Two new teams are featured on the Northeastern A&M football schedule that begins in 78 days.
Head coach Donnie Bigby and his staff start their second season on Aug. 28 with a trip to Garden City, Kan., for a 7 p.m. clash with the Garden City Community College Broncbusters.
The two teams have not played since the Norsemen posted a 31-21 victory in Garden City to open the 1993 season.
NEO is 9-1 against Garden City with the lone loss coming in the 1976 Garden City Beef Bowl. The Broncbusters earned a 28-13 victory.
Last season, the Broncbusters (4-5) finished fifth in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
An indication of the foundation of success created by head coach Lucan Aslin and his staff is the fact that 10 Broncbusters earned KJCCC all-conference honors last season.
Three all-conference performers are expected to be among the 35 returning sophomores expected to report to August preseason for Garden City.
Averaging 348 yards per game last season, the Broncs graduated seven starters on offense.
While veteran Travis Angelos (6-1, 195 of Goodland, Kan.) appeared in only two games as a freshman quarterback, sophomore tailbacks Nate Davis 6-1, 205 of Liberal, Kan.) and Casey Henderson (5-9, 190 of Goodland, Kan.) return to bolster the Broncbusters running game.
Angelos completed two of two passes for 12 yards before having a stellar spring practice in a starting roll.
Expected to battle Angelos for the starting job are incoming freshmen Cade Rietzke (6-0, 175 of Kensington, Kan.) and Wes Winfrey (6-0, 190 of Kismet-Plains, Kan.).
Davis played in nine games last season and rushed for 198 yards on 47 carries. He also caught two passes for six yards.
Henderson gained four yards on three carries in one game last season before being sidelined with an injury.
Freshman Jake Kizzar (5-10, 190 of Chase, Kan.) should see considerable playing time at tailback.
All-Conference performers Avonte Jones and Corey Johnson are the cornerstones of the Garden City receiving corps.
Jones (6-4, 218 of Raleigh, N.C.) led the Broncs with 34 receptions for 506 yards and five touchdowns. He also gained 15 yards on three carries while returning one kickoff for 14 yards.
Johnson (6-1, 185 of Muskegon, Mich.) recorded 11 catches for 164 yards and two TDs. He led Garden City with 15 punt returns for 200 yards and one touchdown.
Other sophomore receivers expected to contribute are Antonio Jones 6-5, 200 of Timmonsville, S.C.), Dan Rogers (5-10, 185 of Selden, Kan.) and Taylor Headrick (6-1, 180 of Meade, Kan.).
Freshmen recruits at wide receivers are Toby Peters (6-0, 225 of Hugoton, Kan.), Lavondrick Martin (5-8, 175 of Liberal, Kan.), Jacob Inghram (6-1, 190 of Chase, Kan.), Dei’Juan Lamb (5-11, 175 of Topeka, Kan.) and Rashawn Baker (5-11, 170 of Topeka, Kan.).
Signees at tight end are Cory Ryan (6-6, 240 of Kismet-Plains, Kan.) and Joshua Stapleton (6-3, 210 of Mineola, Kan.).
Seven sophomores are expected to return along the interior of the Broncbusters offensive line, led by Ross Addison (6-1, 310 of Cimarron, Kan.) and Tree Johnstone (6-5, 310 of Douglassville, Ga.) at tackles.
Garden City recruited seven freshmen to challenge for the five offensive line starting positions.
A major revamping of the Broncbusters defense will occur after graduation took nine starters from a unit that allowed 312.2 total yards per game.
Gary Nicholson (6-3, 245 of Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Steven Gerber (6-1, 235 of Kiowa, Kan.) return along the Broncs defensive front.
Nicholson recorded 18 unassisted tackles and eight assists with three quarterback sacks for minus-22 yards in five games last season.
Gerber made two total tackles in six games last year.
Veteran Korey Jones (6-2, 215 of Fort Collins, Colo.) earned all-conference honors and is the lone returnee at linebacker. Korey Jones recorded 46 unassisted and 19 assisted tackles with two quarterback sacks for minus-28 yards as a freshman.
The Broncbusters invited 11 freshmen recruits to battle for the linebacking spots.
Returning to the Garden City secondary is veteran DeVaughn Levy (5-11, 175 of Englewood, Colo.). Levy recorded 26 tackles and five assists with three interceptions and four pass deflections as a freshman.