February 5, 2014

Switch to DE took Filer to NEO

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


TJ Filer's switch from linebacker to defensive end last season proved to be more important than originally thought.

Aside from helping Chickasha to its first playoff game since 2006, it is also a big reason why Filer spent Wednesday morning signing for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on scholarship.

"That's the main reason my college is paid for, because they can put me in a lot of places on the field and I can be pretty effective," Filer said. "The coach talked about moving me back to linebacker. I might go there, or I might end up back at defensive end."

Filer is the first Fightin' Chick to sign for a college, although they could see two more go onto play at the next level in the coming weeks. This decision was easy to make after he paid a visit to the campus and did some research.

"When I went up there on a visit, I got to see the campus and that they had spent $40 million on an athletic facility," he said. "They were getting a new stadium, jumbotron, and that appeals to any athlete. It shows they really care about it."

There's also the matter of looking beyond the two-year school. Filer said he has dreamed of Division I competition since first stepped onto a football field, and NEO has a track record of players moving up.

"NEO is a well-known football school," Filer said. "A lot of Division I recruiters come out. Last Spring they said they had 63 Division I scouts recruit out of there. That's been my dream since I was a kid."

But in the meantime, Filer must now focus on a work out schedule to prepare him for the next level.

"They sent me home with some workouts, and I've been doing that," he said. "I'm going to play soccer to work on my footwork and have fun with that. I have to get a lot stronger, because it's no longer I'm one of the biggest guys on the field. Everybody's going to be really big, and I can't just run into people."

Academically, Filer said he'd like to pursue physical therapy.