NIU head football coach Rod Carey will be announcing his first signing class Feb. 6 at 2:30 p.m.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Signing Day Live Chat! Our coaches enjoyed interacting with the fans and we'll definitely look to keep these types of things going here at Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @NIUAthletics and like NIU Huskies on Facebook! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Join us here at from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for exclusive coverage of 2013 National Letter of Intent Day as four Northern Illinois University teams present their newest Huskies. For the first time, fans will be able to interact with Huskie coaches and staff throughout the day leading up to the press conference. Signing Day Live Chat Schedule (all times Central)
8:30 a.m. - Live Chat Begins
9 a.m. - Chat guest: Asst. Coach Kevin Kane
10 a.m. - Chat guest: Asst. Coach Roy Manning
11 a.m. - Chat guest: Asst. Coach Thad Ward
11:30 a.m. - Chat guest: Women's Track & Field/Cross Country
Noon - Chat guest: Men's Soccer Head Coach Eric Luzzi
1 p.m. - Chat guest: Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi
1:30 p.m. - Live Chat Ends

Between guests, members of the NIU Media Relations staff will man the chat lines to keep fans updated on which fax has been verified and who are the newest Huskies. Send in your questions prior to or during Wednesday's chat. We will get to as many questions as we can while still keeping you updated on the day's events!

Moderator NIU: Good morning and welcome to today's live chat of signing day! It's already been a busy morning here at the Yordon Center. The fax machine has been buzzing and the names are coming in. Check our Twitter feed @NIUAthletics and bios and video will be posted soon on Signing Day Central.

Steve Canton Ga: No question here, just a thank you and keep up the good work, your NIU fans in the south are rabid and love our huskies, even got some SEC guys watching the team now
Moderator NIU: Thanks Steve! We hope everyone will keep sending their questions. We're going to have assistant coach Kevin Kane with us in a few minutes and we'll talk to him about where he's been over the past few months and how the Huskies have been received on the recruiting trail after an historic season.

Jay: Good morning guys. Seems like most of the NLIs came in bright and will you guys spend this afternoon?
Moderator NIU: You are right Jay, the LOI's have been rolling since 6 a.m. CT (7 a.m. Eastern Time). In fact, I think we're only waiting on two-three more at this point. A few minutes ago we got all the coaches together to review the bios and make any changes or adjustments to those lists so that we have the most accurate information. Now we'll work on the release, and get ready for the press conference which will live stream at 2:30 p.m. today

Ed (Downers Grove): Has Coach Carey named a recruiting coordiantor as of yet? Are we still looking for a DB coach?
Moderator NIU: Hi Ed. Thanks for your question. That's another thing we've been working on today as Coach Carey has announced some new titles for the returning coaches and a few others. We will be announcing Brett Diersen, our new defensive line coach as recruiting coordinator.

Steve (Lindenhurst): Hi everyone in Dekalb! Sounds like today is going pretty well so far. My question is how many recruits were you expecting to hear from today versus how many you actually did hear from already?
Moderator NIU: Good morning Steve. Well, so far we are working on getting all the information up on 19 guys and there are a handful more expected
Moderator NIU: Hey, Jordan Lynch has just stopped by the "nerve center" here in the Yordon Center. Jordan enjoying a breakfast and plain bagel. He's heading downstairs for a workout and getting ready to head to Columbus, Ohio to be honored by Touchdown Club of Columbus this weekend as their MAC Player of the Year.

Michael Scarn: Is the CPC construction on track and what time frame is it expected to open?
Moderator NIU: Hi Michael - Here in the McCareins Auditorium of the Yordon Center, I can hear the construction going on right outside and look out the window to see workers on lifts installing the steel frame. Despite some rough weather the last few weeks, I believe everything is on track for an opening in the fall. Check out our Facebook page at NIU Huskies for some of the most recent photos of the construction and progress.

Ryan (elgin): Is the team planning on wearing the uniforms they wore for the orange bowl this season? How did the players like the uniforms? I heard mixed reviews
Moderator NIU: Good question Ryan. I know that each player got to keep his Orange Bowl jersey as a remembrance of the event so I don't believe we will be seeing those again. As for the red pants, we'll have to wait and see if we break those out again.

Michael Scarn: Great start to the morning!!! Question: What can we expect for the new jumbo tron (size?) and any truth to the rumor of ribbon screens in the stadium?
Moderator NIU: Hi Michael - I haven't seen the specs on the new scoreboard although I have also heard the rumors of ribbon screens. Everyone around here is really looking forward to having a new board, which is projected to be in place for the season. Should be excellent.
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hey everybody. Big day for Huskie Nation. I've got a few questions here and will do my best to answer them.

