Parker Boudreaux is The Next Big Thing

The arena goes dark. The Titantron flashes.

The metallic screech of a specific heavy metal instrument floods your ears. An incredibly-muscular, heavily-tattooed guy punches the screen.

Then the drums hit. You know what's coming next.

It's The Next Big Thing.

That's right, it's Parker Boudreaux.

Oh, did you think I meant Brock Lesnar?

Well, they're one in the same in many regards. But one main reason -- you can describe both as 'the next big thing' and you would be entirely accurate.

If you didn't know by now, the next big thing aka Boudreaux is a 6-foot-4, 301-pound monster of a man at right guard on the inside for the UCF Knights. A member of the Knights since the 2017 season when he transferred from Notre Dame, Boudreaux has played 25 games in his UCF career to date and helped lead UCF to rank fifth in scoring, eighth in passing, 19th in rushing and second in overall total offense during the 2019 season.

And he's just getting started.

"My expectations for the 2020 season is to be the most dominant and most physical offensive line unit in football," Boudreaux said. "We play to win championships and that's what we're going to do!"

Boudreaux is no stranger to championships, so that championship mentality he has is based in fact, not theory.

Playing his high school football at Bishop Moore Catholic School in Edgewater, Florida, a Central Floridian by true nature, Boudreaux capped his high school career with the Hornets' first state championship in over 40 years when they finished 14-1 and a Florida Class 5A Championship.

"It was (an) unreal (experience)," Boudreaux said of playing high school football in Florida. "My goal in high school was to get our first-ever state championship in 40+ years, and my senior year we did! Unbelievable experience and something that I'll never forget."

He was also a member of the 2017 National Champion UCF Knights, albeit during the season that he had to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. But he still lived and breathed with those guys who finished 13-0 and defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

And with that championship mentality, a life lesson learned from anyone who speaks with Boudreaux understands that he takes it one day at a time. One game, one week at a time.

"My biggest motivation is going 1-0," Boudreaux said. "Going 1-0 in everything I do. Taking it one day at a time and controlling what I can control at that moment."

Speaking of controlling the moment, Boudreaux's incredible social media presence (if you haven't followed this sum'bitch by now, you're missing out) has shed light on his controlling of the moment during the global pandemic that has shut down the world as we knew it. When the sports world ground to a halt at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, athletes were essentially sent home. Cut off from their athletic training staff.

Some certainly struggled with that. Some struggled with motivation. Some struggled with finding the equipment or finding the area to get a work out in.

Boudreaux did not.

Finding time to work out is one thing. Finding crafty ways to work out is a completely different aspect. Boudreaux is so dedicated to his craft that he even pushed a goddamn car around the neighborhood.

And he knows who to thank. It's those who have been in his corner every day.

"My girlfriend Isabella and my family. They have been with me every second of the way, pushing me to continue to work out and grind to be the best I can possibly be."

Being the best you can possibly be is certainly an admirable quality. Striving for and ultimately reaching that goal is commendable.

Actually being the best is another. And that's the direction that Boudreaux is headed.

For his entire collegiate career, Boudreaux has yet to surrender a quarterback sack. Considering that analytics and the data showcase that interior pressure is increasingly valuable for a defense and more valuable than edge pressure, a sack from the interior of the defense is detrimental for an offense. And that's just what Boudreaux has yet to allow in his entire career.

Yet, you wouldn't know that when you talk to him. In fact, you'd think this was a guy who struggled last year, or the year prior and was working hard to make up for mistakes.

"Just got to continue to work on my craft and better myself every day. Never settle for anything less than great."

That attitude pays off, as much as working with Tom Shaw, the legendary speed coach who has worked with multiple Hall of Famers at the NFL level.

"I'm improving every day," Boudreaux said. "I love to watch film every single day whether it's old practices, scrimmages or games. You can't learn enough mentally. I have (also) been speed training with Coach Tom Shaw since I was in middle school. He has developed 11 Super Bowl MVPs."

That's a list of players that starts at Tom Brady, cuts to Michael Vick and includes Deion Sanders. Just a few.

So with all this time spent working out, grinding daily and playing in 25 career games at UCF, you'd assume that Boudreaux could hardly find time for his studies. But you'd be wrong. Academics are just as much a part of his college life as his days on the gridiron have been.

In fact, just this past week, Boudreaux graduated from UCF and received his diploma during UCF's virtual graduation ceremonies.

"It was a tremendous blessing. Being a student-athlete isn't the easiest thing in the world. It was awesome to see all the hard work I did academically pay off."

And yet, this is the guy who comes out looking just like Brock Lesnar. Fired up more than anyone else. A people-mover on the inside. When the team needs a boost or a kickstart to a game day, or even a practice, they needn't look much further than Boudreaux.

"I get them fired up. I listen to a lot of heavy metal and rap when it's game time. Me and the offensive line get FIRED UP every game day."

That fired-up nature quite literally translates onto the field. All you have to do is watch any game film from this past season. More often than not, you'll find big No. 61 pancaking someone in the run game or keeping a clean sheet in pass protection just the same.

That never-stop, always-grind attitude is seen all over the field in a Knights uniform. It's very clear to see how much he loves what he does.

"There's a different feeling about run-blocking. There's no greater feeling than moving a man from Point A to Point B against his will."

There's also no better feeling than watching Boudreaux move a man from Point A to Point B, so long as there's a pancake at the end, which there typically is.

Now that sports have been cleared to return, for the most part, the 2020 season looks to be on. It looks to be ready for action. Ready for Boudreaux. Ready for the guy who's played football since he was nine years old. A guy who's blocked the likes of Sheldon Day or Rashan Gary, guys he says have been among the best he's had to block.

A guy who is The Next Big Thing. Sorry, Brock, move over. That moniker is Boudreaux's now.

I mean, c'mon, he's bigger, taller, more tattooed, and quite frankly, quite a bit younger.

And he's got serious NFL potential. I mean serious NFL potential.

But that's later. Right now it's going 1-0 at UCF. Going 1-0 in everything he does.

And that's a hell of a way to go.

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