MIAMI — Blending several returning players with seven true freshmen recruits at three linebacker positions will be a major task for defensive coordinator Dustin Landry and his staff when the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen begin summer organized team activities on July 1 at Red Robertson Field.

During the spring workout session the Golden Norse featured 13 prospective players to anchor the middle of the defensive squad.

Head coach Clay Patterson knows that a freshman or two could work their way into the starting lineup because of the level of competition at all three linebacker spots.

Most of the prospects have the physical attributes including speed and toughness. They will have an opportunity to display their leadership capabilities during the month-long July session and the August preseason OTA’s.

Last season, four of the top 10 NEO defensive players were freshmen linebackers.

Leading the Norseman was Roderick (RJ) Goodman (5-11, 225 from Midwest City). Goodman posted 68 unassisted tackles and 25 assists in 10 games. He recorded 2.5 quarterback sacks for minus-23 yards with seven tackles behind the line for minus-19 yards. Goodman also returned a fumble recovery 42 yards and an interception 53 yards.

Redshirt sophomore Lamontre Huval (6-3, 185 from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana) is expected to return to an outside linebacker position. Huval finished seventh on the team with 35 solo tackles and 23 assists in 10 games. He made three quarterback sacks for minus-25 yards and 6.5 tackles for a loss of minus-10 yards. Huval also deflected two passes.

Veteran Bryan Burns (6-0, 210 from Lawton MacArthur) ranked ninth on the team with 44 unassisted tackles and 12 assists in 10 games. Burns posted two quarterback sacks for minus-20 yards while making six tackles for a loss for minus-11 yards.

Sophomore Lon’Trelle (Trey) Miller (6-1, 220 from Tulsa Edison) finished 10th on the NEO defense last year with 27 solo tackles and 20 assists. He made two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, forced one fumble and caused two deflected passes in 10 games.

Freshmen linebacker recruits include Noah Bass, Bartlesville; Jokiem Crawford, Joplin, Missouri; Dimeon Dunlap, Moore; Demontre Gatewood, Midwest City; Skyler Haynes and LeDarren Walker, both from Broken Arrow, and Jervonta Johnson, Homerville, Georgia.