Tuesday, February 4, 2014
ESPN 300 DB Parker chooses Oklahoma
By Damon Sayles
After conversing with his parents -- and multiple praying sessions -- Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) has found a college home.
Parker, No. 139 in the ESPN 300 and the nation’s No. 9 safety, verbally committed to Oklahoma at his high school on Tuesday and became the Sooners’ 24th commitment of the 2014 class. Parker -- who said he lived by the motto “Trust God, and he will lead the way” throughout the process -- chose the Sooners over offers from Auburn, Texas A&M and a host of other schools.
While his dad, Steven, (right) played at Oklahoma State, Steven Parker II is heading to Oklahoma.
And what helped the Sooners? Credit loyalty to Parker’s decision. Oklahoma was his first offer, in May 2012, and he has built a solid relationship with the staff since.
“What made me choose [the Sooners] was how hard they stayed with me year in and year out,” Parker said. “They were the first to recruit me, and they could have moved on, but they stayed on top. I felt at home there.
“It will be great playing with this team, and I will enjoy it.”
The third-ranked player out of the state of Oklahoma, he was recruited by Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. Parker, at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, took an official visit to Oklahoma the weekend of Jan. 17, but he had made several trips to Norman, Okla., prior to the official.
Parker’s verbal is special from a family perspective, as well. His grandfather, Charles, helped break the color barrier at Oklahoma, becoming one of the first black players to walk on for the Sooners in September 1955.
“He worked his butt off to get to OU,” Parker said of his grandfather in a December interview. “I guess that’s where I get my hard work from. He had to do everything he could just to play at that level. I kind of get goose bumps thinking about it.”
Parker will continue the family legacy of playing college football. Along with his grandfather playing at Oklahoma, his father, Steven, played at Oklahoma State in 1978 and 1979.
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Parker is now the seventh ESPN 300 player to commit to the Sooners’ 2014 class. He also is the class’ highest-ranked defensive player. Parker is expected to join three-star Vontre McQuinnie (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and three-star Jordan Thomas (Klein, Texas/Klein Collins) as safety signees for Oklahoma.
Parker said he is excited about continuing his career in college, particularly following his grandfather’s footsteps. He also said he’s happy to see a process that turned taxing finally come to an end.
“The process was cool for a little bit. Then, as time went on and signing day came closer, I got more stressed,” Parker said. “I couldn’t wait until it was over. All I can say is it’s a blessing, but it was stressful getting to this decision.”