From being homeless, to becoming one of Tennessee's rising football stars: Fox 17 News talks with the Metro Schools Senior who fought against all odds to land on next year's roster for the Vols.
Of course, this isn't the senior year that William Parker had imagined, but he's looking on the bright side, especially after announcing his commitment to play for Tennessee next year. But it certainly wasn't an easy road for him to get to this point.
18-year-old William Parker has a very optimistic outlook on life.
"Keep a smile, always stay positive, the negative can't come," Parker said.
This sunny attitude persists, even despite the rough times he's been through. Growing up, he says his father was in and out of jail, and some of his siblings went down the wrong paths too. He was 13 when his brother was killed.
"It hurt me a lot, but that's what also made me go harder, because at that point it was like, I don't have nobody to really lean on no more, so I've got to lean on myself and make myself the best I can be," Parker said.
Shortly after that, more hard times, when his family lost their home, and Parker was left homeless, bouncing from home to home for almost two years. He says he never really shared what was going on in his personal life with his friends or coaches.
But now, Parker knows his best days are ahead of him.
"There's always going to be sunshine at the end of the road," Parker said. "Bad times never last, that's how it always is."
An offensive and defensive lineman for Pearl Cohn High School, Parker just announced his commitment to play for the Vols last Friday. He's the first person on his mom's side to go to college.
"Felt like it was probably one of the best decisions I could've made in my life for right now," Parker said.
Parker's Pearl Cohn Coach, Tony Brunetti, says he's happy to see him advancing to the next level, against all odds.
"God blessed him with an opportunity, to take advantage of the opportunity, and he's a good kid, he's deserving, and I hope I can help other kids get the same opportunity as I helped him," Brunetti said.
MNPS does have resources for homeless families. Click here for more information.