Novak: Coach Kane: How do you feel the Orange Bowl impacted recruiting for this year's class, and how will it impact recruiting for next year's class?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: For this year's class, we got some late signees which the Orange Bowl definitely helped. We had most of our class filled even before we went to the Orange Bowl. I expect next year's class to benefit more from the Orange Bowl with the exposure we received.

Tom ( Homer Glen, Ill): For Kevin Kane: Will your coaching duties expand from last year? What responsibilities will you have ?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hi Tom. I'll still be coaching the linebackers and will now be in charge of special teams.

Mike (DeKalb): Is the BCS appearance already making a huge difference in terms of quantity of recruits?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Mike, it's definitely helped the quality of recruits. Of course, you can only take so many in every class.

Ben: With all the new coaches, are there any new states or areas that NIU will be recruiting in?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hi Ben. Right now we feel pretty comfortable with where we're at. Some coaches will change their areas. We're still going to take care of Illinois first.

Ryan (elgin): Hey Coach, what is your philosophy on special teams? will we be aggressive like what we saw in the orange bowl?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Ryan - We will be sound, we will be aggressive, we're going to keep it fun for our guys. We won a lot of games on special teams since we've been here and it will continue to be that way.

Cameron (Lincolnshire): By the looks of the class it appears there was an emphasis on the Defense side of the ball at the LB and DB areas especially. How excited are you with the players you will potentially be personally coaching?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Very excited to coach Sean Folliard, Bobby Jones and Jamaal Payton. Sean is here already and doing a great job. It will be nice to have him in spring drills. Bobby is a hard-working smart player, comes from a great family and program down in Florida. Jamaal is a local guy who brings a lot of toughness and pride to the field.

Mike (Chicago): How did the building of the Chessick Practice Center and our appearance in the Orange Bowl influence recruiting this year? Do we expect an even greater impact for next years class?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: The Chessick Practice Center has been huge. I'm looking out the window now and see more steel going up. It will give us the ability to work all year 'round with our current players. It also gives us a WOW factor for recruits when they come in the door. Our facilities will match anybody in the country when this is done.

3Peat (Chicago): Any potential JUCO transfers that we haven't heard about? Anyone that could make half the impact that Ken Bishop did would be great.
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Nice name 3Peat. Don't jinx us! We don't have any JuCOs this year. You never know what may happen for next. Ken was a great addition and he's gonna have a huge near for the upcoming season. You've gotta love big D-Tackles!

John Kansas City: Has the success of the 2nd Conference Championship and the Orange Bowl open new doors for NIU and its recruiting?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Is this John Kane? Yes, definitely. Winning is always good. Anytime you can say Back to Back, it's going to grab people's attention. Also, anytime you have 10-plus wins three years in a row, people recognize your program. Not only with what we're doing on the field but in the classroom as well... top 15 in Graduation Success and top 5 in Academic Progress.

Rich (Round Lake): Never really got a chance to personally thank any of the coaches but thank you for helping to take our school to the Orange Bowl!
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Thanks Rich. Stop in to RJs for me! Thanks for all the support. The Orange Bowl was a great time for our players and our university. The bar has been set and we want to get back to an elite bowl.

Laurie (Naperville): Big Huskie fan here. Have to say it but your picture makes you look the age of a teenager. What is your secret?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Thank you Laurie. Credit that to my parents I guess. Tell Coach Carey I need to grow my hair back out. #collegedays

Novak: His freshman year, Jimmie Ward was an animal on special teams blocking punt after punt. Any thoughts to get a little more agressive there too?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Well Novak, our best players are going to play on special teams. We're gonna suit our schemes to those players. The conference knows who Jimmie is now and they target him. We've got to find ways to get those types of players free.

Roselle: With this class, are there any guys we stole from the upper ranks of FBS?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Well, Jordan Huff had several offers to BCS schools. He's a running back from Mobile. Also Aregeros Turner from Copley, Ohio had BCS offers as well. Stars get you fired in this business. We go after the players that will fit our program and will develop to be future stars.

Nathan (Jacksonville,FL): Seems like NIU has found a hotspot in Mobile with Ward, Marlon Moore and now Huff. Will the NIU presence continue to grow in Mobile each year?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hey Nathan. Mobile is a place full of talent and great players. Bob Cole has done a great job down in the panhandle/Alabama region and has established great relationships down there. I expect more and more players to keep coming this way. If they don't, we'll blame Bob!

Steve (Lindenhurst): Hi everyone in Dekalb! Hope today is going as well as you'd hoped it would. My question is how many recruits did you expect to hear from today versus how many you've heard from already?
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hi Steve - we've heard back from everybody but two and they're signing a little later today. All in all it's been a successful day. No news is good news.

