Dale Patterson is thrilled to have Casey Curtis, Eric Dockins and Sheldon Wilson signed to his first recruiting class since his return to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami.
“Outside of probably (Jenks' Alex Ross), we signed the three best running backs in the state, in my opinion,” Patterson said, adding that they all bring something different to the table.
Curtis, who rushed for 1,805 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Putnam City, “is going to make people miss out in the open,” Patterson said. “He's more of the speed, jitterbug kind of runner.”
Dockins, out of Broken Bow, “is a bigger back. He has speed, but he's also got lots of power,” Patterson said.
And Wilson, well, he can do it all.
The Anadarko back rushed for 3,335 yards and set state records with his 57 rushing and 64 total touchdowns.
“I hate to put too much on just him, because we liked all three of them, but we're really excited about him,” Patterson said. “He has the speed; he has the moves; he has good size. ... He's the type of guy we need that can help us get this program back to national prominence.”
When Patterson returned to NEO in May, he immediately knew what was missing.
“We just didn't have the speed we used to have and the speed we need,” he said.
So Patterson worked to sign lots of top running backs, receivers and defensive backs.
NEO nabbed a good combination of receivers, from big wideouts like Lawton's DeMarius Littles and Tulsa NOAH's Kendal Davis to smaller, inside receivers like Stillwater's Jesse Vester, who also signed with Oklahoma State but will be a Norseman if he can't become qualified academically.
Patterson is also high on Edmond North tight end Troy Davis.
“We feel really good about him,” Patterson said of the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Davis.
“He's got great hands and can really make some plays.”
NEO also signed a strong group of defensive backs. Midwest City's Ronnie Davis picked off seven passes and made 38 tackles as a senior.
Tulsa Union's JoNiko Thomas also signed with NEO. He was injured for much of his senior year but has shown the ability to be a defensive playmaker.
“These are really good skill people that can play a lot of different places because they're good athletes,” Patterson said. “Now it's our job to put them in the right place where they can play to their potential, go to the next level and help us win.”
Patterson was NEO's head coach from 1996-2003, when he won three Southwest Junior College Conference championships. He left and spent the next seven years as Oklahoma State's assistant director of football operations.