Three-star running back Ricky Parks commits to Utah football

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes fans cheer on their team, in PAC-12 football action between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.

The University of Utah’s 2021 recruiting class already included the presumed future of the program at quarterback. As of Sunday, the class now has its presumed future workhorse running back.

With Utes running backs coach Kiel McDonald doing the heavy lifting on the recruitment, Ricky Parks, a three-star recruit of Gaither High School in Tampa, Fla., offered a verbal commitment to the Utes on Sunday. Parks is the sixth commit for Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham’s 2021 recruiting class, which is headlined by Mission Viejo (Calif.) quarterback Peter Costelli. The four-star Costelli committed to Utah on April 11.

Parks will come to Salt Lake City next summer with some fanfare. According to the 247sports composite, Parks, who ran for 1,251 yards and 14 touchdowns last season as a junior at Jesuit High School, is the second-highest rated running back recruit in Utah history, behind only sophomore Jordan Wilmore.

Parks’ commitment means that McDonald’s position room is going to stay talented, if not deep, for the foreseeable future. Assuming football will be played this fall in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilmore and junior Devin Brumfield are expected to engage in a preseason battle to see who replaces Zack Moss, who broke every rushing record Utah had by the time last season was over.

Beyond Wilmore and Brumfield, redshirt freshman Micah Bernard and redshirt junior TJ Green will compete for carries, while the staff is high on incoming freshman Ty Jordan. A three-star recruit and one-time Texas commit, Jordan is considered a multidimensional threat capable of catching the ball out of the backfield, even returning kickoffs if necessary.

With Parks, Utah’s 2021 recruiting class is now ranked 84th nationally and 10th in the Pac-12 at this still-early juncture of the 2021 cycle. Utah’s 2020 class, headlined by four-star cornerback Clark Phillips III, finished ranked 29th nationally and fifth in the Pac-12.