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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Scout's take: Key pledge for OU defense

By Craig Haubert

Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), the nation's ninth-best safety, committed to Oklahoma on Tuesday, becoming the Sooners' first defensive recruit who is ranked in the ESPN 300. Read below to see what's expected from Parker in Norman, Okla.:

What he brings: Parker is a tall safety with corner-like movements whose best attribute is pass coverage. Fluid safety who brings a lot of speed, athleticism and range to the back end. He’s quick to read and close on the pass. Best assets are his coverage skills, his ability to support over the top of routes and in zone schemes, and perhaps more importantly, his ability to line up over slot receivers in man-to-man and provide tight matchups mirroring over the top and limiting separation up the seam. For a taller safety, he transitions smoothly and there is little wasted motion in his breaks and pursuit on the football.

Who he reminds us of: Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo Bills). The former South Carolina DB was a little thicker coming out of high school, but like Gilmore, Parker should be able to play both corner and safety at the next level and even nickel. Both are tall, athletic, versatile defenders with great range, instincts and coverage skills. They have similar playmaking qualities as well.

Potential freshman impact: With his size, athleticism and versatility to play throughout the secondary, we believe that Parker will have the opportunity to contribute early at Oklahoma. He also comes with a high awareness and understanding of different schemes and coverages, which will allow for an easier transition.

How this class is shaping up: The Sooners head into national signing day with a top 20 class that has loaded up on offense with ESPN 300 prospects such as running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe). Parker is now the first ESPN 300 defensive player at a position of need for the Sooners.