Editor's note: This is the forth 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.
Even though graduation took a heavy toll on the Northeastern A&M Golden Norse defensive unit, several players have emerged to assume leadership roles according to head coach Rob Green.
“Entering preseason practices after our spring scrimmage, we were running well to the football and I was very pleased with the progress our defense made,” Green said. “We're just in a situation where we're going to have to rely on a lot of incoming freshmen to shore up some key positions for us.”
“There are three positions, defensive end, middle linebacker and in the secondary, where we have some deficiencies concerning experienced depth,” Green said. “We appear to be in pretty good shape at defensive tackle.”
Three players return at the end positions, but only one had extensive playing time.
Sophomore Tim Patton (6-2, 225 of Tulsa East Central) ranked fourth on the team with 47 unassisted tackles and 40 assists.
He recorded nine quarterback sacks for minus-39 yards, five tackles behind the line for minus-9 yards, three pass deflections and one fumble recovery.
“Tim is a very talented athlete that is always around the football,” Green said. “He is a sure tackler and likes to hit people.”
Sophomores Colby Lasseley (6-3, 239 of Mustang) and Colton Johnson (6-5, 228 of Owasso) both appeared in two games as freshmen.
Lasseley recorded four unassisted tackles and five assists after moving over from defensive tackle.
Johnson made three solo tackles and two assists with one tackle behind the line for minus-1 yard.
Freshmen recruits expected to make an impact at ends are Allen Benson (6-3, 225 of Ardmore) and Jesse Myers (6-2, 220 of Claremore Sequoyah).
Veteran Delani Stephens (6-0, 269 of Plano, Texas) is the lone returning experienced player at the tackle position. Last season Stephens appeared in three games and recorded three solo tackles, three assists with one quarterback sack for minus-3 yards and one tackle behind the line for minus-3 yards.
“We've got a real competitive situation at defensive tackle,” Green said. “Delani has some game experience, but three redshirt freshmen are really coming on for the starting job.”
Challenging at defensive tackle are redshirt freshmen Terrill Jimoh (6-0, 255 of Moore), John Victor (6-2, 273 of Afton) and Lamont McDonald (6-1, 304 of Norman).
Freshmen signees Justin Gibson (6-2, 260 of Tulsa East Central) and Jorden Nix (6-1, 260 of Lawton MacArthur) could see considerable playing time.