Black Hornets from Jagodina (Serbia) are competing in the II division of SAAF (Serbian Association of American Football) and they have signed their first import player for the 2017 season, quarterback Jonathan Parks.
Parks was born in 1989 in Miami, Florida. His football journey is to say the least unusual because unlike most college players Parks did not play football in high school. After graduating he started attending flag football tournaments and was noticed by a junior college program from North Dakota (Dakota College at Bottineau) which decided to recruit him as their freshman quarterback.
During his stay at Dakota, Parks was a dual-threat quarterback but in his sophomore year began his transition to the wide receiver position and return specialist. He was inducted into Lumberjacks Hall of Fame. After two brilliant years at Dakota, Parks received numerous offers and decided to take his talents to the Wayne State University (NSIC division II) from Nebraska. Again, Parks had a major role in the return game as well as being a dangerous receiving option. He attended Wayne state in both of his junior and senior years.
I got in touch with the Hornets organization on Europlayers website and then followed the coach on social media and we began to connect from there. What made me sign with them was the interest they showed in me and the effort they put into communicating with me and it caught my attention. I soon decided that this is the right team for me. – Parks began his story
On his thoughts about coming to Serbia and leading his new teammates Parks stated:
I’m pretty excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a whole different atmosphere from what I'm use to which is Miami, Florida. I know they’re nice guys who want to win and who love the game of football. I’m ready to meet my new teammates and brothers!
When asked about his goals for the 2017 season, Parks was pretty clear - -I wanna win! I hope I can bring passion and leadership to this team, I want to win a championship, take a shot at the playoffs and go undefeated! Anything is possible once we become a unit and trust each other. I know it's going to take practice and time to get on the same page with each other, but once we get going everybody better watch out for those Hornets!
Hornets’ offensive coordinator Andreja Živković stressed out the importance of this signing in terms of team growth and working with younger players.
-We began scouting for a potential QB back in November and since then we’ve interviewed a considerable number of players. John was simply the best fit, he’s a true playmaker and an incredible person who overcame much adversity throughout his career. Our receivers are young and talented, 3 of them were selected for the U19 national team so it is of utmost importance that someone like Parks helps them continue to grow and stay on the right path. That may be the biggest and most important aspect which Parks brings to the table. We’ve dealt with all the issues that were holding this organization back in the past and with the addition of Parks this team is becoming the number one contender for the div2 championship, have no doubt about that.
Miloš Stanojlović VP of the Black Hornets, stated that the board has managed to correct some organizational deficiencies and secure a home field for the season as well as greater funding - Last season, several organizational letdowns cost us our dream of playing in the top division. This year we’ve decided correct our mistakes. Besides starting the import scouting a little earlier, we were able to provide a field for our home games which meets the division I standards. We were able to provide more funds than usual and to recruit more young players than in the previous years. Organizationally speaking, the only thing that keeps us apart from our most successful clubs is a good sponsorship deal. Of course, we are making every effort to accomplish that in the near future. In the name of our organization, we would like to thank the local assembly of the City of Jagodina and Jagodina Sports Association who have helped and believed in us all these years, as well as the local company "Jumbo" Ltd.