Nebraska missed on another pass-rushing prospect Monday as composite four-star outside linebacker Steven Parker committed to Kansas.
The potential at Nebraska was tempting for the 6-foot-4, 220-pound recruit with 30-plus offers out of South Oak Cliff in Dallas. The draw of returning to his childhood home in Lubbock at Texas Tech was also alluring. But Parker opted for Kansas, where his former high school coach, Emmett Jones, was hired as an assistant in mid-December.
"Today might have been the toughest day of my life," Parker tweeted while also thanking NU coach Scott Frost and others for seeing potential in him.
Parker had been a priority target for the Huskers since they offered shortly after the early signing period. He recently received visits from Scott Frost and assistant coaches Erik Chinander and Ryan Held. The defensive player of the year in Texas 5A — the state's second-largest classification — earned the honor after recording 70 tackles, including 25 for loss and 18 sacks.
South Oak Cliff coach Jason Todd told The World-Herald last month that Parker's recruitment spiked late in the fall semester as schools learned he would be a full academic qualifier. The prospect has only participated in organized football for three years.
"He's still raw as a football player," Todd said. "But he's a guy that plays 100 mph every play and doesn't back down from competition. He's been the emotional leader of our team for the last two years."
Parker had been committed to Texas Tech for nearly 19 months before backing off when head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his staff were fired. Parker's grandmother lives in Lubbock, where he spent much of his childhood.
Parker took his final official visit last weekend to Kansas thanks to his relationship with former South Oak Cliff coach and mentor Emmett Jones, who had been an assistant at Tech before surfacing at KU in mid-December.
"The biggest thing with him is just he wants to be around somebody that he knows really cares about him," Todd said. "He's not a kid that runs from tough coaching. But he wants to be with someone who will work with him and help him develop off the field into a good young man."
The Huskers continue to sit at 26 in their 2019 class. They haven't added a new commit since Noa Pola-Gates announced his decision on Jan. 19, though he actually signed with the Huskers in December. Another outside linebacker — Dylan Jordan of Pittsburg, Kansas — chose TCU over Nebraska last week. NU also missed on a variety of junior-college linebackers, including Soni Fonua, who picked LSU on Sunday.
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