Signing Day Press Conference


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2013 NIU Football Recruiting Class
 NamePos.Ht.Wt.HometownHigh School / Last School
Jackson AbreschDB6-1185Hartland, Wis.Arrowhead
Mycial AllenDB6-0183Detroit, Mich.King
Chad BeebeWR5-9165Aurora, Ill.Aurora Christian
Joel BouagnonRB6-2225Aurora, Ill.Aurora Christian
Josh BrebantK6-0195Akron, OhioCopley
Tate BriggsOL6-4297Naperville, Ill.Montini Catholic
Nick CalhounOL6-5308Oshkosh, Wis.Lourdes Academy
Nick CieslakQB6-3170Waukesha, Wis.Kettle Moraine
Justin CorbettDB6-2205Frankfort, Ill.Lincoln-Way East
Sean FolliardLB6-2215Crystal Lake, Ill.Prairie Ridge
Jake HeckelTE6-3235Waukesha, Wis.Waukesha West
Blake HolderWR6-2195Streamwood, Ill.Streamwood
Jordan HuffRB5-11205Mobile, Ala.St. Paul's Episcopal
Robert JonesLB6-0210Miami Gardens, Fla.Monsignor Pace
William LeeDL6-2280Indianapolis, Ind.Arsenal Tech
Ben MaruskaOL6-4285Fond Du Lac, Wis.Fond Du Lac
Brandon MayesDB5-11182Aurora, Ill.Aurora Christian
Zeb McLaurinDB5-11180Chicago, Ill.St. Ignatius Prep
Malik MitchellWR6-4181Alpharetta, Ga.Milton
Jamaal PaytonLB6-0220Bellwood, Ill.Proviso West
Draco SmithDB5-9185Hammond, Ind.Mt. Carmel [Ill.]
Ryan StendlerTE6-4250Mequon, Wis.Homestead
Aregeros TurnerATH5-11170Copley, OhioCopley
Shane WimannTE6-4225Wisconsin Dells, Wis.Wisconsin Dells

Logo Jackson Abresch NIU Athletics
DB | 6-1 | 185 | Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead HS)
Garnered first team all-state accolades from the Associated Press... Named to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-state team as a junior and senior... Two-time first team all-conference and all-area honoree... Three-year starter in the defensive backfield at Arrowhead High School... Selected to play in the WFCA All-Star Game following the 2012 campaign... Helped the Warhawks to a 13-0 record, Classic 8 Conference title and Division I state championship as a senior... Posted 78 tackles, eight interceptions and a forced fumble in 2012... Picked off six of his eight passes in the postseason that year... Made 65 tackles, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick as a junior... Returned two of his six interceptions for touchdowns in 2011... Part of AHS' Classic 8 Conference championship in 2010... Named to the school's honor roll all four years.

Logo Mycial Allen NIU Athletics
DB | 6-0 | 183 | Detroit, Mich. (King HS)
Ranked as the 19th-best prospect in Michigan by Three-year starter who served as a team captain in 2012... Recorded eight interceptions and 44 tackles as a senior, helping King High School advance to the state quarterfinals... Scored two touchdowns on fumble returns and a safety for the Crusaders' defense... Hauled in 48 receptions for 904 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior campaign... Posted 62 tackles, six TFLs, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions in 2011... Caught 31 passes for 575 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season... Three-sport athlete who also excelled with King's basketball and track & field teams.

Logo Chad Beebe NIU Athletics
WR | 5-9 | 165 | Aurora, Ill. (Aurora Christian School)
Earned IHSA All-State recognition following the 2012 season, in addition to picking up all-area and all-conference accolades from the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon News and Daily Herald... Holds school records for most catches and receiving yardage in a career... Set a school single-game record with four touchdowns... Recorded 65 catches for 980 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior season... Paced the Eagles with three catches for 24 yards and returned two kickoffs for 49 yards in a 42-12 win over Tolono Unity in the 2012 Illinois Class 3A title game... Hauled in 26 receptions for 383 yards and five touchdowns in ACS' five postseason games in 2012... Played a central role in an Eagle offense that scored at least 27 points in each of its 15 games in 2012 and 38-plus points in all but two games... Caught 38 passes for 655 yards – a 17.2 yard average – and eight touchdowns as a junior at Aurora Christian despite missing the first six weeks of the season due to injury... Grabbed 53 passes for 840 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore with the Eagles... Named to the Academic All-State and All-Conference teams in 2012... Son of former NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Don Beebe... Sister Amanda plays volleyball at Taylor University.