Mark (Darien): I know it was difficult, but while we were in Miami did we further our recruiting connections down there? What kind of connections does our existing staff have in Florida and will the pipeline continue? We got Jones today.
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: This was my first year recruiting down in Florida and the Orange Bowl definitely had a positive effect in the South Florida area. We will continue to recruit down there. Relationships have been built and will continue to grow with other high school coaches. Our first priority is Midwest, Illinois kids with a sprinkle of Florida. Robert Jones comes from a school that sends kids to Division I every year. His house if minutes from Sun Life Stadium.

Steve (Lake Villa): How did the recent coaching changes impact this class? It would seem the new staff really had to hit the ground running.
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Hi Steve. Our recent coaching additions have done an awesome job recruiting. We didn't miss a beat throughout the transition. They were great recruiters. They have good rapport with recruits. Look for exciting things to come with these guys.
Asst. Coach Kevin Kane: Huskie Nation, thanks for your questions. We're finishing up this year and moving on to the next. We're excited about the future of Huskie Football with Coach Carey and the rest of the staff. Come out and support the back-to-back MAC Champions. You won't be disappointed. Go Huskies.
Moderator NIU: Thanks to Coach Kane for joining us today. In a few minutes we'll have one of our newest coaches, Roy Manning, who will be able to answer some of your running back questions. In the meantime, the list is going up on Signing Day Central and we're feverishly working to get the bios and videos posted.
Moderator NIU: The Huskies have now announced 21 recruits and most of their names and bios are now populated on Signing Day Central! Check 'em out.

Dave (Chicago): Not sure my first post went through - wondering if Coach Carey has named an OC
Moderator NIU: Hi Dave - The offensive coordinator designation is one of a few that Coach Carey will announce today. We already talked about Kevin Kane adding special teams duties and Brett Diersen being named recruiting coordinator. Quarterbacks coach Bob Cole will also be the offensive coordinator and Joe Tripodi has officially taken over as Offensive Line coach. In addition, Carey has designated Tim Polasek to be in charge of the NIU camps. A complete release will be up soon on this on
Moderator NIU: We'll be joined in a few minutes by new running backs coach Roy Manning. We've got several questions already lined up but there are always room for more!
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Hello Huskie Fans! Great to be with you today on Exciting day for NIU. Let's get to some questions.

Fernando: Coach Manning, As a kid I was a Michigan fan, so when I heard you joined the Huskies staff I was excited. Playing under Coach Lloyd Carr, what was one thing you took away from him that has helped you become a great coach and recruiter?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Thanks Fernando. I've got a million things but the last thing Coach Carr told me was work hard, learn every day, care about your players, be positive and be the best teacher you can be.

Doug (Wheaton): How are you going to find playing time for all these talented RBs you landed?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: I think that the style of offense we play, being up-tempo, allows more opportunities because we try to run so many plays that more than one guy is going to have to carry the work load. That may not have been the case last year but that's the challenge and it will depend on how those guys progress in training camp. The best players will play.

Matt (Loganville, GA): Coach Manning, how do you like NIU so far? You must love it with all the new RB's you are going to have your hands on!!
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Matt, I love NIU, DeKalb. It's been great so far. Great people, great community. Obviously this team. It's a great time to be part of the NIU program right now coming off of a championship season. I'm excited.

Ed (D.G): As RB coach you have to be thrilled with the emphasis in that area for this class. Please give your thoughts on each of the new RB's you signed today.
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Jordan Huff, a guy from Mobile, Ala. Very productive player in HS. Comes from a great high school program down there. Really good vision, runs extremely hard, able to make people miss and at 5-11, 205, he's a guy that can come in and play right away. Joel Bouagnon is a downhill runner who is very, very physical. When you look at him you are impressed physically. He's a big kid, 225 pounds and will run people over. This program is definitely missing a back like him. SOmeone who can get in there and get those much-needed yards, yet he's still athletic enough at the second level. He's another guy who can come in and play right away.

Nathan (Jacksonville,FL): Welcome to NIU Coach Manning! How good of a relationship did you have with Aregeros and his family? Did that have a lot to do with him coming to NIU?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Hi Nathan. Obviously Aregeros was a player we had committed at my previous school so I had a great relationship with him. It wasn't just me of course. Also the program we have here at NIU is very attractive so I think it was a combination of the two.

Mark (Oak Park): Just wanted to welcome you to the Huskie Family. We are truely a family here and want to make sure you feel at home.
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Well thanks Mark. I appreciate it. I can already feel the family atmosphere here since I stepped in the door.

