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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Parker not swayed in decision process

By Bob Przybylo

For Oklahoma's coaches, it’s clear which player is one of their top priorities to fill in the Class of 2014. It has been clear for more than 13 months.

It’s not just the coaches, though. ESPN 150 quarterback commit Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) hasn’t been bashful about his thoughts. The same can be said for ESPN 300 tight end Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union), who is also a Sooners pledge.

Steven Parker
Safety Steven Parker is not ready to commit to Oklahoma just yet.
Somehow, someway, ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) is going to end up in the crimson and cream.

The only one not in 100 percent agreement with that statement now is Parker. And until he can see more campuses across the country, he won't pledge soon.

Parker returned to OU’s campus three weeks ago for a camp. He didn’t participate, but coaches Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops were glued to his hip for the few hours he was in attendance.

“It was cool to just kind of chill with Bob and Mike Stoops,” Parker said. “Everything was real calm, and they were open about everything.”

Parker has made numerous trips to campus in the last 12 months. Strangely enough, though, he had never actually toured the campus until this camp.

“It was good,” Parker said. “They gave me a tour of the campus. I had lunch with Carson [Meier] and his family, and it was a good time.”

Mike Stoops made it a point for Parker, who is ranked No. 233 in the ESPN 300, to meet Cedar Hill (Texas) cornerback Marcus Green. A three-star defensive back, Green committed to the Sooners last month.

So all the puzzle pieces seem to be in place for Parker to join OU. The Sooners were the first school to offer the four-star safety. It’s evident there is mutual interest.

What’s the delay?

“I really want to see what else is out there,” Parker said. “I know I keep saying I’m going to make visits, and they keep having to be pushed back, so it’s a little stressful.”

Parker hasn’t been too active on the trail. He has been a frequent visitor to Oklahoma State and made a Texas two-step with trips to Texas and Texas A&M in March.

The No. 1 thing the out-of-state trips taught him was that there is so much to see. The common phrase was it opened his eyes to what’s out there.

He had another eye-opening moment two weeks ago at the Rivals Challenge event in Chicago. Parker has become a regional name many know and respect, but a lot of national recruits weren’t quite sure who he was.

They know who he is now.

“I loved being able to show what I can do on a national stage,” Parker said. “I always want to compete against the best, or I’ll never know if I am the best.

“It opens your eyes that there are others out there. There are other guys faster and stronger and maybe even better. I was real happy with the weekend, but all it has done is motivate me more.”

Unfortunately, Parker doesn't know when his next unofficial visit is going to be. Summer workouts and camps with Jenks have kept him at home, as the Trojans look to defend their state championship.

Financial concerns are also in the picture, too. Parker is set to not just visit one school. If he visits a region, he would like to hit multiple schools at once. Trying to set up dates, trying to get in contact with coaches -- it’s all a struggle.

“I don’t have a $1 million where I can just see every school,” Parker said. “It is stressful.”

Parker has more than 20 offers and hasn’t really ruled out any schools. Alabama, however, appears to have gone in another direction. Parker recently got in touch with the Crimson Tide coaches and said he feels like they’re not really recruiting him.

That’s not the case with OU, obviously. A loaded in-state class hasn’t exactly produced huge results for the Sooners. OU has the two in-state commits, but Oklahoma State has three of the top eight in the state locked up.

Parker is a necessity in the eyes of OU fans and cannot be the one that gets away.

“I’ll be on Steven whenever I can,” Hansen said. “I’ve known him for a long time, and we’ve developed a great friendship. I’ll make sure he gets to OU, too.”