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Corey Parker to Join Illinois Staff as DB Coach

Jul 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; A general view of a Big 10 and Illinois Fighting Illini helmet on display during Big 10 media days at Lucas Oil Stadium.
© Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Parker is cashing in on coaching a first-round draft pick in Quinyon Mitchell and is jumping from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten Conference to join Bret Bielema's staff at the University of Illinois.


Bielema Makes a Splash in New Hire

The University of Illinois is adding Corey Parker previously with the Toledo Rockets as their new defensive backs coach on the heels of getting a commitment from former Texas star cornerback Terrance Brooks. Parker was the cornerbacks coach and the defensive pass game coordinator for the Rockets.

While at Toledo Parker had the chance to work with Quinyon Mitchell a young man who was not playing football anywhere in 2019 and turned him into not only a first-round pick in the recent NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was also the first defensive back taken off the board.


Who is Corey Parker

Parker, a Detroit native, played his college football at Eastern Michigan where he was a three-year letterman at defensive back. Before Parker joined Toledo, he grew River Rouge (MI) into one of the most dominant teams in the state of Michigan. While at River Rouge Parker led the Panthers to a staggering 113-34 record while turning out D -1 talent and sending players to the NFL and winning the state title in 2019.

In the two years at Toledo, Parker helped the Rockets secondary rank in the top 10 in defensive pass efficiency. Parker was instrumental in developing Mitchell into a two-time All-American and led the nation with 44 passes defended, a stat that led the nation over those two years. Parker was also instrumental in keeping Mithcell at Toledo despite being pursued by Power Five heavy hitters like Alabama and Michigan.

Mitchell was not the only former player coached by Paker to hear their name called at the 2024 draft as Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro was taken in the second round and Kamal Hadden the former Tennessee defensive back, both played for Parker at River Rouge.

Parker said this in a statement:

"I am grateful for the opportunity to join the Illinois football program under Coach Bielema's leadership. During my interview, I had a great feeling about the coaches and the future of the program. There is a great continuity within the staff and a great vision for success. We will miss Toledo dearly because of the great sense of community and the relationships we have built there, yet, my wife Autumn, and our children are excited to start this new chapter in Champaign."

Parker's contract is pending approval by the Board of Trustees in July.


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