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Tyler Parker’s viral photo is just the beginning
Tyler Parker caught everyone's attention by posting this video. The 14-year-old went viral because of it. (Courtesy: Twitter/@iam_tylerparker)

Tyler Parker’s viral photo is just the beginning

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (BVM) – Tyler Parker knew before he went viral that he would someday do that. The 14-year-old sophomore nose tackle for Santa Margarita Catholic has been active on YouTube, developing a following but it was a post on Twitter this past summer that caught everyone’s attention. 

“I knew there was going to be a certain point where I was going to go viral somehow, someway,” Parker said. “I have a YouTube account so I’m really deep into social media so the viral photo and everything that went on, some great things have happened with it but I knew how to maneuver through it.”

Parker posted a picture following a workout with the caption, “Grinding in Silence.” The silence ended after everyone saw the 6-foot, 290-pound defensive lineman in that picture. MaxPreps, Barstool Sports as well as others picked up the picture while everyone tried to accept the fact that a 14-year-old looked like he should be in the NFL. He got the nickname “Teen Hulk” for obvious reasons and even appeared on national television with Mario Lopez.

Tyler Parker 14 year old massive 14 year old teen hulk
Tyler Parker has become a run stopper for Santa Margarita Catholic. (Courtesy: Tyler Parker)

The attention reached college coaches, too, and Parker saw his recruitment heat up. Fan bases and coaches loved the 14-year-old who was already the size of NFL superstar Aaron Donald.

“A lot of the big-time offers started to roll through after the viral photo,” Parker said. 

He’s already received Division I offers from Miami, Notre Dame, Colorado, Cal and Arizona before playing a down of varsity football. 

It’s been amazing but Parker knew something like this would happen. Over the last year, he has been posting videos to his YouTube page. Workout videos, vlog posts, videos of trips to camps and visits to college; all of it has gone on the YouTube page. Parker’s presence online is partly to help his Division I prospects but more importantly, it’s to tell his story. 

“If I have kids or anything I just want to leave a platform,” Parker said. “I feel like in this day and age of our generation, we don’t really know who our grandparents were or how they were so I would ask those questions. I feel like if I can film my life on a platform called YouTube, my kids can always type in my name and see how I was or my grandkids can see how I was if anything ever happens to me.”

It’s a modern diary, the newest version of home videos that require no VCR or DVD player. It sets up Parker with the opportunity to show his children and grandchildren just how good dad and grandpa was at football, and Parker is good at football. 

In his first year on varsity with the Santa Margarita Catholic Eagles, Parker is already seeing double and triple teams from opposing offensive lines. 

“If I’m getting a double team or triple team I know my linebackers or my defensive ends, they’re getting a one-on-one where they can get that sack or that tackle for loss,” Parker said. 

Parker knows he will get his chances even with the added attention, it’s just about being patient and waiting for his moment. 

In those moments, he’s breaking blocks and being a menace to the opposing team’s run game or getting to the quarterback. Although he watches Donald highlights to study how the Rams great does what he does, Parker also likes to study Warren Sapp film because of Sapp’s run-stopping ability. That is what Parker prides himself on. 

He entered the season as a second-team All-American and as the season continues, Parker will show off why the hype behind the photo is real. While he’s doing that, Parker will also be adding to his legacy, documenting his journey so his family can see.