MIAMI — Twelve members of the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College football team have signed with four-year schools during the NCAA’s first-ever national early signing period.
The new window runs Dec. 20-22, followed by the traditional signing period in early February.
The NJCAA does not have an early signing period for high school players.
“We’re very excited that so many of our players were able to participate as early signees,” Golden Norseman head coach Clay Patterson said. “Along with the guys that are eligible on the regular signing day, we expect to have 20 total with at least 17 to sign at the Division 1 level.”
NEO finished the regular season in a tie with Trinity Valley Community College and Blinn College for the Southwest Junior College Football Conference title with a 5-2 record.
The Golden Norsemen won the post-season championship with a 26-20 win over Trinity Valley in Athens, Texas.
Ranked No. 4 in the nation entering the inaugural Midwest Classic Bowl presented by Downstream Resort on Miami’s Multi-Purpose Sports Complex at Red Robertson Field, the Norsemen dropped a 30-20 decision to Independence (Kansas) Community College.
NEO finished rated No. 8 with a 9-3 season record.
Two Golden Norsemen have signed with Oklahoma State University.
Sophomore tight end Jake Ross (6-7, 245 from Coweta) and redshirt wide receiver Patrick McKaufman (6-6, 190 from Oklahoma City Douglass) were 23 early signees with the Cowboys.
Joining the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane are NEO center Judge Hartin (6-4, 265 from Madill) and defensive end Cade Baumann (6-4, 235 from Walters).
NEO All-America sophomore running back Darwin Thompson (5-9, 195 from Jenks) is among 12 signees at Utah State University in Logan.
Two Golden Norsemen signed with Kansas State University in Manhattan: redshirt defensive backs Kevion McGee (5-10, 180 from Ardmore) and Darreyl Patterson (5-11, 175 from Lawton).
Redshirt sophomore tight end Jace Sternberger (6-4, 240 from Kingfisher) joined the Aggies of Texas A&M University in College Station.
Golden Norse record-setting starting quarterback Wyatt Steigerwald (6-1, 200 from Nowata) signed with the Griffons of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
During his redshirt sophomore season, Steigerwald established five NEO school records. He completed 203 of 305 passes for 2,744 yards and 32 touchdowns which eclipsed the previous record set in 2012 by Clayton Mitchem of 183 of 287 for 2,435 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Steigerwald finished third in the nation with a 159.7 pass efficiency rating while setting an NEO school record with a 62.7 pass completion average. The previous record was a 58.3 percentage set in 2012 by Mitchem.
NJCAA All-America linebacker Dillon Hall (6-1, 210 from Edmond) and linebacker Bryan Burns (6-0, 220 from Lawton) signed with the University of Central Oklahoma Broncos in Edmond.
Another redshirt sophomore, defensive back D.J. Freeman (5-10, 175 from Del City), signed with the RedHawks of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.