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Monday, March 11, 2013
Watch List S ready to see state of Texas

By Bob Przybylo

This is what Oklahoma fans were afraid might happen. This is why OU fans wanted ESPN Watch List safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) to commit to the Sooners by this point.

It was close to happening on a couple of occasions, but Parker stayed patient. And last Wednesday is exactly why he has chosen this path.

Parker already had some impressive offers from OU, Oklahoma State and Nebraska, among others, but nothing could prepare him for last week.

In the span of a few hours, he picked up offers from Texas A&M, Memphis and Utah. Later that same day, Texas jumped in.

“It was pretty crazy,” Parker said. “I didn’t see it coming at all. It’s all my dad. He started calling to see if these schools had any interest. And by the time he was done, he said he had found out about some new offers.”

Parker and his father want to gauge the interest because the prospect is ready to hit the road.

OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops would have loved it if Parker’s film was never released, but the secret is out. That unknown prospect he offered last May is seeing his stock rise with each passing day.

It has seemed recently that OU is Parker's leader, but that might be a little misleading. It is possible the Sooners and Cowboys were the leaders in the clubhouse because of proximity and nothing more.

He’s ready to change that. With his basketball season in the books, Parker is ready to go. And, more specifically, he’s looking to see the Lone Star State, with planned trips to Texas and Texas A&M before the month is done.

“On spring break, I definitely want to see those two schools,” said Parker, whose school is on break next week. “I’m thinking A&M during the week and Texas on the weekend, something like that. I would love to see their spring practices.”

The OU-Jenks connection has always been strong, and the Sooners are still dipping into the tradition-rich program. Redshirt freshman running back Alex Ross is a Jenks product as is 2013 wide receiver signee Jordan Smallwood.

So growing up, all Parker has known is seeing top recruits from his school heading south to Norman to play for Bob Stoops and the Sooners. He’s realizing now, though, there might be other options.

“To get offers from Texas and Texas A&M was pretty surprising,” he said. “I guess that means everybody knows me as a player and hopefully I’ll get more looks.

“I always thought Texas just recruited kids from the state of Texas and not kids from Oklahoma. It is very exciting.”

Parker also has an Alabama offer, but no visit to Tuscaloosa has been set up or even talked about at this point. He said although he’s starting to venture outside Oklahoma, he won't forget about the Sooners or Cowboys.

“I definitely plan on checking out a spring practice for both of them,” he said. “I really like OSU, feel real comfortable there. And nothing’s changed with OU. I definitely have options.”

Parker had 52 tackles and three interceptions in helping Jenks win the Oklahoma Class 6A state championship last season. He attended junior days at OU and OSU but was unable to attend any others because of basketball.

And though there are a slew of top defensive backs in the Midlands region, he said he feels no pressure at all to commit early.

“No, I can’t let what others do impact the way I approach everything,” he said. “If that school is really interested in me, I would hope they would understand and let me take my time.”