April 27, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University senior Michael Parenton signed a free agent contract with the New York Jets late Sunday night, becoming the second Green Wave player from the 2008 squad to join the NFL ranks after fellow classmate Troy Kropog was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round on Sunday.
Parenton is the first Tulane player to sign a free agent contract with the Jets since former TU standout Patrick Ramsey played the 2006 season in New York as the back-up quarterback.
"The Jets called me at the beginning of the seventh round and were interested in signing me as a free agent if I didn't get drafted," Parenton said. "There were not a lot of centers drafted, so when the draft was over we finalized the deal late Sunday night. The Jets are a great organization with a new coach in Rex Ryan and this is a great opportunity for me. Bill Callahan is an experienced line coach that will be great to play for and I am looking forward to working hard and trying to make the roster."
A 6-2, 292-pound center from Thibodaux, La., who prepped at E.D. White High School, Parenton was a four-year letterwinner and starter for the Green Wave from 2004-08. He started 46 of 49 career games on the offensive line, including the final 30 games of his collegiate career, and was a two-time Wuerffel Award candidate and a four-time All-Conference USA performer.
This past season, Parenton served as a team captain and started all 12 games at center for the Green Wave. He was an honorable mention All-Conference USA performer and was selected to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Second Team.
"Michael was a mainstay on the offensive line at both guard and center throughout his career at Tulane," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "He was a great leader and a hard worker for us. We are very pleased that he is getting this opportunity and we wish him the best."
Parenton started all 12 games at right guard and earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors during his junior campaign and was named to the Rotary Lombardi Watch List. He helped pave the way for 2,000-yard rusher Matt Forte in 2007, and helped the Tulane offense to the second-best single season rushing total (2,412 yards) and scoring total (26 TDs) in school history.
During his sophomore season of 2006, Parenton started 11 of 12 games at center and had his string of 16 straight starts snapped at UTEP because of food poisoning, and received honorable mention All C-USA honors.
Parenton earned Conference USA All-Freshman accoldaes after starting all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2005.
A finance major, Parenton was a four-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and Tulane's 3.0 Club and was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, including serving as the SAAC President in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and he was also a member of the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame committee.