Rich (Bolingbrook): How is the running back situation shaping up? Daniels came on strong but who else is competing this year?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Well, we'll see. Obviously Keith Harris showed what he could do last year. It's a young room. The men in that room definitely have something to prove but the running back tradition here is a strong one and me and them have a responsibility and a great challenge ahead of us to continue that legacy.

Scott (Elmhurst): You have been with other schools, how do the facilities at NIU stack up against those schools and around the country.
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: I can't imagine there are better facilities many places. You are talking about everything being accessible here for the student-athletes. Obviously the CHessick Center going up will be a huge addition that sets us apart in the MAC and in college football. It's top notch.

Steve (DeKalb): With this running back class, can you even see Coach Roy's face? Or is it just one big smile?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Definitely one big smile!

Fernando: Coach Manning, What states or areas did you recruit when you were at Cincy? Do you plan on recruiting in those same areas since you developed relationships there?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: I recruited Michigan, Louisiana and northern Ohio and yes, I'd like to stay in those areas.

Steve (Davenport, IA): Really loving the talent we are getting on offense. Any chance we will see Turner, Huff, and/or Mitchell making any impact this season?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: I think that for any freshman, the opportunity to play comes down to how quickly they can learn the offense and physically are they ready to play. I think that any of those guys can help this team this year and make an immediate impact but only time will tell.

Steve (Lake Villa): How did the recent coaching changes impact this recruiting class? It would seem all the new staff members had to really hit the ground running.
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Definitely it's part of the profession. Transition happens and you have to be ready to pick up and go at a moment's notice. The guys here, Coach Carey and the staff did a great job of getting us up and going in a hurry so kudos to them for everything they did. It was a challenge.

3Peat (Chicago): Roy, how did your hiring at NIU come about? Do you have prev. relationships with guys on the staff or did Coach Carey reach out to you? Welcome aboard
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: A combination of both. More so the latter, that Coach Carey reached out. We knew some mutual people . Things just worked. The timing was right and I'm really thankful that they did reach out.

David (Woodridge): Are you comfortable you are getting LOI's from everone you wanted to get them from?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Yes, we did our research on all the players. OBviously it's about the relationships we built. Any guy we signed today, we have great relationships with and couldn't be more excited for any of those guys. It's a great day.

GJM (Lemont): Coach Manning, how did it happen that you transitioned from being a college/pro linebacker to college running backs coach?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: I'm still trying to figure that one out! YOu start out wanting to be a coach and you don't always know the different roads coaching will take you down. You've got to be willing and ready and open to learning and trying new things and thus far it's definitely worked out. I think playing defense over my career has definitely helped me in explaining and teaching those guys. That's what we do on offense is we look at defense.

3Peat (Chicago): Congrats and welcome. How quickly did you contact Aregeros after leaving Cincy? When did you first start recruiting him? You guys must have a good r/t
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Hello Chicago. Coming here, I hit the recruiting trails hard and tried to find the best players I could in a short amount of time and he happened to be one. Any kid that we bring in as a member of this program, we have a relationship with and that's the most important thing. You need good players, but great people and great student-athletes to this university. I think we get that with him and with all of our signees.

Ben (Joliet): I know the staff is looking at recruiting for next year already. What positions are top priorities for recruiting next year?
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Hi Ben - We're really trying to enjoy the day and celebrate these new Huskies. This is a day for them. Recruiting goes year round. Excited to be around our current players that we have on campus. We're still getting to know all of them.
Asst. Coach Roy Manning: Huskie fans. I want to thank everyone for the questions. I'm proud to be an NIU Huskie and look forward to having a great season. Go Huskies!!
Moderator NIU: Thanks to Coach Manning for joining us today. Another new coach, Thad Ward, is up next. He'll join us at 11 am so send your questions now for Thad and any questions you have for us in the meantime.
Moderator NIU: Slowed down a little bit on the chat in order to continue prepping for the rest of today's events and that's kind of how it is at the Yordon Center right now as well. With nearly all of the faxes (yes, they still do use the fax machine) in, the coaches have returned to their offices for the most part. Some have gone to get a work out in, others are starting to think about spring and work on the Xs and Os for next year.
Moderator NIU: Noticed on Signing Day Central that tweets are coming in with signees from our other sports and we will be chatting later today with men's soccer head coach Eric Luzzi and both director of track and field Connie Teaberry and cross country head coach Greg Hipp around the noon hour. Feel free to send in questions for those folks as well.

