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
Norman High punter/kicker Matt Hockett celebrated his intentions to further his career at Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
Hockett, The Oklahoman's first-team All-State punter, has received an academic scholarship and will join the Cowboys a preferred walk-on.
“I'm happy to finally have this commitment out of the way and start playing next year,” Hockett said. “My initial goal is go in and contribute to the team however I can, but my ultimate goal is to start and be successful.”
Jakcob Dean, who played quarterback for the Tigers last season, signed to play receiver at Arkansas Tech.
“I wanted to stay on offense, and receiver is a natural fit for me,” Dean said. “(Arkansas Tech) just felt right because they were willing to let me play wherever. I really felt like I could fit it well there. I'm just glad the recruiting process is over, it's tough.”
Four other Norman High football seniors made their college choices official as offensive linemen Josh Farley and Cole Ridgeway signed with Northeastern State, tight end Anthony Grimes signed with Hastings (Neb.), and defensive end Max Gillett will head to William and Mary as a preferred walk-on.