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Oklahoma football: Steven Parker headed to the school where his grandfather left a legacy

Charles Parker was one of OU's first black football players, though he eventually had to leave the school after a concussion. His grandson, Jenks star Steven Parker II, signed with OU earlier this month.
by Jason Kersey Published: February 15, 2014

Steven Parker never wanted his son to have an excuse.

That's why for the first decade of Steven Parker II's life, he knew very little of his grandfather's important place in the University of Oklahoma's storied football history.

“I just didn't think it was relevant,” the elder Parker said. “I didn't want him to go through life thinking, ‘OK, this is a get out of jail free pass.' 

“Go out there, stand on your own two feet and be the best you can possibly be.”

That's exactly what his son has done, becoming one of the nation's best safety prospects in the recruiting class of 2014 and signing a National Letter of Intent earlier this month with Oklahoma, where his grandfather, Charles, became one of the first black football players in school history.

Charles Parker, George Farmer and Sylvester Norwood all enrolled at OU in 1954 and joined the freshman football team out of Dunjee High School in Oklahoma City.

Farmer and Norwood had to quit because of financial issues with commuting back and forth from Oklahoma City, and Charles Parker left the school after suffering a concussion when his head struck a steel blocking sled, according to Harold Keith's 1984 book “Forty-Seven Straight: The Wilkinson Era at Oklahoma.”

“He wasn't on scholarship, so he had no choice but to leave the university,” the elder Steven Parker said.

Only a couple years later, running back Prentice Gautt became the first black football player at Oklahoma on a scholarship, earning All-Big Eight honors twice and becoming the 1959 Orange Bowl MVP.

Charles Parker tried to shield his son Steven from his history at Oklahoma.

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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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