Chicago Huskie: Any word on the number of season ticket holders for next year? On the rise?
Moderator NIU: Coming off the Orange Bowl season, increasing our season ticket holders is definitely a focus as well as just more engagement and more fans in the stands, from students to ticket holders. The fact is, at this point, it's not about who the opponents are at Huskie Stadium. It's about the Northern Illinois Huskies! We ARE the draw. We are an Orange Bowl team, we are a championship program. We have won 11 (or more) games in each of the past three seasons and not too many teams can say that.

Ed (Downers Grove): As long as we are waiting where are we with our donation levels for the CPC? What has now been pledged to date?
Moderator NIU: The CPC fundraising is going great and we are SO CLOSE to the end zone. I'll try to get a number for you sometime during today's chat but need to check with our Assoc. AD for Major Gifts to be sure I'm accurate. I will definitely work on that Ed.
Moderator NIU: We're about to be joined by assistant coach Thad Ward, another of our new members of the Huskie Staff. Get your questions for Coach Ward in now!
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Hi Huskie Fans! I'm excited to be here and excited to be a part of this great university. Let's get started with some questions.

Brian (Schaumburg): Having come from Western Michigan, how do you feel your knowledge of the MAC is going to benefit us here at NIU?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: I think it's definitely going to help. I think my knowledge of the league with the schemes and knowing the personnel of our opposition is definitley going to help. Very good question.

Jason (Bartlett): How excited are you to come to a program like NIU?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: I am very excited about this program that we have at NIU. I'm excited about the staff we have to work with, the group of players that I have to work with and just the team - from the administration on down. It's a great opportunity.

Roderick (DeKalb): Hello Coach Thaddeus, How do you feel you can teach tall wide receivers such as Malik Mitchell when you are vertically challenged?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Well Roderick. That's the number one reason why I'm going out and recruiting big receivers is their coach is vertically challenged. LOL. Receivers come in all sizes. We have a great receiver, Chad Beebe, who is gonna be a great one for us. We do have guys like Tommylee Lewis, who I am actually taller than, but he's a tremendous player.

Jordan (Dekalb NIU student): Welcome Coach Ward. How do you like the WR recruits and how do you feel about the current group? TLL, Miller, Brown, and AJ?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: FIrst and foremost, I feel great about the players we have here on campus right now. SOme of these guys have played a little football and done some great things. I like where we are as a room right now and feel we got better today as a receiver group.

Mark (Montgomery): Hey Coach, can you talk a bit about the boys you're getting from Aurora Christian. I assume they're all solid kids who played under Coach Don Beebee.
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Hi Mark. First of all, Coach Beebe is a great guy and a great coach who has done a wonderful job. I'll talk about CHad first because I'll get a chance to coach him. He's an outstanding player and an outstanding kid and I look forward to coaching him for the next four-five years. Joel Bouagnon is a big bruising back who is gonna help us in our run game this year. Brandon Mayes is going to be a big time player for us as well at the safety position and we're fortunate to have him. Aurora Christian is a great school and we feel they'll be a great fit at NIU.

Justin (mokena): Welcome to NIU! Who do you see stepping up at the WR position to replace Moore and Ashford?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: That's a good question Justin. My first job here is to evaluate. I haven't had a chance to evaluate yet. Tommylee has done some good things, he had a great bowl game. Da'Ron Brown has a lot of ability. Juwan Brescacin and Jamison Wells got some reps last year and were able to make some catches. The spring is an opportunity for all of these guys to step up and prove themselves. Everyone will be evaluated every day and that's the competition we are looking forward to.

Dan (Grand Rapids, MI): Coach Ward, with your previous experience at WMU, will you be recruiting the state of Michigan for the Huskies?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Hi Dan. I did go to Michigan to finish this year's recruiting but in the future I'll be primarily in Chicagoland.

Nick (DeKalb): Coach, Here at NIU we have a good mixture of size (Brescasin) and speed (Lewis). When recruiting a receiver where do you main priorities lie?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Toughness is the number one criteria to play football. Even though T-lee is fast, he's tough first. Toughness is the first thing I look for. They're passionate about the game, they love the game. The first thing I look for is not is he fast or is he big. I look for speed, size, change of direction, but they've got to be tough.

Matt (Loganville, GA): Coach, I know that transitioning from one head coach to another can be difficult. How has the transition been going and do you feel as though it hurt any of the recruiting?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Matt, the transition has been smooth, it's going great. Transition from one coach to another is different so we felt as a staff we've done a great job with that transition and we're looking to move forward.

Aaron (DeKalb): How has the new staff worked together, do you feel comfortable and enjoy coming to work?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Let me say this... I definitely, definitely enjoy coming to work every morning. Starting with Coach Carey, it's a family environment with everyone. From the administration down, it's awesome here and you get that as soon as you get here. No one is walking on eggshells. I love it. It's a great group of guys to work with. Everyone works hard and we're all relentlessly pursuing greatness.

