TAHLEQUAH — Meanwhile, minus losing Michael Bowie — who played a near-perfect left tackle, NSU returns a team on the cusp of monumental success. Johnny Deaton has a yet another year under his belt at quarterback and should be the drill sergeant the RiverHawks need on offense. Joel Rockmore and Terrence Dixon could make up the best one-two punch at running back.
On Saturday, in NSU’s annual Green and White spring game, Dixon and Rockmore combined for 128 yards rushing. It may not sound overly impressive, but the tandem did it with Green loading the box with walk-on Corey Meadors playing quarterback. Thus, 128 yards doesn’t seem too shabby.
Also key to NSU’s offensive explosion will be Ethan James will move over from right tackle and fill Bowie’s void on the left side of the offensive front, and Ross Dvorak could be the league’s best center. And NSU has a group of wide receivers that the coaches are high on.
On the defensive unit, Victor Johnson will be the RiverHawks’ middle-of-the-field enforcer at his safety position. Same goes for linebackers, Langston Jones and Jack Gray. Vernon Jones will be NSU’s shut-down corner, and Marquin Watts isn’t far behind. Then, Faafetai Te’o and Kinley Choute will bolster a defensive line in need of some girth up front.
And the best part for NSU head coach Kenny Evans? Most of the players penciled in on the two-deep this season will still be around in 2014.
The future is bright. NSU could soon be the envy of the league. But that won’t happen until NSU sheds the punching-bag persona and opts to become a ruthless dictator.