Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of articles concerning preparations for preseason football workouts at Northeastern A&M College. The Golden Norsemen are scheduled to report Aug. 7.
Although two returning sophomore provides the catalyst for the Northeastern A&M linebacking corps, Golden Norse defensive coordinator Travis Rhatigan started a major reconstruction project during spring drills.
“We have two players coming back that lettered last season at linebacker,” Golden Norse head coach Rob Green said. “They both saw considerable action and have the intelligence and ability to be impact players.”
Veterans Jason Bates (6-1, 237 of Alva) and Emanuel Jones (6-0, 205 of Broken Arrow) provide two-thirds of the experience at linebacker.
Bates recorded 17 unassisted tackles and 16 assists in six games as a freshman. He made two quarterback sacks for minus -4 yards and one tackle behind the line of scrimmage for minus -1 yard with one pass deflection.
Jones, who also started at cornerback in several games, led the Southwest Junior College
Football Conference with 10 quarterback sacks for minus -67 yards. He ranked third in the conference with 48 solo tackles and 33 assists while also making three tackles behind the line for minus -24 yards and four pass deflections.
Former Miami High School graduate Logan Zabel (6-3, 210) is still recovering from an injury he suffered after appearing in two games last season. Zabel received a medical redshirt after recording 14 solo tackles and eight assists in two games.
Other redshirt freshmen vying for the three linebacking jobs are Marcus Gamble (5-10, 224 of Tulsa Memorial), John Ingram (6-1, 210 of Watts), Bradley Jarrett (5-10, 221 of Bartlesville), Isreal Jones (5-9, 208 of Broken Arrow), Quinton Thomas (5-10, 232 of St. Louis, Mo.) and Markus Young (5-11, 216 of Stillwater).
Freshmen signees at linebacker are Jarod Dopp (6-1, 220 of Commerce), Charlie Joseph (6-0, 215 of Tulsa East Central), Rowdy McCauley (6-2, 225 of Marlow), Keenan McCellan (6-1, 220 of Tulsa Washington), Johnny Row (6-1, 205 of Claremore Sequoyah), Randy Tonche (6-4, 220 of Sallisaw) and Sam Woodfork (5-11, 255 of Norman).