Logo Joel Bouagnon NIU Athletics
RB | 6-2 | 225 | Aurora, Ill. (Aurora Christian School)
Two-time all-state, all-area and all-conference honoree... Ran the ball 146 times for 1,475 yards and 21 touchdowns – all team highs – in his senior season at Aurora Christian... Helped ACS to a 14-1 record in 2012 after transferring from Burlington Central... Gained 215 yards and scored four touchdowns on 15 carries in the 2012 Illinois Class 3A quarterfinals against Winnebago, with six carries going for 20 or more yards... Also caught two passes for 36 yards and hauled in an interception in the win... Ran for 95 yards on 10 carries in the 2012 Class 3A state championship game, scoring on runs of 60 and 10 yards, to help the Eagles to a 42-12 win and earn the game MVP award... Led the team with 119 tackles as a senior, including 11 in the state title game, and was named the team's defensive MVP... Played a central role in an Eagle offense that scored at least 27 points in each of its 15 games in 2012 and 38-plus points in all but two games... Rushed for 1,446 yards with Burlington Central in 10 games as a junior... Named the team MVP each of his three seasons at BCHS... Volunteers with Special Olympics.

Logo Josh Brebant NIU Athletics
K | 6-0 | 195 | Akron, Ohio (Copley)
First-team all-state honoree in 2012... Connected on six of 10 field goals and made 25-of-27 extra points... Average 43.1 yards on 28 punts... Teammate of fellow NIU Aregeros Turner... Spent his first three seasons at Firestone High School... Rated No. 1 kicker by Filip Filipovic of the Kickingcoach.

Logo Tate Briggs NIU Athletics
OL | 6-4 | 297 | Naperville, Ill. (Montini Catholic HS)
Earned all-state, all-area and all-conference honors following his senior season at Montini Catholic... Two-year starter at guard for the Broncos who was a part of three state championship teams... Helped Montini Catholic gain 5,204 yards of total offense in 2012 en route to a Class 5A state championship... Part of an offense that gained 370 total yards of offense in the state title game against perennial power Morris en route to a 19-6 win... Cleared the way for Montini's 853 yards of total offense and 587 passing yards in a 70-45 win over Joliet Catholic in the 2011 Class 5A championship... Broncos' offense scored 600 points during the 2011 season, scoring 49 points or more in seven games... Named to the Suburban Catholic Conference's Academic All-Conference team in 2012... Champion and record holder in the bench press at the state and national level.

Logo Nick Calhoun NIU Athletics
OL | 6-5 | 308 | Oshkosh, Wis. (Lourdes Academy)
Earned All-Trailways Conference and all-area first team honors following his senior season at Lourdes Academy... Despite playing only one season of football, was invited to the WFCA All-Star Game following the 2012 campaign... Named the teams MVP after his senior year... Selected as a team captain... Played primarily on the offensive line, and also saw time at defensive tackle... Posted four tackles and two pass breakups as a senior... Played hockey for nine years before joining the football team... Named to the honor roll every semester at Lourdes... Volunteers with the Salvation Army and at the local hospital.

Logo Nick Cieslak NIU Athletics
QB | 6-3 | 170 | Waukesha, Wis. (Kettle Moraine HS)
Ranked as the fourth-best quarterback in Wisconsin by and the fifth-best by before the start of the 2012 season... Three-time offensive MVP, all-conference and all-area with Kettle Moraine High School... Holds school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns... Finished his career at KMHS with 3,469 passing yards and 33 touchdowns on 301-of-504 passing... Rushed for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns in his three seasons as the Lasers' starting QB... Named second team all-conference after going 88-of-151 passing for 1,117 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior... Gained 289 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground in 2012... Posted his best statistical season as a junior, completing 107-of-199 passes for 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns with Kettle Moraine... Ran for 351 yards and five touchdowns in 2011... Recorded 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air on 106-of-154 passing as a sophomore... Father played football at UW-La Crosse and is a long-time high school and college football coach in Wisconsin.

Logo Justin Corbett NIU Athletics
DB | 6-2 | 205 | Frankfort, Ill. (Lincoln-Way East HS)
Earned all-area and all-conference accolades following the 2012 season... Led Lincoln-Way East High School in receiving with 28 catches for 426 yards and two touchdowns as a senior...Rushed 84 times for 596 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012... Gained 82 yards on 15 carries and caught a 22-yard pass in the 2012 Illinois Class 7A championship game against Glenbard West... Scored the Griffins' only touchdown in a 10-8 loss in the state title game... Garnered third team all-conference honors as a junior... Caught 21 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, helping Lincoln-Way East to a South Suburban Blue Division title... Rushed 50 times for 400 yards and caught 12 passes for 250 yards as a sophomore... Scored five touchdowns in 2010.