George (Villa Park): Our receivers play a key role in our running game. How important is a wide receiver's blocking ability to you?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: It's very important and that's where that toughness comes back in. THat's why I feel like being tough is the number one criteria to playing receiver. Those guys will know blocking is what we do. It's not just something we do for recreation. Blocking is 20 percent technique, 80 percent effort and they will definitely get that. We'll continue the success that we've had in the area of blocking.

Joe (Park Ridge): Our new WR addition Mitchell is from Georgia, how did we end up finding and landing him in an area we have not historically recruited? Did the Orange Bowl exposure help our brand with guys in the Southeast?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: I originally evaluated Malik at a camp about a year ago and had the opportunity to spend some time with him. Yes, the Orange Bowl exposure definitely helped but Malik was someone I had a relationship with not just him but his mom Diane and grandma too. I look forward to working with Malik. He has endless ability, a lot of talent and I just want to get the best out of him. He can leap with a 37 inch vertical, 10-4 broad jump guy who can go up and get the ball. He's going to be a big time player for Huskie nation.

Cameron (Dekalb): What are your initial impressions of Charlie Miller? He was a highly touted recruit for us last year and we have yet to see him take the field?
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Charlie is a player that I've known about for a while and I feel really good about Charlie and his ability and look forward to working with him. I knew about him even when I got to Western last year.
Asst. Coach Thad Ward: Fans, I'm so excited about our overall class. It's great to be at NIU. My family is excited about being here. We look forward to taking this program to the next level. We want to see everybody here come out and support our players. They work so hard and we really need the support of everyone to take it to the next level. We can't do it. Thanks for all the questions and your time. Hope to meet you soon.
Head Coach Connie Teaberry: We have NIU's Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Connie Teaberry with us now. Be sure to send us your questions now on the Huskie track & field program!

Shane (Belleville, IL): Coach Teaberry, congrats on landing A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad! Being a native St. Louisan, how do you use your connections in the area for recruiting?
Head Coach Connie Teaberry: Being form St. Louis, there are several coaches with the Blues track club I ran for that are still in the business. I keep in close contact with them to assess their talented athletes.

Tyler (Carbondale): Coach Teaberry, NIU is a rising program in Illinois. Any chance of them coming to SIU for a meet in the future?
Head Coach Connie Teaberry: Hello Tyler, There is a very good chance of that. I will check into that with Coach Price-Smith for next year. We have been to outdoor competitions there in the past.

Kim (Batavia): Can you tell me a little about the sprinters that you have signed?
Head Coach Connie Teaberry: We have four ladies committed in the sprint and hurdle group. Imani Haynes is a All Conference hurdler running 14.79, Destini Artis is also a hurdler running 14.74. Both ladies run the 300 hurdles as well and are candidates to run on the relays. A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad run the 100, 200, & 400 with a time of 11.90, 24.35, & 56.90. Alexandria Isom also runs the 100, 200, & 400 with times of 12.21, 24.85, & 57.30. Most of all they are great students!
Moderator NIU: We now have NIU cross country coach Greg Hipp here for the last few minutes of the morning!

Tori (Hibbing, MN): Coach Hipp, what is your philosophy on recruiting, specifically here in the upper Midwest?
Head Coach Greg Hipp: The large majority of our team is from Illinois and our bordering states. I have always wanted to get our in-state kids and stay as close to home as possible with the rest of our recruiting class. This year we were able to land two really great ladies out of Minnesota with Taylor Perkins and Chrissy Monson. In 10 years of college coaching those are the first two I've been able to get away from UM. I think we did well with those two. It is exciting to be able to expand our reach within the Midwest.

Irby Columbia SC: Coach Hipp, I have always wanted to see the Huskies go to Nationals. Will this class get him there?
Head Coach Greg Hipp: Ever since the first time I talked to athletic director Jeff Compher and Christian Spears that has been our goal. We have the resources to do it here but we need time to develop that level of a program. This class and last years have given us the foundation to start working towards that goal. It won't be easy but we expect to see ourselves there before this group graduates.

Nikki (Aurora): I enjoyed the conference championships 2 years ago at NIU. Will you host ay large meets in teh future?
Head Coach Greg Hipp: We also hosted the NCAA regional in 2011 for cross country. Our goal is to host that event at least once every four years. We have the facility and support for it. We'll bid again for that event soon and I expect we'll have a great team at the time we receive the bid again. Our home meet next fall is Sept. 6th and we'll have a great field of teams for that meet too.
Moderator NIU: That's it for the track & field/cross country coaches. Next up is NIU men's soccer coach Eric Luzzi.

