MIAMI — While the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen football team enter the month-long July session with a bevy of talented running backs, their stable of skilled receivers and tight ends also adds to the offensive arsenal.
Last season while finishing 5-5 on the season, offensive coordinator and head coach Clay Patterson’s squad shattered NEO’s record for the most passing yards average in a single season.
The passing combo of Nick Johns, Cordale Grundy, Wyatt Steigerwald and Patrick McKaufman generated an average of 324 yards per game via the pass. The mark was fifth best in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
NEO’s previous modern day school record was set in 2015 at 244 yards per game. Prior to that the record was 224.7 yards per game established during the 2009 season.
Six of the returning sophomores saw action last season as wide receivers while one is a transfer from the University of Kansas.
Returning at a wide out position is veteran Kobe Bryer (5-9, 165 from Del City). Bryer ranks third at NEO in the number of single season passes caught with 50 for 561 yards and three TDs.
Sophomore wide out Austin (AJ) Freeth (6-2, 175 from Wagoner) caught four passes for 19 yards and one TD in eight games last year. Freeth was recruited out of high school by the University of Kansas.
Recruited out of high school as a quarterback, McKaufman (6-6 from Oklahoma City Douglass) made the switch to wide receiver before the start of last season. He made 13 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns in nine games last year. McKaufman also completed a 21-yard pass play.
“Patrick has already had three D-1 offers,” Patterson said. “He is a very talented player.”
Providing both experience and talent at any of the three wide out positions are sophomores Jarel Rowe, Demond Sampson and Ki-Jona (KJ) Wells.
Rowe (6-4, 175 from Carrolton, Georgia) appeared in nine games last season. He caught three passes for 47 yards.
Sampson (5-10, 165 from Owasso) made eight receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown in five games as a freshman.
Wells (6-3, 190 from Idabel) saw limited action on the outside last season.
Transfer Marquan Greene (6-2, 190 from Cedar Hill, Texas) joined the Golden Norsemen last fall. He was recruited out of high school by Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Another transfer, Jace Sternberger, will join sophomore Lonell Burris at the tight end positions.
Sternberger (6-4, 245 from Kingfisher) played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman last season for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. He caught one pass for five yards.
Burris (6-4, 275 from Choctaw) made two receptions for 27 yards in 10 games for the Golden Norsemen.
“We also expect to have some very fast, talented freshmen recruits coming in for the July session,” Patterson said.
True freshmen wide receiver signees expected to participate in July’s OTAs (organized team activities) are Cecil Cole, Del City; Joe Combs, Muskogee; Emmit Grayson III, Southmoore; England Honeybuss, Cushing; Ronnie Kimble, Lawton MacArthur); Braden Morrill, Blackwell; Chris Potts, Putnam City West; JJ Sanders, Madill, and Jair Thomas, Cache.
Freshmen tight end prospects are Ashton Jones, Mustang, Rowdy Warner, Jones, Oklahoma and Treyland Walker, Lawton.