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Clemson Football

Parker Fulghum: Perfect for Clemson and the Program's Legacy No. 13

February 23, 2024
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Receiver Parker Fulghum‍ from Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, LA fulfilled a childhood dream by committing to Clemson over LSU on Jan. 19 and then officially signing on Feb. 7.

On each momentous day, Fulghum, who received preferred walk-on offers from both schools for 2024, was accompanied by his mom, Sara Fulghum, and Peyton, his twin brother and quarterback at Evangel.

"Clemson has been a dream school for him for as long as I can remember," said Sara. "I am thrilled with Parker’s choice of Clemson." 

The success of the program under head coach Dabo Swinney has made it attractive to recruits across the U.S. but football wasn't the primary draw for the Fulghums.

"We once watched a special on Coach Swinney and how his mom lived with him in college and since then I’ve told Parker and his brother Peyton that I was going to be like Coach Swinney’s mom and live with them, when they go to college."

Fulghum hails from a program in Evangel that is faith-based and was featured in the docuseries God. Family. Football. on Amazon Prime. The Fulghums are among the families, players, and coaches highlighted in the series as the Eagles battled through a challenging 2022 season. 

Sara and Peyton with Parker on his Jan. 19 visit to Clemson

“I'm a Christian and he's a great Christian," said Fulghum when explaining why he chose to play for Swinney, who leads his program through his faith similar to legendary Evangel head coach Denny 'Pastor' Duron. 

"The fact that Parker is going to be playing for Dabo now is surreal,” added Sara. “I have no doubt that being a Clemson Tiger is the right choice for him, and I can not wait to watch him play in (the original) Death Valley."

Yes. She said 'the original' Death Valley. Sara attended LSU and is a former member of the Golden Girl's dance team, so her comment is not intended to shade her alma mater or the Bayou Bengals' fans. 

She's just merely stating a fact. 

"We did our homework," explained the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. "I wanted to know which one was first and Clemson was definitely the original."

Clemson was tagged the moniker in 1948 by former Presbyterian College head football coach Lonnie McMillan while LSU was tabbed on Jan. 1, 1959.

Fulghum is also the son of former LSU quarterback Josh Booty and the nephew of former receiver Abram Booty, Josh's younger brother, therefore, the family's connection to LSU is significant and incredibly strong. 

"Clemson has just always been the team that we rooted for but LSU as well," Fulghum said. "Our parents went there and loved it. But they support my decision. My dad even said if he could go back in time, he would probably go to Clemson now too."

The next No. 13?

Fulghum caught many passes from Peyton (No. 7) in his red, white, and blue No. 13 Evangel jersey but the duo initially formed their chemistry on the playgrounds and in backyards by emulating a pair of Clemson greats. 

"He was Deshaun Watson and I was Hunter Renfrow," noted Fulghum. "Since I was little bitty, I modeled my routes after him (Renfrow). I actually wore 13 in high school and middle school because of Hunter Renfrow. He has some things that are God-given, that you can't teach and I've been looking over those for so long now."

At 6'1, 190, Fulghum is bigger than Renfrow (5'10, 184), the fifth-year Las Vegas Raiders receiver, and faster, clocked at 4.40 on laser vs Renfrow's 4.59, but both felt they were overlooked by schools.

Renfrow, a prep quarterback, flew under the radar because of his size, and uncertainty about his position, and in college, his appearance was a topic of discussion. Even Swinney said the former walk-on resembled an athletic trainer more than a college football player.

Fulghum thinks appearance was a factor in his recruitment. 

"I'm a white guy receiver. Plus, I wear glasses. I think those things have hurt me," said the three-time 4A all-state receiver. "It's comical. But it's me. I play like this and I destroyed kids like this. "

Parker with Wide Receivers Coach Tyler Grisham (L) and Offensive Coordinator Garrett Riley (R) in January

Fulghum amassed 253 catches, 4,233 receiving yards, and 45 touchdowns at Evangel, great numbers and nothing to snicker at, but only Grambling State, Nicholls State, and Northwestern State offered Div-I scholarships. 

However, despite the lack of offers, he doesn't view it as disrespect. He just embraces the challenge. 

"I've adopted that [underdog mentality] and that's kind of my thing now," he stated. "I've grown into it. I love it."

Renfrow, wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham, Adam Humphries, and Brannon Spector, who will transfer to Jacksonville State, all wore 13. The number has its own legacy associated with Tigers' receivers since 2005 and it's available for 2024.

Will the Louisiana speedster, who carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom, wear No. 13?

"We talked about it on my visit and it’s the only number under 20 that's available," Fulghum replied. "And so as of now, I've been told that I will get to wear it. But nothing is ever set in stone. You never know. But I believe I will get it."

Fulghum is scheduled to enroll this summer before arriving again in the fall. Could he reunite with Peyton when school starts in August? 

Peyton has offers to play football at Nicholls State, Southern Arkansas, and others but baseball is in his future. He recently took a visit to Wichita State and met with Clemson head coach Erik Bakich on Parker's visit.

"We are surely hoping so," remarked Sara on the potential of Peyton joining his brother in the Upstate. "I know if it’s God’s plan for him to be there -- he will be."

And what if it is God's plan, will Sara be her sons’ roommate? 

She laughed, "That remains to be seen."

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Parker Fulghum: Perfect for Clemson and the Program's Legacy No. 13

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