By BEN JOHNSON
Northeastern State made a habit of stock-piling recruits in recent years. More players never yielded more wins, though, as NSU managed only six wins out of 20 games in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
That eventually led to Kenny Evans’ ousting as head coach.
As NSU’s head coach in 2014, Rob Robinson opted to go with less to get more.
Signing nine high school seniors on Wednesday, Robinson completed his first national signing day by going with mainly offensive and defensive linemen.
“I didn’t want to sign a bunch of kids and end up spinning our wheels,” Robinson told the Daily Press shortly after receiving all the letters of intent. “We can go out and sign 20 kids to look busy, but that many wouldn’t of done us any good.”
When Robinson took over as the RiverHawks’ head coach in December, he identified a need to bolster depth on the offensive and defensive fronts.
He checked that off his list by loading up on Oklahoma City-area players — Millwood defensive end Quincy Dotson, Norman offensive linemen Josh Farley and Cole Ridgway, Midwest City defensive lineman Brandon Jones and defensive end Ryan Woolman of Locust Grove.
“They are quality MIAA players,” said Robinson, who took over a program that had signed 59 players over the past two years. “That’s the big thing I wanted to address.”
Robinson also added four other players — Lawton defensive back Kevin Bell, Dibble’s Tazden Jevons (running back-linebacker combination), quarterback Payton Rawlins of Seneca, Mo., and tight end Jacob Drysdale of Fox High School in Arnold, Mo.
“Recruiting starts earlier these days and it’s hard to get in on a player when you had to start a little later than everybody else like we did this year,” Robinson said. “We will continue to recruit after signing day to get our numbers up where they need to be.”
NSU signing day notebook
More to come
When Northeastern State’s Rob Robinson described his first signing class as the RiverHawks’ head coach, he made sure to point out that he and his staff aren’t done signing players.
Robinson said he hopes to add to the nine players that he inked on Wednesday.
“We have a few late qualifiers on our big board that we are going after,” Robinson said. “I’ve been in this situation before with late qualifiers. Sometimes those guys end up being your best players.”
One area Robinson wants to continue to build depth is at cornerback, despite signing Lawton defensive back Kevin Bell.
“That position is definitely not done,” said Robinson, who took over after leaving his post as offensive coordinator at Washburn. “I want a minimum of two there, and that position needs some depth added.”
Offensive line is another target position for Robinson post-signing day.
“We still have a list of late guys who might have slipped through the cracks,” he said.
Going after Glover
NSU’s 2014 signing class failed to hit double digits, but that’s no fault of the coaching staff.
The RiverHawks added Millwood defensive lineman Quincy Dotson as the first signee on Wednesday morning. But NSU coaching staff was hard after another Millwood player by day’s end.
A source told the Daily Press that NSU coaches were pressing hard to sign Millwood running back Janari Glover, who ran for 1,187 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Class 2A runners-up Falcons in 2013.
Glover was trying to decide between Western Illinois and Northeastern State and had not reached a decision by Wednesday night.
The source also told the Daily Press that Western Illinois had offered Glover a combined scholarship between football and track.
- Quincy Dotson (Millwood, defensive end): A 6-foot-3, 205-pound defensive end for the Falcons in high school, Dotson logged 57 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered during his senior season. On offense as a tight end, Dotson collected 10 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. Dotson and the Falcons lost in the Class 2A state championship game in December, despite leading Davis by 19 points at halftime.
- Josh Farley (Norman, offensive line): At 6 feet, 2 inches tall while weighing in a 280 pounds, Farley anchored Norman's offensive line during the 2013 season. With Farley leading the way, the Tigers posted a 5-5 record and averaged 30.6 points per game.
- Tazden Jevons (Dibble, running back/linebacker): The Dibble Demons missed out on the Class 2A playoffs in 2013, but it was no fault of Jevons. The 6-foot-, 205-pound running back and linebacker racked up impressive numbers throughout his career in 2A football. He finished with 3,521 yards and 52 touchdowns on the ground. He logged seven kickoff returns for touchdowns, too. On defense, he had 323 tackles, six sacks and six interceptions (three that went for touchdowns). During his senior year, Jevons battled a broken hand, which hampered his production at times.
