Parker Understanding Steven Parker’s Recruitment

Image from TulsaWorld.com (Photographer: James Gibbard)

Jenks HS star DB, Steven Parker, has had the attention of the entire state of Oklahoma for a while now. He’s had the attention of the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State coaches for a while now. But Steven Parker has also had the attention of coaches around the nation for a while now. UCLA, USC, Alabama; you name the school and they’re either still recruiting Steven or have recruited Steven at one point or another. And along with all that notoriety has come rumors and stories from fans and media alike; everyone trying to figure out what Steven Parker will do or where Steven Parker will end up. Well after speaking to Steven’s father for a while I’ll give you my take.

To understand Steven’s recruiting process you have to understand his father. The media paints people however they like. Sometimes the image they paint is based on what they really believe. Sometimes it’s based on what they think will sell. Fortunately for us we aren’t selling anything so I’ll tell you what I believe. Steven Parker’s father is a man who wants to ensure that his son makes a decision based on all the information and he wants to make sure that that information is accurate. He knows that coaches say what they have to in order to secure a player’s commitment. After all Steven’s father isn’t new to this game. He was an athlete himself. But as a father his priority is to do what he can to protect and to help his son. And if you think Steven’s father is trying to figure out the most efficient way to get his son to the NFL you would be dead wrong. He is trying to make sure his son, first and foremost, gets a good education. A lot of people say that to me but I’ve never heard it come from someone and it sound so genuine and sincere. In fact it was a primary point of emphasis in our conversation and it plays such a central role in the families decision that they are willing to walk away from any school that doesn’t afford Steven the best opportunity to reach his educational goals.

I asked Mr. Parker whether the recruiting process has gotten old and he responded by saying that he feels fortunate that his son is in the position to be recruited but he said that the process “got old a long time ago”. Some might ask, “then why not just get over with?” But the point for the Parker family isn’t to just “get it over with”. Again, it’s to help Steven make the best decision possible. And if that takes till signing day then it takes till signing day. If it happens before that then so be it. At the end of the day, as Mr. Parker told me, “it’s Steven’s decision but I act as a filter and help him see things for what they are so that he has the correct information to make that decision”. He adds, “I don’t want my son to get strong armed.” And Steven’s father wants to prevent that possibility so much that any coaches who attempt to rush his son’s decision or exert pressure for a commitment have been told “you are welcome in my home but as far as I’m concerned Steven won’t be attending your school”. Some might say that is harsh but to me that is a father making certain that his son is given the freedom to make a choice without coercion.

The good news for Oklahoma fan’s is that OU coaches haven’t tried to coerce or rush a decision from Steven. But don’t misunderstand. Our coaches have not been complacent. In fact Steven’s father said in no uncertain terms that of all the programs that have recruited Steven, Coach Bob Stoops was the only head coach to be involved in Steven Parker’s recruitment from day one. I know that goes against all the “Bob Stoops doesn’t work hard enough on the recruiting trail” comments out there but these aren’t my words. These are the words of a the father of a big time recruit. Mr. Parker said that Coach Bob and Coach Mike Stoops have done a great job recruiting Steven throughout the process. In fact Steven’s father said, “I have all the respect in the world for Bob and Mike. No one has recruited Steven better.”

So having said all that, where does OU stand with Steven Parker? Well I think Oklahoma fan’s have reason to be optimistic. According to Steven’s father Oklahoma is currently the leader. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M and other schools are still actively recruiting Steven and he hasn’t ruled out more visits this month. But Oklahoma has done a great job recruiting Steven. In fact it would seem our coaches have done everything they can. Steven is exactly the kind of player Coach Mike wants. He’s a big, fast, physical kid with enough fluidity and flexibility to turn and cover – a very rare quality in a DB that size. And if you can’t play man coverage then you can’t play any position in our secondary and Steven certainly can. Our coaches have clearly made Parker a priority and it’s easy to see why. While it’s not over yet I’m hopeful that the OU staff’s hard work will pay off. But for now, like the rest of you, we will have to patiently wait and see.

  • Josh

    I think Coach Mikes record of developing DBs speaks for itself and has got to be a huge factor in kids decision coming out of hs. I don’t think he has gotten near enough credit for what he has done with this unit. A complete makeover, so much youth, over coming injuries, he did a phenomenal job! Defensive recruits need to take notice because he is no doubt one of the to dcs in the country!

    • Super K

      I agree.

      • Bill Wilson

        Ditto.

  • thegoodmagneto(CJ)

    Superk,

    Do you think Parker is must get for OU? I like his highlights..Nice range and seems to have good instincts. Is he a guy think starts ala Reggie Smith as a true freshman? Do you like him better than Byrd or Ahmad Thomas?

    • Super K

      I think what separates Parker is his violence in the open field coupled his flexibility and fluidity. Ahmad Thomas, for example, can strike you but he’s much stiffer. Parker can strike you but he also appears to be a legitimate cover safety with incredible size. On top of that he’s a great locker room player. There are just too many positive qualities wrapped up in one player to let him go out of state and it seems pretty clear that coach Bob and Mike know it and don’t want to happen. The impression I got from Steven’s father is that both coach Bob and coach Mike are doing everything they can to make sure Steven ends up at OU.