Tom (St. Charles): Coach Luzzi, how do you go about recruiting international players? What is that process like?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Hey Tom, thanks for the question. There are a couple of different ways that international recruiting works for us. We are forunate to have an alum in Norway that helps us there. In other countries, there are services that help us connect with players interested in attending college. We will be heading to Europe later this spring in hopes of signing a couple of more players for next season.

Bill, St. Louis: For men's soccer. How has the development academy changed the way that recruiting works?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Thanks for the question Bill. The development academy has certainly changed the way we recruit. While there are plenty of good players outside of the academy system, the reality is that with the academy you get a chance to see a number of Division I quality players all at the same time. Here in the Chicago area, we are fortunate to have three academies right in our backyard that we can see, as well as the academy programs that come into the area to play against them.

Mike, Sycamore: Coach Luzzi, now that you have brought in some new players today, what do you see as the strengths of your team this fall?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: I anticipate that the biggest strength of our team this fall will be that all of our guys this fall will be completely invested in our program. On the field, I think you will expect to see the same kind of team we have had the last few years. Good on the ball, attack-minded, athletic, aggressive.

Dave (Rockford, IL): For soccer. Any thoughts on the US soccer game today?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: On paper, we are clearly, along with Mexico, the best team in the region. But when you have to go into a place like Honduras, it will certainly be a hostile environment, and that levels the playing field a lot. I think it is important to start with a win and three points, but I don't think they would be too disappointed if they came away with a draw.

Chris (Chicago): How important is it for the program to install lights and be able to host night games in regards to garnering more support & appeal with fans/recruits
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Thanks for you question. When you look at how close we are to completion on the Chessick Center, lights are really the last missing piece for our program and our players. We have been told that after teh Chessick is completed lights are a high priority for the athletic department. We don't have a set time table but I know that Jeff Compher is committed to making sure that we have lights sometime in the near future.

Ed, Downers Grove: Do we have any relationship with the Chicago Fire? Any chance of a game at Toyota Park at some point?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Thanks for the question Ed. We do have a good relationship with the Chicago Fire, and that is a relationship that we value. We will have four guys on our team this fall that have been in their youth system. We have had conversations with them about playing their reserves in the spring, but it is difficult to work their schedule as well as our schedule. We have looked into playing at Toyota Park but right now we don't expect that to be something we do in the near future.

Chris (Chicago): Traditionally, in the past decade, NIU has been know for it's stout defending, how will you shore up a back line that has faltered the past few years.
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Yes, 2012, was not a typical year for us from the defensive side of things, but if you look at the class that we are announcing today, a number of them are guys that play on the backline and they will compete with the guys we currently have to make us very solid again defensively in 2013.

Chet (Sycamore): The MAC has really become a great soccer conference. Has this helped with recruiting?
Head Coach Eric Luzzi: Thanks for your question. Our conference has definitely become one of the better conferences in the country. The best players always want to play against the best, so it helps getting top players knowing that they will get to play the likes of Akron, West Virginia and the other quality non-conference games that we always try to schedule.
Moderator NIU: We thank Coach Luzzi for joining us today. Our next guest will be Joe Tripodi, joining us in about 30 minutes.
Moderator NIU: Well we are back here at the Yordon Center and looking forward to finishing off your football questions with assistant coach Joe Tripodi. Tripodi is actually the longest-standing member of the NIU coaching staff as he enters his fourth season with the Huskies in 2013.
Moderator NIU: It's a little bit of the calm before the storm here in the Yordon Center. The coaches have scattered to grab lunch or work out and the fax machine is quiet. One NLI left to come in and the timing of that is approximately 1:30 pm, we have been told. The delay was expected though so not a surprise.
Moderator NIU: Wanted to get back to Ed who had asked about the Chessick Practice Center and how close we were on the fundraising goal. Ed, I did find out that we are in the home stretch with less than $100,000 to be raised. We've had so much support from donors and friends to date. The CPC is going to be impressive.
Moderator NIU: This seems like a good time to mention that Rod Carey and ALL of the Huskie coaches will be on hand in the NIU Convocation Center tonight from 6-6:50 p.m. to talk to fans about Signing Day. It will be a great chance to meet the new coaches and visit with the returning guys. Doors open at 6 pm and we'll have our coaches, including Eric Luzzi, John Ross and Connie Teaberry, as well as the entire football staff, available. The event will take place prior to the NIU-Bowling Green men's basketball game at the Convo and a ticket is required. Hope to see as many of you as possible there!

