David Borne | Staff Writer
Despite growing up in Florida, Daniel Parr has always been a passionate Pittsburgh sports fan.
The Florida Atlantic transfer can often be seen donning black and gold, and cherishes memories of the Steelers XLIII victory and recent back-to-back Penguins Stanley Cup runs. This upcoming fall, Parr will have the chance to create some Steel City sports moments of his own as a quarterback for Duquesne.
“Both my mom and my dad’s sides of the family are from Pittsburgh. Pretty much half of my family still lives up here so I would always visit them in the summer and winter,” Parr said, regarding his Pittsburgh connection. “Since I’ve been here in January, I think I’ve been to five Penguins games, and I went to the Pirates home opener.”
Parr played in eight games for FAU as a redshirt sophomore last season but admitted that transferring was something that had been on his mind for a while.
“To be honest, I considered leaving FAU last spring because I hurt my foot and had to get surgery and I didn’t really know where things stood. So my dad started reaching out to different schools and my high schools coaches,” he said.
“Duquesne was one of the schools, and I knew of Duquesne obviously because I had been to Pittsburgh. I ultimately chose to stay for the spring, and I played in the beginning of the season last year before I decided to leave. Duquesne was still in contact with my dad, and I felt like it was a good fit.”
High school reunion —
Joining Parr at Duquesne will be his former teammate from William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Isaiah Johnson-Mack. The pair spent one season together on the same team there and connected for 791 yards and eight touchdowns during Parr’s senior season.
When Johnson-Mack decided to leave Washington State, he gave his former QB a call to see what Parr’s future plans were.
“He reached out to me and said he was interested in leaving Washington State. I told him that I was headed here, so he came up for his visit in the beginning of January. He really liked it and wanted to rekindle our connection. We both felt like it would be a good fit for us.”
Along with Johnson-Mack, Duquesne returns last season’s NEC leading receiver Nehari Crawford. With Kareem Coles and Kellon Taylor back as well, Parr was impressed by his targets during spring ball.
“Our receiving core looks really good; they had a really good spring,” Parr said. “I’m just looking forward to getting into fall camp in a few months and progressing into the season. I think we’re going to have a good year, and I think we’re going to turn people’s heads.”
The new guy —
Even with his success in spring ball, Parr acknowledged the challenges that come along with settling into a new locker room.
He’s still in the process of meeting everyone and matching names to faces. On top of that, the junior is still working on mastering Duquesne’s offense. With the help of his superiors, Parr’s transition into Duquesne’s system has been a smooth one.
“I’ve been able to build a relationship with the coaches. All of the coaches are really nice guys,” he said. “It’s going good so far. I’m still learning the offense, but I feel like I have a good grasp of it right now.”
Big things ahead —
After Duquesne’s season ended in rather heartbreaking fashion last year, Parr and the Dukes are hungry for more success. Even though he was not on last season’s roster, he shares a common goal with his new teammates.
“I’m looking forward to trying to win a conference championship, going to the [FCS] playoffs and trying to see how far we can take ourselves.”
The Dukes begin their quest for their first NEC Championship since 2016 on Aug. 25, when Duquesne’s regular season begins with a date with FBS opponent Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts.