St. Johns’ Konnor Near “can’t wait” to play at Oklahoma

After ‘overwhelming’ week, former Red Wings standout has new home.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The journey to play Division One athletics in any sport is one of patience and perseverance.

That’s the case for one former mid-Michigan football player who has had quite the couple of weeks.

Konnor Near is a St. Johns native and just graduated from Ferris State University a week ago.

Near was a key cog in a stingy defense that played a pivotal role in the Bulldogs’ back-to-back national championships over the last two seasons.

With plenty of his college buddies moving on, Near saw the opportunity to take a step up in the college football ranks.

In late April, Near submitted his application to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Less than a week later, Near’s cell phone blew up.

“10 minutes into the portal I’m on the phone with a Power Five school in Washington State and like that just never stopped for about three days. It was very overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do,” Near said.

After consulting his parents and reviewing all the offers, Near achieved his dream of playing D1 football, a week ago committing to play at the University of Oklahoma.

“The strength coach was a big part of it and then the staff just relating to being good people,” Near said, comparing what sold him on heading to Norman. “I just wanted to surround myself with the best people possible as far as being genuine and actually having a need for me.”

Near will now join a talented, but unproven defense, with roles up for grabs.

That said, Near is now making childhood dreams a reality in the Big 12 Conference.

But a year from now, Near be playing SEC football in front of crowds of 20-thousand in Big Rapids, to now upwards of 90K.

Like the conference slogan suggests, “It Just Means More.”

Near plans to head to Norman in a little over a week and then it’s full speed ahead to OU’s season-opener Sept. 2 against Arkansas State.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.