High School Football: Muldrow's Gleason along with Sallisaw's Bartel and Nicholson sign

Dreams came true.

For three Sequoyah County senior football players the adage came to fruition.

Muldrow’s Braden Gleason along with Sallisaw’s Jason Bartel and Brody Nicholson all signed their Letters of Intent to play college football at the next level on National Signing Day on Tuesday.

Gleason, a 6-foot 175-pound quarterback, signed with Emporia State a Division II school in Emporia, Kansas.

For Gleason playing college football is something he has dreamed about since he was a young child.

It’s a dream come true to be able to play at the next level,” Gleason said. “It’s been my dream since I was 5 or 6 years old and it’s what I’ve worked forever for. It’s finally hit me that my dream has come true.”

Gleason, a duel-threat quarterback, combined for 3,509 yards of total offense — 2,861 passing and 648 rushing — along with 43 touchdowns including 29 passing.

There were other offers made to Gleason such as East Central and NEO University

But upon his official visit several weeks back Gleason made up his mind about Emporia.

On my visit I committed,” Gleason said. “I really loved it and didn’t want to go anywhere else. It felt like a family and it’s a great fit.”

In a ceremony in front of the entire student body Gleason put pen to paper.

Muldrow coach Terry Jones knew his senior signal caller would end up a situation that suits him best.

Jones says Emporia State is getting a very diligent student athlete.

Just a great kid,” Jones said of Gleason. “From the day I took this job we bonded. He’s a gym rat and kind of lived in my office wanting to know what we were doing everyday. I’ve never seen a kid that’s so on top of everything.”

Jones praised Gleason for meeting with the coaching staff regularly before practice to simply get a feel for what’s going on.

Jones feels that will continue in college.

He’ll do the same thing at Emporia State,” Jones said. “That’s just the kind of kid he is.”

With his decision made and future plans decided upon Gleason can now enjoy what’s left of his senior year which includes finishing out his basketball and playing baseball.

I just get to have fun these next couple of months,” Gleason said. “Once college starts it’s back to business. I’m thankful for the opportunity and all the support Muldrow has given me.”

Bartel will take his talents to Stillwater where he’ll attend Oklahoma State on a preferred walk-on status.

Bartel, a 6’7 310-pound offensive lineman who garnered all-State honors this season, is excited for the opportunity to attend Oklahoma State and have the opportunity to play on the football team.

I’m extremely humble to have the experience and opportunity to go and play big time college football,” Bartel said. “My visits when I went to (Stillwater) it was more of family feeling when I got there I just knew it. It was a no-brainer for me really a family experience to be able to play there is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I’m glad I have the opportunity to take it.”

Bartel passed on a full-ride offer from New Mexico State to attend OSU.

Passing up a full-ride wasn’t easy but Bartel is banking on himself when he attends OSU this upcoming fall.

It’s tough but I think I have the work ethic,” Bartel said of taking a preferred walk-on status at OSU as opposed to taking a scholarship offer from another school. “If you work hard anything can happen. I believe I will have a chance to work hard and great things will happen after that.”

Bartel didn’t have to look far about walking on at OSU as former teammate and friend Sam Walkingstick walked on and was the starting long snapper for the Cowboys this past season.

Representing Sallisaw to the best of his abilities is something Bartel will take great pride in at OSU.

I want to put Sallisaw on the map as best I can,” Bartel said. “Really represent my hometown and I believe OSU is the best opportunity for me to do it.”

Sallisaw coach Scott Bethel says OSU is getting an extremely hard worker in Bartel.

Bethel feels Bartel has what it takes to make it at OSU.

He’s 6-7 and when you’re that big they can put some mass on you,” he said. “I think he has good feet, a lot of people don’t understand what kind of feet he’s got and you got to have good feet if you’re going to play on the offensive line in college.”

Nicholson will attend and play at William Penn University an NAIA school in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Nicholson, a 6’1 205-pound outside linebacker, couldn’t have been any happier about signing with William Penn.

I’m excited, I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life,” Nicholson said. “To be honest it’s something I never expected either. I had to push myself and I got to thank my coaches for helping me get here.”

The Statesmen won’t be getting the biggest or the fastest in Nicholson but one who never gives up and will work as hard as anybody.

Brody is one of those blue collar guys that’s going to go out there and work his tail end off for anyone,” Bethel said. “He loves the game of football, he’s not that 6-foot-1 or 6’2 guy but he can play that hybrid outside linebacker in college.”

Nicholson said William Penn reached out to him a few months back and upon his visit to the campus he enjoyed it from the very beginning.

From the school to the coaching staff to the community Nicholson loved it.

I went up there to visit and it’s just a great community,” Nicholson said of William Penn. “Great coaching staff and they are really committed to their players. The scenery is beautiful it’s a lovely place.”

Collectively Gleason, Bartel and Nicholson are found their happy place.

Now all three can sit back and enjoy what’s left of their senior years.

Their dreams of continuing their football careers at the next level have come true.

Sequoyah County Times

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