Steven Parker is a dreamer, and having his head in the clouds has served him well thus far.
One of his biggest goals while at Jenks High School was to play football at the University of Oklahoma. He achieved that marker and then some by starting every game as a defensive back for the Sooners during his final three seasons in Norman.
Like many seniors, Parker spent the past few months preparing for the NFL draft, April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as he looks to realize another dream – making it with a professional team.
“This process has been very exciting,” says Parker, who spent several weeks in March training in Tulsa in preparation. “I’ve taken it just with all the blessings in the world.”
OU’s season ended in early January, when Parker shifted his focus to improving his stock at NFL combines. He trained until March 10 at the Michael Johnson Performance Center, a McKinney (Texas) facility owned by the four-time Olympic gold medal runner.
He returned to Norman on March 14 for OU’s Pro Day where he and his former teammates took the field one last time to impress NFL scouts, coaches and other personnel.
“It was a blast,” Parker says. “It was just an opportunity for us to showcase exactly what we’ve been doing the past couple months. I flourished and everybody else did as well.”
Parker, projected to be selected between the third and seventh rounds, will watch the draft with his parents, Francine and Steven Parker, who have since moved back to Oklahoma City from Jenks, plus other family and friends. No matter when his name is called, it will be an emotional experience.
“I’m probably going to cry … I’m not going to lie,” Parker said. “I’ll be hugging my mom, hugging my pops. I’m going to love every minute of it.”
Parker has nothing but gratitude for them.
His father “was the one who was having me up early in the morning, grinding, running hills at an early age,” he says. “I really do thank him for it because without him, I wouldn’t be here. He coached me one or two years, but I’d really say he coached me my whole high school career because he’s the one that let me get into football at an early age. I thank my mom as well.”