NORMAN — Cade Parker didn't have any shortage of opportunities to play college football.
Several Division II schools had extended offers to the Norman High defensive end over the course of his senior season in which he recorded 21 sacks. But Parker held out, waiting to hear from any Division I programs that might be interested despite being undersized at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds.
Last month, The Oklahoman's first-team All-State defensive end got his wish. Surprisingly, it was OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel who saw Parker's film and reached out to Norman High coach Greg Nation.
“Through a network of some people we got my film to the (OU) coaches and when they saw it they reached out to me,” Parker said. “Obviously it's my size that stopped me from getting D-I offers, but once they saw I could play they told me they'd like me to walk-on. That's just an opportunity I couldn't pass up.”
Heading to OU as a preferred walk-on means turning down scholarship opportunities, but insuring himself he'll have no regrets in the future served as the deciding factor.
“It'd be easier to go to one of the Division II schools that offered me and be able to possibly play all four years, but I don't want to look back and say ‘what if I took that D-I opportunity,'” Parker said.
“I want to show them that I'm just as good as any players they've got on scholarship. I'm going to work as hard as I can to earn a spot. I'm excited.”
HOCKETT TO OSU, DEAN TO ARKANSAS TECH