Oklahoma has landed one of the marquee prospects from its own state, as four-star safety Steven Parker announced Tuesday that he will be a Sooner. He chose OU over Auburn, Texas A&M, and others.
Listed at 6'2 and 188 pounds, Parker attends Jenks (Okla.) High School and hails from the city of the same name.
His addition boosts Oklahoma from the No. 18 recruiting class in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite, to No. 16, a day before National Signing Day. The Sooners still have a chance on Wednesday to grab four-star athlete Michiah Quick, three-star tackle Kenyon Frison, and perhaps even flip Oklahoma City (Okla.) Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark from LSU. If everything shakes right, they could end with the Big 12's highest-rated recruiting class.
A consensus four-star recruit, he is considered one of the top safeties in the country, with each of the four major recruiting services ranking him among the top 16 in the position. Rivals is highest on him, considering him the fifth-best safety in the class. The Composite ranks him as the 119th-best player in the class, the ninth-best safety in the country and the second-best player in the state of Oklahoma, behind Alabama commit David Cornwell.
The pledge was an important one for the Sooners not only to secure an immensely talented prospect and continue recruiting momentum built by the big win in the Sugar Bowl over Alabama, but also to continue the efforts to secure the state borders of Oklahoma and maintain dominance over Oklahoma State.
To those ends, Parker is the fourth pledge for Oklahoma among the top 10 prospects in a cycle that features more high-end talent than normal for the state, joining Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen, Tulsa (Okla.) Union wide receiver Jeffrey Mead, and Tulsa (Okla.) Union tight end Carson Meier.
Here's the scouting report on Parker:
Listed variously between 175 and 185 pounds, Parker looks much closer to the former in pictures and has a long, lanky frame that needs to add some weight in college, but appears to be of the type that won't ever look physically imposing on the field.
A pure safety prospect who covers a significant amount of ground with long strides, Parker has nice suddenness with his movements and the lateral ability to make tackles in open space. In such situations, Parker's arm length and overall height give him a wide tackling radius, but he doesn't have a great deal of natural explosive strength as a tackler when uncoiling out of his stance.
In the passing game, the Jenks product uses his length and range to break up passes and occasionally pull down interceptions. Where smaller defensive backs have to use their leaping ability to knock down throws, Parker can simply use his height and long arms. In a few looks in man coverage, Parker's short-area burst and transition ability aren't as good as a pure cornerback, perhaps in part due to his height, but again, his length essentially acts as extra recovery speed would for a shorter player.
He's the second safety in the class for the Sooners, joining three-star Vontre McQuinnie.