KINGSVILLE, Texas - Newberry College safety Ron Parker has accepted an invitation to play in the 2011 Cactus Bowl scheduled for January 7, 2011. The game features the top 88 NCAA Division II seniors in the nation.
The Cactus Bowl will be played at Texas A&M-Kingsville's Javelina Stadium on January 7 at 7 p.m. CST. This will be the 17th year for the premier Division II senior all-star game, and the first to deviate from the traditional East vs. West format. The teams were chosen by the coaching staffs this season, and Parker will wear his familiar number 8 jersey for the Blue Devils.
Parker, a senior from St. Helena Island, S.C., has earned eight All-American honors at his safety position in his time at Newberry College. A second team Daktronics All-American and third team Associated Press Little All-American in 2010, Parker has been one of the premier safeties in Division II.
In 2010, Parker led the South Atlantic Conference in interceptions and fumble recoveries and making 59 tackles. Parker finished the regular season ranked 14th nationally in interceptions with 0.56 per game, and was one of fewer than 20 players at all levels of collegiate football to record eight takeaways this season, snagging five interceptions and recovering three fumbles. He had a career-best 16 tackles at Mars Hill and had a defensive takeaway in six of his nine games played, including two straight games with two takeaways and three straight games with a fumble recovery, including a 72-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Catawba.
Parker is the fourth player in Newberry history to play in the Cactus Bowl. Linebacker Andre Moyd played in the 2010 Cactus Bowl, center Zack Farr represented the scarlet and gray in the 2006 game and cornerback Jonathan Lyles participated in the 2005 game, sealing a win for the East squad with an interception of Pittsburg State's Neal Philpot on the West's final drive.
Other safeties on Parker's Blue Devils team include Marcus Shuford of Lenoir-Rhyne, Corey Robertson of Texas A&M-Kingsville and Darnell Burks of Fort Valley State.
For more information on the 2011 Cactus Bowl, please visit www.CactusBowl.org.