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Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) recently received a bit more representation in the National Football League (NFL) as three alumni players were picked up during the 2019 NFL Draft. Tight End Jace Sternberger went to the Green Bay Packers in round 3, Running Back Darwin Thompson was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in round 6, and Tight End Mik’Qwan Deane signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

All three are alumni of the #staygolden class of NEO football. Deane played under Coach Ryan Held in 2015 and then Coach Clay Patterson in 2016. Thompson played under Patterson in 2016 and 2017, while Sternberger joined Thompson in 2017.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of these young men, but also where our program has been going over the past several years,” said Booster President Jim Rexwinkle. “We’re so proud of Jace, Darwin, and Mik’Qwan and the entire coaching staff of NEO. These three athletes are the most visible right now, but we are extremely proud of the several dozen student-athletes who transferred to division I and II universities.”

Deane made an impact at NEO as a team leader and motivator, a trait that should be useful in the Seahawks system. Starting in 2015, he picked up three touchdowns in nine games. However, Deane flourished under the offense-heavy style of Coach Patterson in 2016, averaging nearly 15 yards per reception on 22 receptions. After transferring to Western Kentucky University, he picked up 44 receptions and 530 yards.

Darwin Thompson exploded on to the scene in 2016, picking up over 1,000 yard rushing and nine touchdowns in his first year. In his second year, he led the nation in all-purpose yards, picking up 1,619 yards on 185 carries and 13 receptions. While at NEO, he earned Second-Team All-American, First-Team All-Conference, and Southwest Junior College Football Conference Offensive MVP honors. After transferring to Utah State University for one season, Thompson again rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 23 receptions, with one going for 88 yards. Thompson will join the league MVP in Kansas City to fill a backfield shy on experience.

Sterberger played a year at NEO and earned First-Team All-Conference in 2017. On 21 receptions, he averaged 16 yards per catch and totaled 336 yards for the season. His high-flying abilities proved the perfect fit for the Texas A&M Aggies’ tight-end heavy offense. In one season, he caught 48 passes for 832 yards and racked up 10 touchdowns. Sternberger will travel north to play alongside Aaron Rogers, Jimmy Graham, and Davonte Adams.

Golden Norse Football under Head Coach Zach Allen looks to build in its success as 2018 Conference Co-Champions and continue to develop top-level athletic talent as student-athletes receive outstanding classroom instruction at NEO.

“We’re going to continue building on the traditions already established at NEO,” added Rexwinkle. “We’re going to enhance relationships with our incoming players and our alumni to those them that NEO is one of the best colleges in the nation to develop athletic talent and well-rounded young men.”

For more information on the Golden Norse Football program, contact Lisa Severe at lsevere@neo.edu.

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