JENKS — Steven Parker readily admits he has never been an ordinary kid.
Like many of Jenks' players, he has been scarred by what they simply refer to as “The Hill,” a 200-yard incline biking trail near the Creek Turnpike many of the Trojans run for conditioning. Parker, though, takes his dedication to it to a new level.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound safety has been running The Hill or variations of it since he began playing football in the first grade and still runs a hill twice a week. It came at the urging of his father, Steven, as one of the many tools used to develop an athleticism few have matched on the field.
“He's the guy that actually really pushed me and he woke me up in the morning, made me run hills, pushups and sit-ups every day,” Parker said. “I was still that guy working out every day and that's still what I do to this day.”
Rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, Parker fields more than 25 scholarship offers from across the country and is ranked No. 1 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings for 2014.
His offers include Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M, respectively. Right now, though, he doesn't appear close to a decision. He intends to visit Michigan, Ohio State and possibly Nebraska and Ole Miss after having already visited OU, OSU, Texas and Texas A&M.
“There's some days where I try not to think about it because it kind of stresses me out just because I'm only going to have to choose one school out of all the other schools,” Parker said. “It's going to be one of the decisions that you're going to make in your lifetime. It's going to a hard process, but as summer ends and as the football season goes on, I'll still keep thinking about that and I'll end up making a choice.”
Parker can lean on his father for guidance during the recruiting process, too.
The elder Parker played safety at Oklahoma State in 1978 and 1979 after starring at Star Spencer. But he failed to focus on his academics and never really earned playing time. He left OSU in 1980, joined the Marines and now works at Walgreens. At the age of 52, he has yet to return to college to finish his degree, instead choosing to focus on raising his family.