- Brandon Jones (Midwest City, defensive line): Needing a boost on the defensive line, Brandon Jones at 5 feet, 11 inches and 290 pounds will provide just that for the RiverHawks. As a Bomber at Midwest City High School, Jones had 77 tackles and 10 sacks during his senior season, which ended with a loss to Jenks in the Class 6A quarterfinals in 2013.
- Cole Ridgway (Norman, offensive line): The Norman Tigers added its second player to NSU's signing list with the 6-foot-2, 290-pound offensive lineman. Ridgway was named to the All-District team in 6A-4 in 2013.
- Payton Rawlins (Seneca, Mo., quarterback): With Rawlins, a 6-1, 200-pound signal caller leading the way, Seneca (Mo.) made it to the Class 3 championship game in 2013. In the title game loss to Maryville, Rawlins threw for 309 yards and a touchdown while completing 18 of his 30 passes. Rawlins finished his senior year by completing 62.4 percent (174 of 279) of his passes for 2,865 yards and 24 touchdowns. Rawlins also added 402 yards and 10 touchdowns on 98 rushes.
- Jacob Drysdale (Arnold, Mo., tight end): A member of the All-State second team in 2013, Drysdale provides a big body — 6-3, 220 pounds — for the RiverHawks at tight end. Drysdale, a three-sport standout at Fox High School, was also an All-District First Team member in 2013.
- Kevin Bell (Lawton, defensive back): With the 6-foot, 175-pound Bell in the defensive backfield in 2013, the Lawton Wolverines reached the 6A quarterfinals before falling to Westmoore. As a senior, Bell posted 47 tackles and four interceptions, which garnered him All-District accolades in 6A-4 at Lawton High School.
- Ryan Woolman (Locust Grove, defensive line): In 13 games in 2013, Woolman, a 6-2, 265-pound defensive lineman, logged 138 tackles and nine sacks while sparking a Locust Grove defense that propelled the Pirates to the Class 3A quarterfinals, where they lost to Plainview.
Oklahoma players signing in the MIAA
- Samuel Bond (Madill, athlete)
- Trevor Blassingame (Guthrie, DL)
- Tristan Butcher (Coweta, LB)
- Adim Chukwurah (Norman North, DB)
- Lawrence Evitt (Wagoner, RB)
- Hadyn Ford (Wagoner, WR)
- Noah Hammons (Westmoore, OL)
- Eli Hooks (Deer Creek, DE)
- Johnny Jones (Douglass, LB)
- Blake Kalman (Bethany, OL)
- Colton Lindsey (Christian Heritage, QB)
- David Seagle (Cascia Hall, OL)
- Tyler Sipe (Norman North, WR)
- Jordan Stafford (Hugo, DL)
- Myles Tease (Booker T. Washington, DB)
- Jaelon Walker (Moore, RB)
- Skyler Wood (Nowata, DL)
- Trey Wormington (Norman North, DE)
- Justin Marcha (Edmond Memorial, K)
- Diesen Gorham (Perkins-Tryon, OL)
- Orlando Sheets (Del City, DB)
- Trenton Ball (Carl Albert, TE)
- Justin Brown (El Reno, WR)
- Kai Collins (Guthrie, RB)
- Joe Neece (Cashion, WR)
- Stephen Hocker (Enid, OL)
- Landon Nault (Kingfisher, RB)
- Drew Cook (Casady, DB)
- Cory Keyes (Southmoore, LB)
- Morris Willis (Owasso, DE)
- Conner Dickey (Grove, LB)
- Coleby Evans (Union, LB)
- Slade Nordic (Bartlesville, WR)
- Luke Thompson (Jenks, LB)
- Stevie Thompson (Carl Albert, QB)
- Brett Tye (Jenks, WR)
- Kastin Spencer (Plainview, DE)
Fort Hays State
- Britton Bishop (Oologah, OL)
Northwest Missouri State
- Tyler Base (Oologah, OL)
- Jordan Dickson (Bartlesville, DB)