- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma’s football program has been mining the Tulsa area for talent the past three years.

The Sooners currently have verbal commitments from Union’s Jeffery Mead and Carson Meier. The team is targeting Jenks star Steven Parker, a defensive back widely considered the state’s top player.

Over the past three recruiting classes - counting Mead and Meier - the Sooners have landed six players from the area. In the seven seasons before that, Oklahoma only totaled seven players from Tulsa County.

Coach Bob Stoops was asked before the 2013 season if recruiting the Tulsa area was important.

“Sure, it is, no question,” Stoops said. “We try to, for sure. They do have a lot of good football players throughout there.”

The recruiting numbers may have advanced recently, but Union coach Kirk Fridrich doesn’t read too much into that. Just because OU may not have signed local players some years (see 2005, 2007 and 2011) doesn’t mean the area was void of talent.

“It goes in cycles,” Fridrich said. “We have a very strong class in the Tulsa area this year and plenty coming out of Oklahoma, in general.

“Maybe a couple of years, the (talent level) is down. But even when it is down, Oklahoma is still making contact and doing its due diligence.”

Jenks coach Allan Trimble has seen plenty of his players continue their careers in college. He concurred with Fridrich that OU does strong work evaluating local players.

He told the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/1fhSUNk ) that the Sooners’ interest in Tulsa-area players is a sign of the talent.

“I don’t know if it is their focus or just their focus on great players, but it speaks highly of the quality of players that have been around,” Trimble said.

The Sooners signed a Jenks player in 2012 (Alex Ross) and in 2013 (Jordan Smallwood). OU now is zeroing in on Parker and already has an early commitment from Jenks defensive lineman Marquise Overton (2015 recruiting class).

It’s important for the Sooners to place an emphasis on Tulsa, said Josh McCuistion, who covers recruiting for Rivals.com.

“The three most talent-producing schools in the state are Jenks, Union and Booker T. Washington,” he said. “There seems to be a renewed emphasis with all of the talent out of Tulsa.”

Owasso’s Aaron Colvin - who used to wear “918” on his eye black - was proud of his roots.

Meier, a tight end, said he understands he’ll have a wide following.

“You have to think when I’m out there playing football, I’m representing Union when I’m down there,” Meier said. “But I’m also representing all the guys back in Tulsa and everyone at OU. There’s a lot of people keeping an eye on you and I don’t want to let people down.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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