JENKS — Nearing the final game of his career at Jenks, Steven Parker's emotions were overwhelming.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior defensive back actually cried.
“Just because I knew it was going to be the last time I ever stepped out of the helmet with that jersey and those great seniors and players as a whole,” Parker said. “It's definitely something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.”
The next day, Parker carried the Trojans past rival Tulsa Union to win a second straight Class 6A championship and complete a 14-0 season with a touchdown reception and game-clinching interception.
That also capped a stellar career and sealed Parker as The Oklahoman's All-State Defensive Player of the Year.
He finished the year with 53 tackles and six interceptions, while also excelling in a receiver role few envisioned before the season with 622 yards and nine TDs on 34 receptions.
Parker's size and versatility have college recruiters knocking down his door with nearly 30 offers across the country. It also has him on the short list of top players to play under longtime coach Allan Trimble.
“To me on top of the good things he did for us, his leadership,” Trimble said. “He was a guy who has been showered with accolades, has great scholarship offers, a lot of media attention but he just handled it so well. He was such a humble kid and great leader.
“I would put him in the elite of the elite that I've had, not only physically but because he handled it so well.”
The accolades have certainly poured in for Parker. He was recently named to USA Today's American Family Insurance All-USA Football Team and is several state media outlets' player of the year.
But he tries to act like it's just another normal day each time.
“It's kind of a surprise each time, but I don't like to thank myself for getting those awards,” he said. “I know what got me there was hard work so I keep working like nothing happened.”
While he remains humble, Parker also remains quiet about the recruiting process.
He officially visited Arkansas and Texas A&M, and also plans to visit Ole Miss and Southern California. However, Parker's father recently told The Oklahoman that Oklahoma may be the favorite.
Wherever Parker plays, there's little doubt they are getting a player with a bright future.
“I haven't had (a player like Parker) because the main reason is he's so big,” Trimble said. “He's long and athletic, so his physical ability is a big advantage. He's big enough that he's linebacker size that he can come in and tackle guys. Then he's athletic enough to step out on a bigger receiver and go man up.”