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Oklahoma football: Eric Striker's mother a continuing source of inspiration for the OU linebacker

by Jason Kersey Published: August 24, 2014

NORMAN — Eric Striker isn’t interested in talking about the tough decision he might have to make in about five months.

This summer, a Sports Illustrated 2015 NFL mock draft pegged the dynamic OU linebacker as a first-round selection, should he choose to leave Norman following his junior season.

Regardless of what he decides, though, one thing is a virtual certainty: Eric Striker will graduate. Education is too important to the single mother of three who raised Striker — and is currently putting herself through law school while working full time at age 43 — for him to leave school and never finish it.

“My whole family presses education,” Striker said. “That’s really important. You need to have a career, and you’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Lia Skelton is on a break from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School near Tampa, Fla., until early September, so she’s already made arrangements to travel to Norman for Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana Tech.

She also wants to make it to the Sooners’ Sept. 13 home game against Tennessee and the annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas on Oct. 11, but working full time and being a part-time law student means making certain sacrifices.

Waiting this long to begin law school was a sacrifice in itself. Skelton graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1998, but with three small children, law school wasn’t possible then.

“It’s always been a dream of mine, but after getting my undergrad with kids, I decided to wait,” Skelton said.

Eric — or “E.J.” as his mother calls him — was her youngest son, so when he left to play college football at Oklahoma in the summer of 2012, Skelton started applying to law schools, and began classes a few months later.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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