OldTimeNIU: So have we gotten everyone signed for football? Is there a list?
Moderator NIU: Hey OldTime, where have you been? Yes! Click to Signing Day Central on the front page of and you'll see the list, complete with video highlights, of our signees so far. We're waiting on one more football signee. The complete list of recruits (at least the ones received today) for all four sports will be online this afternoon on
Moderator NIU: In just a minute we'll have our final football guest of the day, assistant coach Joe Tripodi. Get those questions in now!
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Hello Huskie Fans. I'm excited to join you for today's Live Chat at Let's get to some questions.

Rich (Chicago): Our new offensive line had a very impressive year last year. But, it was apparent that we were undersized in the Orange Bowl. What types of things are we doing to address this? Are we targeting larger framed OL recruits?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Well right now to address the problem, the first four weeks of our offseason training program for our offensive linemen has been more heavy lifting and extra reps in the weight room. We feel being a young offensive line, sometimes that's an issue that you battle. Offensive line is a harder position to play early so we had some young guys thrown into the mix that were undersized but we are making great strides in the weight room with COach Ohrt right now.

Tom (Hanover Park): Can you walk us through a typical game week prep? I know Monday's are off days for players, but what are Tuesday's like?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Tom, Tuesdays are big install day. It's the first practice of the week and our heaviest hitting practice. It's focused on first and second down. We focus on our run game and play action passes.
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Shane Wimann is a basketball player who is on track to break his school's scoring record. He's an athletic player. We feel like he's going to be able to do some things in the pas game and also come inside and help us in the run game. Ryan Stendler has predominantly play defense in HS but he uses his hands great, he's a hockey player who moves well on skates for a big man. In the past 6 months he's gained about 40 pounds. He's got a great frame, he's 6-4, 250 already and will roll into campus at 255 or so. He'll be able to do some things in the pass game but be more of a run blocker. We felt like those two kids complemented each other very well.

Joe (Chicago): How big have the Soldier Field games been for recruting and getting exposure in talent rich Chicago? Does scheduling games at an NFL venue help entice top tier talent to play for us?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: THe nice thing, when you have a home game at Soldier Field, is that you can bring recruits there and tour them around your competition facility. That's been big, we've really centered our recruiting visits around that venue. The airport is close, the people at SOldier Field are great and it's a huge benefit that people don't realize.

Mike - Naperville: Hi coach, How do you think this class stacks up against the other top MAC teams?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: We've been so focused in on our class and finishing the 2013 class that is not something we've looked at too much. After everyone is signed, we'll peek at it and typically have someone with our staff take a look at it. All in all we want to make sure our class is set and we feel very good about this group.

RCK (KC): With the new coaching regime coming in this season, is there a new strategy/focus, and is that impacting your recruiting?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: I think Coach Carey said it best when he took the job, it's not what you can change it's what you can keep. We've done some pretty good things around here the last few years and we're going to look to continue. We've been successful and we're going to do the best thing for the program.

Naperville: What is your greatest challenge in coaching Division I athletes?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: I think the biggest thing with coaching DIvision I athletes is as a coach you can't coach them all the same. Each kid is a little bit different and you need to find a way to reach that kid and discover how you can motivate that player. You have to reach each player differently and motivate them in the classroom as well as on the field.

Dell (Austin): What is your ideal number of offensive linemen to carry on the team including redshirts? I was surprised we got 3 more today.
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Ideally you'd like to be around 18 or so. You look at a solid two deep and once you get into the season you have to have enough to have a good scout team to give the defense a look.

Marc (Dekalb): Coach, any walk ons or transfers this year that we havent heard much about yet?
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: NIU has historically had a very successful walk-on program. We obviously hope to continue that. In any college program you can never overlook walk-ons. They definitely provide a different dynamic to your team.
Asst. Coach Joe Tripodi: Guys thanks for letting me close out the chat today. I'm going to go finish off our class now. Thanks for all the support and look forward to seeing you too.
Moderator NIU: Wow, it's been a great day on our first Signing Day Live Chat. We're going to shut it down but would love to hear your feedback on the chat so feel free to continue to post ideas. We're going to go off and get ready for the press conference. Just a reminder that will stream LIVE for free on Signing Day Central beginning at 2:30 p.m. Thanks for participating and hope to see all of you at Huskie Stadium in 2013!

Ed (Downers Grove): Kudos to the Athletic Department and our moderator putting the chat on today. We had good coach participation and questions from the online audience. Well done and keep these going!
Moderator NIU: Thanks Ed! Definitely want to keep the chats going! We'll try to put one together before or during spring football!

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