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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
OKPreps 14 for '14: S Steven Parker

By Bob Przybylo

Is the Class of 2014 crop of in-state talent the best Oklahoma has seen since 2006? With six recruits in the ESPN Watch List, it’s shaping up to be a busy recruiting year in the Sooner State. For the next three weeks, SoonerNation is going to profile the OKPreps’ 14 for ’14: a look at some of the top names and where they stand with OU.

Watch List S Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks, 6-2, 175)
2012 stats: 52 tackles, 3 interceptions.

If Oklahoma defensive backs coach Mike Stoops had his way, Parker would be kept a secret from the rest of the nation.

Steven Parker
ESPN Watch List defensive back Steven Parker wants to visit a few more schools before deciding.
It was Stoops who took a chance on Parker when almost absolutely nobody had heard of him following his sophomore season at cornerback.

He camped all three days at OU last summer, and it became apparent Stoops was ahead of the curve and a lot of people were going to be remembering Parker’s name.

OU was his first offer, but it sure as heck hasn’t been his last. And following an incredible junior season where he helped Jenks once again get back to the top of the mountain with a state championship, Parker has played his way into the ESPN Watch List.

OU fans are hoping the third time will be the charm with Parker. He initially thought about committing to the Sooners last summer when Jenks teammate, wide receiver Jordan Smallwood, pledged to OU.

Then the thought crossed his mind again early in the fall, but he resisted. Not because he doesn’t love the Sooners or the staff but because he really wants to see what else is out there.

Months later, and Parker is in the same spot. He still really likes OU but wants to see some other out of state programs. Like Alabama, who offered Parker in the fall.

“I would love to see the campus and see what that’s all about,” Parker said. “They have a great tradition, and they’re doing so well right now. I never saw that offer coming. It was definitely something that made me stop and think.”

So inadvertently it might have been the Crimson Tide as the reason Parker isn’t committed to OU at this point. Then again, maybe it’s Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys weren’t incredibly aggressive with in-state prospects in 2013, only getting the signature of one recruit. But Mike Gundy has gone all out for 2014 and has the commit of Watch List running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow).

“I really like OSU a lot,” Parker said. “They’re definitely up there. Every time I go there, I feel more and more comfortable.”

Because of location, the Bedlam rivals appear to be the favorites. But as schools like Nebraska and North Carolina offer, it’s clear Parker won’t have a shortage of suitors.

Parker was at OU’s junior day last month. This time there was no thought about committing. With that stress gone, he was able to simply enjoy the day.

“It was cool to revisit OU once again,” Parker said. “I got called back to Coach [Bob] Stoops' office and talked with him and Mike Stoops about a lot of things. They explained to me the situation and where they see me fitting in.”

Parker said early playing time is key for him. And after a move from corner to safety for 2012, he has helped himself considerably in trying to get that early playing time.

Following what was a pretty smooth transition in the beginning of the season, Parker started to show his potential in the latter half of the season. He was the leader of the Jenks defense, and he looked in control 100 percent of the time.

During his time at OU’s junior day, he was able to talk to former Jenks star redshirt freshman running back Alex Ross, who gave him the lowdown on what it will take to succeed with the Sooners and in the weight room.

Parker wants to get out and visit more schools, but basketball has kept him from being active on junior days. But the pressure to commit is long gone. Parker is doing things his way.

“I made a commitment to myself to wait until I’ve seen more,” Parker said. “Maybe before the season or something like that or during the season. It’s cool thinking about the future. It’s almost here.”