Parker a worthwhile battle for OU

It was a recruitment that featured so many twists and turns, but OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was never going to throw in the towel with Steven Parker.

It was one of his first recruiting trips since coming back to Oklahoma, and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was relishing taking control of the Tulsa area recruiting.

In May 2012 he made his ways Jenks, Okla., to look at Class of 2013 wide receiver Jordan Smallwood. While there, though, there was another name that caught his attention.

And there you go, that's how the recruitment began with the Sooners and four-star safety Steven Parker.

Smallwood would commit to the Sooners less than two weeks after that trip and signed last February. Parker, however, he was a much different story. A process that went from May 2012 to February 2014 with never a break in the timetable.

"I saw the other kid, and I said ‘There isn't any question this kid is going to be a star.' And just happened we got on him initially," Stoops said.

Being first wasn't going to be enough, not when it came to schools like Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Auburn, among numerous others joining the race. Before it was all said and done, Parker had around 25 offers from all across the country.

It never got any easier. There were a couple of occasions early in his junior year where he thought about committing to OU. But once he drew his line in the sand that he was going to let the process play out, Stoops and OU had to sweat it out.

"He's very intelligent, very perceptive, sensitive player," Stoops said. "He took it all in and deciphered it all and what it all meant to him. He was very smart in his family and how this thing was all going to not play out today, but what's going to happen three, four, five years from now."

After it looked like OU was the clear-cut leader for Parker, the Aggies were nearly able to swoop in and secure the top-rated prospect in the state.

Parker even thought at one point he was headed to College Station, but Stoops and Bob Stoops never stopped fighting the good fight.

The battle was won Tuesday, and the signature made it official Wednesday. And Mike Stoops can't stop saying how excited he is about having Parker in Norman.

"We believe we're supposed to get the players you're supposed to get and that's what I've always told him," Mike Stoops said. "You have to do what's right for you. He's a guy we desperately needed at safety because he's a guy that brings a different element to the safety position that a lot of players just can't. His mobility, skill level, cover ability. We ask our safeties to do a lot of that.

"He fits perfectly in our system."

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