In 2010, Marks played in every game for the Huskies as one of NIU's top two tight ends and made a pair of appearances in the starting line-up. He finished the season with a career-high eight catches for 75 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per catch. Five of his catches came versus Illinois, when he totaled 55 receiving yards, including a career-long 22-yard catch. He also caught passes versus Toledo, Western Michigan and Iowa State.
"We were honored to award Jack with a scholarship after all the hard work he has put into the program here," Doeren said. "He is a true Huskie and has earned the right to be a scholarship athlete at NIU."
In all, Marks has played in 22 games over the last two years and has nine catches for 80 yards. Marks has continued a family football tradition at Northern Illinois as two of his uncles played football at NIU in the 1970s.
Northern Illinois coaches have long acknowledged the value walk-ons bring to the football program with Marks the latest non-scholarship player to be rewarded. Current Huskies Jason Schepler, Sean Progar and Rashaan Melvin began their careers as walk-ons as did 2010 seniors Chad Spann, who now stands as NIU's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, and Jake Coffman, who ranks on the Huskies' list for career quarterback sacks. Spann, Coffman, Progar and Schepler all earned All-Mid-American Conference accolades in 2010 while playing key roles for the record-setting 11-3 Humanitarian Bowl Champions.
"One of my goals as the head coach at Northern Illinois is to continue to have a very strong walk-on program," Doeren said. "Individuals like Jack Marks who come here without a scholarship are very important to the success of our team."
Northern Illinois opens its first spring practice under Doeren on Tuesday, March 22. Season tickets for the 2011 six-game home schedule are on sale now for just $99. Call 815-753-1923 or go online to www.NIUHuskies.com.