Logo Sean Folliard NIU Athletics
LB | 6-2 | 215 | Crystal Lake, Ill. (Prairie Ridge HS)
Graduated from high school early and is already enrolled in Spring 2013 classes at NIU... Named first team All-State by the Illinois High School Association... Awarded the team's MVP award following the 2012 season... Earned all-area honorable mention honors from the Northwest Herald following his junior season with the Wolves... Made three tackles and returned a kickoff 24 yards in Prairie Ridge's 35-14 win over Peoria Richwoods in the 2011 Class 6A championship... Forced a game-changing fumble and grabbed an interception in a 33-22 2011 Class 6A semifinal win against Batavia... Named to the school's honor roll.

Logo Jake Heckel NIU Athletics
TE | 6-3 | 235 | Waukesha, Wis. (Waukesha West HS)
Two-time all-conference honoree at Waukesha West High School... Caught four passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns in 2012... Recorded 50 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered two at defensive end as a senior... Intercepted a pass against Watertown in the second round of the Division 2 playoffs, helping set up a touchdown in Waukesha West's 54-49 loss... Earned the team's Hammer/Anchor Award after helping the Wolverines to a Classic 8 Conference title and a No. 1 ranking in Division 2... Grabbed 12 passes for 120 yards and five touchdowns in 2011... Registered 40 tackles and two forced fumbles as a junior... Standout on WWHS' basketball and track & field teams.

Logo Blake Holder NIU Athletics
WR | 6-2 | 195 | Streamwood, Ill. (Streamwood HS)
Earned all-area and All-Upstate Eight Conference honors following his junior and senior seasons at Streamwood High School... Hauled in 28 receptions for 430 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 ... Led the team with five interceptions as a senior, and recovered two fumbles... Returned three punts for 150 yards and one touchdown... Caught 25 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior to average nearly 24 yards per catch... Also grabbed four interceptions in 2011... Helped the team secure a playoff berth in 2011, its first since 2002... Ranked as one of Illinois' Top 30 prospects in the Class of 2013 by Won two conference titles and qualified for the Illinois state meet in track as a junior... Holds school records in the 100 meters and 4x100 relay... Former high school teammate of current Huskie Alex Morrow... Boasts a 3.5 grade point average in the classroom.

Logo Jordan Huff NIU Athletics
RB | 5-11 | 205 | Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul's Episcopal School)
Two-time all-state and three-time all-area honoree... Ranked as the 24th-best recruit in the state of Alabama by Holds St. Paul's Episcopal School's records for most career rushing yards and most rushing yards in a season... Finished his career at St. Paul's Episcopal with 4,873 rushing yards while playing on the varsity squad all four seasons... Scored 55 touchdowns over the last three seasons... Gained 967 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground as a senior... Ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to lead St. Paul's to a 31-21 win over archrival Spanish Fort his senior year... Scored 15 touchdowns and rushed for 962 yards as a junior... Posted his best season as a sophomore, carrying the ball 260 times for 1,705 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Saints... Rushed for 1,239 yards on 233 carries as a freshman... Attended the same high school as Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mark Barron and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron... Father played football and baseball at Tuskegee University.

Logo Robert Jones NIU Athletics
LB | 6-0 | 210 | Miramar, Fla. (Monsignor Pace HS)
Registered 90 tackles (60 solo), three interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his senior season at Monsignor Pace... Earned all-area recognition and was named the team's defensive MVP following his senior campaign... Rushed for two touchdowns in 2012 for the Spartans... Picked to the Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game following the 2012 campaign... Named to the Florida Class 4A preseason all-state team... Recorded 60 tackles in his junior season, in addition to an interception and fumble recovery... Posted 12 tackles as a sophomore for Monsignor Pace's 10-0 squad... Father played football at the University of Miami.

