. “Learning a lot about football IQ. It made the transition to receiver a lot easier. Learning the defenses and the routes and where the ball should be going on certain plays. I can’t complain and it’s all worked out. Everything happens for a reason,” he said.
Parsons would shine at his new position. The connection of Meyer to Parsons would be game breaking for the Huskies, where the chemistry between the two started early.
“It started in the quarterback meeting room,” said Parsons. “We would work together trying to understand the new offense. We would come together and it’s carried on since then,” he said.
It was quite apparent that it worked out well for both Parsons and Meyer, as Parsons would break out during the 2015 season, leading the NSIC conference in receiving yards with 1,217. The big play threat would average 20.85 yards per catch and finish fourth in the conference with nine receiving touchdowns, as well as be named an All-American for his efforts among several other awards. Including being named First Team All-NSIC, the NSIC All-Academic Team and being named an NSIC Britton Award Nominee for the conference’s top male student-athlete.
Parsons credits his work ethic to God. “Whatever I do, I work at it with all my heart and also one verse that comes to mind is Colossians 3:23, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for man.’ So that’s always been my mindset,” he said. Being out here, it doesn’t matter the position, I just like pushing it, trying to perfect my craft. I’ve been given these abilities for a reason and I want to use them to glorify the Lord. Some people don’t know when their last game is going to be, so I just try to enjoy it every day,” Parsons said.
Coming into this season, Parsons was named a preseason All-American and is off to a torrid pace to start his senior campaign. Through two games, Parsons leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns. The transition to wide receiver has been a smooth one for Parsons. It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s Jameson Parsons.