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Sunday, June 30, 2013
Park focuses on future after commitment

By Jeremy Crabtree

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- While reporters peppered Sean White, the lone uncommitted quarterback at the Elite 11, with questions about his status, Jacob Park paused for a second, shook his head and smiled.

Park, the 6-foot-3, 197-pound quarterback from Goose Creek (S.C.) Statford, was in the same shoes as White a few weeks back. That all changed on June 14 when Park committed to Georgia. Since then life has been quite different.

"It's a weight lifted off my shoulders," Park, the nation's No. 182 player and No. 6 dual-threat quarterback, said following Sunday's practice at the Elite 11.

"I talked to coach (Mike) Bobo the day after I committed, and he mentioned how things were going to slow down. He said life would start to return to normal. After the two weeks straight of all the media calling me, now everything has calmed down. Now everybody's not calling me. I don't have a million coaches to talk to. I'm more comfortable."

That comfort level has helped him focus on getting better at the Elite 11. Park admits he's learned a lot through the first three days of practices, but he's also struggled in some areas.

"These first couple of days have been absolutely challenging physically," Park said. "And with the physical part comes the mental part. They try to teach us to be positive, and it's been rough. I'm getting through it. They're teaching us breathing techniques to keep mentally on a stable path. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.

"So far the biggest thing I've learned is that I'm not in as good of shape as I thought I was. Yesterday morning, we got up at 4:30 and ran up a mountain. It wasn't a good time for me. I had to really dig deep mentally to get it done physically."

But he has. And that's helped him feel more comfortable with each repetition on the field.

"Today was better," Park said. "I've starting to feel it more and more. I'm a gamer. So I'm ready for the start of the 7-on-7 at The Opening. I think we'll all be more comfortable when we're out there playing games."