Johnny Deaton left Stillwater and the Oklahoma State Cowboys for Northeastern State in the summer of 2011. He has been the quarterback — and perhaps the most recognizable figure — for the RiverHawks since that time.
Now NSU will look for quarterback options elsewhere.
On Wednesday, the Daily Press learned that Deaton is no longer a member of the Northeastern State football team. That news was verified by first-year head coach Rob Robinson.
"That is confirmed," Robinson said in a text message to the Daily Press.
The reason for Deaton's departure is unknown. However, a source close to the situation told the Daily Press that Deaton has decided to focus on finishing his degree at NSU.
Attempts to contact Deaton on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Missing the majority of the 2013 season, Deaton was slated to return to the RiverHawks in 2014 after being granted a medical redshirt in the offseason. Deaton suffered a fractured fibula in NSU's season opener at Pittsburg State in September of the 2013 season.
Cory Meadors and Thor Long handled the quarterbacking duties after Deaton went down in 2013. Long is back for the 2014 season, and he's likely to compete with Kevin Pantastico — a transfer from Phoenix College in Arizona — for the starting spot.
According to NSU's roster on its website, Long, Pantastico and Peyton Rawlins are the only quarterbacks listed. Deaton's name has been taken off.
"I wish Johnny the best of luck and hope he continues to work towards his degree," Robinson said.
Deaton leaves the NSU program as a holder of 11 school records, all of which were set during the 2011 season. Deaton passed for 2,520 yards and 26 touchdowns that season.
Highlighting the 2011 season was NSU's 49-41 victory over Harding. That day Deaton completed 26 of his 43 passes for 542 yards and six touchdowns. Sixteen of those completions went to Trey McVay, who racked up 425 yards — an NCAA record — and six touchdowns, both of which are school records.