By BEN JOHNSON
Beau Proctor had his pick of the litter when it came to college offers in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Missouri Southern and Missouri Western were all bidding for Proctor’s services.
In the end, though, it was Northeastern State that prevailed in the recruiting process.
“I came here on a visit,” Proctor said, recalling his first-ever trip to Tahlequah, “and I loved the area, first of all. Then the coaches were very welcoming, and it seemed like they really wanted me, so it felt like I was welcome in their program.”
That led to Proctor signing with NSU in February, leaving his hometown of Norman for eastern Oklahoma.
“I love it,” Proctor said of the Tahlequah area. “I’m a real outdoorsy-kind of guy. The rivers and lakes are awesome.”
NSU head coach Kenny Evans pointed to Tahlequah’s rural setting as a big plus in the recruiting process of Proctor.
“Beau is a guy that likes to hunt and fish,” Evans said. “So he fit in really well in this area.”
Proctor, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound freshman linebacker, joins the RiverHawks with a stout group of linebackers in front of him. Langston Jones, Jack Gray, Donnie Fuston, Colten Nevel and others all return to bolster the interior of NSU’s defense.
Thus, Proctor is zeroing in the possibility of redshirting, which he is OK with.
“They told me they plan on redshirting me because they have a couple seniors,” Proctor said. “They’re deep at linebacker, so they just want me to get bigger and stronger for upcoming seasons.”
Evans wouldn’t completely commit to Proctor redshirting, but there’s a strong indication that’s how he’ll spend the 2013 season.
“He will pick things up so fast, and he has a great understanding of what we’re doing, that he could be in a position where if two or three people are injured — or something happens — he could play this year,” Evans said of Proctor, who was a key cog on Norman North’s defense, which propelled the Timberwolves to a runner-up finish to Jenks in the Class 6A state championship in 2012.
“He could be an impact on special teams this year. We’ll just have to make that decision as we get closer to the season.”
Proctor also joins the RiverHawks with lineage in his favor. His grandfather is Bobby Proctor, who coached at Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and most notably at Oklahoma for 19 seasons.
“When I first heard (Proctor) was a player we were looking at, my comment was, ‘if he’s half as tough as his grandfather, we want him,’” Evans said. “And he has definitely showed the toughness on the field. He’s a smart and intelligent player that we foresee could play either of the outside linebacker spots. He could also became basically a coach-type player on the field.”
Q&A: Beau Proctor, Northeastern State linebacker
It wasn’t that long ago that Beau Proctor was suited up and playing for Norman North in the Class 6A championship game in 2012. The Timberwolves lost to Jenks, and now Proctor has arrived in Tahlequah, preparing to redshirt during his first year on campus at Northeastern State.
Outside of football, what’s something you enjoy doing?
I love to hunt and fish. Those are probably my two passions.
What are some of the largest catches you’ve hauled in?
When I was five, a caught a 16- or 17-pound striper at Lake Texoma. I was like pulling in a brick; it took about 45 minutes. I was just hustling it.
Being a duck hunter, are you a fan of Duck Dynasty?
I am. I love it.
Who is your favorite person on the show?
I’d probably say Jase. He’s kind of like me; kind of laid back and kind of makes jokes behind the scenes.
With Bobby Proctor as a well-known former assistant coach at Oklahoma, are you at all interested in getting into coaching after college?
I’m going to try to do physical therapy stuff. I’ve had conversations with my grandpa about it, and the first thing he said is ‘absolutely not.’ He said, ‘don’t get into it.’ He loved it. It was his passion. But he said family time is too valuable.
What was it like playing in the state championship game against Jenks?
Well, in December, it sucked because we lost. But the tour up to that was incredible. You look at “Friday Night Lights” and “Remember the Titans” and everything, and people say it’s like a movie. And it really is like a movie.
What was it like beating Owasso in the semifinals to reach the state championship game?
Before the season started, we were picked fifth in the district. Then we go undefeated in district. Then we went into that game with teachers saying we had a good run and everything, so we just played with that chip on our shoulder. It was just awesome. It was really just having that feeling of proving people wrong.
How was the most impressive player you played with at Norman North?
Jordan Evans. He went to OU. He was incredible on special teams. I think he had like six kick returns and six punt returns. Now he’s going to have an awesome career at OU.