      • Guest

        I am not worried about the relative perception of OU and A&M’s defenses. Parker is an elite recruit and can start on both campuses. Reading this indicates it’s more about the right “feeling”.

        Like OU’s chances!

  • SoonerfanTU

    Hard to believe there is too much more “information” for the Parker’s to learn or validate at this point. Gotta think they either know where he is going, but just want to enjoy the process a bit, or there is a pull between where he wants to go, and maybe which staff he likes the best, and he is giving that time to work itself out. But at this point, they should know the facts about all schools and staffs. Gotta think aTm’s poor showings on D this year help us out a bit.

    • Leroy Jenkins

      Their awful defense yesterday could help us out, but what if it’s the opposite? What if he says, “They’ve got great offense, now they really need good defense so I can go in and help out”? Such as, “Maybe I could be the missing piece they need.” But you’re right for sure about already knowing everything about every school; now it’s just the waiting game.

      • SoonerfanTU

        Maybe, but that “great offense” is likely going to the NFL this year.

        Be interesting to see what becomes of aTm in the next few seasons. I think they will remain solid, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them fall back some.

        • blaster1371

          Yep. As much as Johnny M comes across as a jerk, he is an absolute difference maker. Even when he just hucks the ball downfield he drops it on a dime. I wish he would stay on a TAMU; I went from not liking him to actually appreciating what he does on the field. It galls me that so much of the college talent leaves early to the NFL and “robs’ us of some of the best players.

    • Super K

      I don’t want to speak for them but the impression I get is they want Steven to make the decision when he’s ready and the added benefit of taking your time is eventually the recruiter will show their true colors. That is why I believe OU has a great chance. Their true colors are genuine. They believe in Steven and his talent. They have from the beginning and they will recruit him till the end.

  • TheSoonerNation

    very good write up and insight

    • Super K

      Thanks!

  • Ed Cotter

    It’s not just Mike working with the DBs now either, Bobby Jack Wright does a great job of coaching ‘em up also. The players really respect BJW and work hard for him as well. Thanks for the article K, great to get the parent perspective.

    • CoachStauder

      Chip Viney should not be overlooked either.

      • Super K

        Coach Viney is great. May surprise people but one of his strengths is his eye for talent.

        • Steve Cooke

          Do you think Coach Viney will take BJW spot when he decides to retire?

  • Indy_sooner

    I would wish the same for my kids. His dad appears to have done a great job keeping his son level headed in this process.
    OU is an excellent choice for the him and I hope he signs with the good guys

  • SoonerfanTU

    Man, OU recruiting could finish STRONG this year.

    Adoree’ Jackson – 5* #2CB
    Michiah Quick – 4* #5 Athlete
    Joe Mixon – 4* #9 RB
    Dwight Williams – 4* #10 OLB
    Steven Parker – 4* #13 Safety
    Natrell Curtis – 4* #17 OG

    I’m probably missing a few, but OU has a solid shot at all of those kids. Then there are names like Sims, Clark, and Starks.

    • Brian

      All realistic except Adoree Jackson.

    • CoachStauder

      Clark is a real possibility and if Sims visits he could be with Orso helping OU out. I agree with Brian though, Adoree ain’t happenin’. The cool thing is that I think we lead for everyone you mentioned but Jackson and Sims…and I think it’s 50/50 with Mixon. Love it.

  • leatherneck1061

    Very hopeful about this kid. Would be a real shame if our best athletes bail for the SEC or Texas. I also agree on Mike Stoops record, which I think is as near flawless as one can get when it comes to developing DB’s. He’s done an exceptional job of developing the defense on the whole in light of the injury situation. I would also hope that being so much nearer home would be an influential factor in Parker’s decision.

    • Super K

      Indeed.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

      I think the DB play under Mike is a whole universe better than under his predecessor.

  • blaster1371

    Sometimes I think high school players look to far past college ball and project themselves into the NFL. The programs that are “all the buzz” at the moment can be simply the flavor of the month. As a father, I would look into the program that develops boys into young men. Stoops may have recruited some dudes that proved to be knuckle heads but he certainly suffers no foolishness and gets rid of those that do not live up to the conduct standards he has for this team. I would think such perimeters put players at ease since they know where the boundaries are and no one is “above the law”.

    I know he just wants to be sure of his decision, but I think it speaks volumes to the coaching staff, team and the fan base when a recruit says emphatically: “I will be a Sooner!” That is what got me excited about Hatari Byrd, Ford, Darlington, Dimon and Alexander.

  • Jared Tyra

    Very late post on this particular article, but I’m just so curious on his recruitment: do you think guys at OU like Smallwood and Ross have been in touch with Steven Parker quite a bit to try to get him to join them in Norman?

  • bjwalker82

    Do you all get the impression that he is looking for a reason to not commit to OU? Or that he’s potentially thinking about committing elsewhere and is not looking forward to the blowback?