Logo William Lee NIU Athletics
DL | 6-2 | 295 | Indianapolis, Ind. (Arsenal Tech HS)
Picked as the Indianapolis Public School Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the Kiwanis G.R.E.A.T. Player of the Year following the 2012 season at Arsenal Tech... Named to the Associated Press' All-State team as a senior and was named all-city and all-conference following both his junior and senior seasons... Won an Athlete of Character Award and served as a team captain... Earned spots on the 2012 Indianapolis Star's Super Team and the Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 Team... Made 67 tackles as a senior with 10 quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered, a pass break up and a blocked kick... Helped lead Arsenal to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012... Picked by MaxPreps to the 2012 Indiana Preseason All-State Team... Played every position on the defensive line, as well as offensive line and tight end... Recorded 42 tackles (21 solo) and five sacks in 2011... Forced three fumbles and recovered one... Three-year varsity letterwinner made 16 tackles, nine solo, his sophomore season... Volunteered at the Indy 500 and at the Legacy Center USA Football Camp for kids... Honor roll student received the U.S. History and Composition awards.

Logo Ben Maruska NIU Athletics
OL | 6-4 | 285 | Fond Du Lac, Wis. (Fond Du Lac HS)
Two-time all-conference selection from Fond Du Lac High School... Garnered all-state and all-area accolades from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association following the 2012 season... Named a team captain as a junior and senior with the Cardinals... Helped FDLHS average 116 yards rushing per game as a senior... Paved the way for Fond Du Lacs offense to rack up 35 points against Kaukauna and 41 points against Oshkosh west in 2012... Competes on Fond Du Lacs track & field team, where he won a sectional title in the shot put in 2012... Maintained a 3.5 GPA through all four years of high school.

Logo Brandon Mayes NIU Athletics
DB | 5-11 | 182 | Aurora, Ill. (Aurora Christian School)
Three-time all-area and two-time all-state and all-conference honoree... Three-year starter who set the Aurora Christian school record for most career tackles, tackles for loss and interceptions... Named the team captain of the 2012 Tri-Cities All-Area Team by the Daily Herald... Earned team MVP honors following the 2012 campaign... Rushed for 863 yards and seven touchdowns on 87 carries for Aurora Christian's state championship team in 2012... Caught 30 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns as a senior... Returned an interception 75 yards for the game-clinching score in ACS' 42-12 Class 3A state championship game win against Tolono Unity... Tied for team high honors with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, in that game... Ran 12 times for 68 yards and a touchdown in the state title game... Added one catch for eight yards and a 70-yard kickoff return to set up the Eagles' first touchdown of the game... Registered 113 tackles, 47 solo, as a junior... Paced the ACS defense with 12 tackles and returned an interception 30 yards in the 2011 Class 3A state title game against Mt. Carmel... Carried 73 times for 858 yards and six scores in 2011... Also caught 10 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns as a junior... Broke into the varsity starting lineup as a sophomore, where he compiled six catches for 250 yards and three scores.

Logo Zeb McLaurin NIU Athletics
DB | 5-11 | 180 | Chicago, Ill. (St. Ignatius Prep HS)
Two-time all-Chicago Catholic League honoree at St. Ignatius Prep in Chicago... Led St. Ignatius to its first conference championship in 50 years in 2012... Posted 48 tackles, 10 pass breakups, five blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries as a senior with the Wolfpack... Rushed 18 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 in his only season on offense... Also caught two passes for 25 yards in the 2012 campaign... Posted 30 tackles as a junior, along with six pass break-ups and a fumble recovery... Recorded 15 tackles and three pass break-ups as a sophomore... Standout on St. Ignatius' track & field team who led the team to its first-ever conference title in 2012... Member of the school record 4x200 relay team... Named to the school's honor roll for three years.

Logo Malik Mitchell NIU Athletics
WR | 6-4 | 181 | Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton HS)
Ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN... Caught 40 passes for 500 yards and four touchdowns with the Eagles as a senior... Also intercepted one pass playing defensive back in 2012... Named to the all-state preseason watch list entering his senior season at Milton High School... Gained 300 yards on 30 receptions as a junior despite missing three games during the season... Helped lead the Eagles to their first playoff berth since 2008 in 2011 ... Began his varsity career as a sophomore, where he caught five passes for 100 yards in the final five games of the season... Played for Team USA on the 2010 Trans-Pacific Cup team... Active volunteer with the Miracle League and NFL Play 60.

Logo Jamaal Payton NIU Athletics
LB | 6-0 | 220 | Bellwood, Ill. (Proviso West HS)
Two-time all-state and three-time all-area and all-conference honoree at Proviso West High School... Ranked as the 16th-best prospect from the Chicago area by CBS Sports Tom Lemming... Awarded the teams MVP award each of the last two seasons... Selected to the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl following the 2012 campaign... Combined for 375 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions, four blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries in three seasons at Proviso West... Named the player of the year in the West Suburban Conferences Silver Division while playing running back and linebacker... Gained 1,002 yards and scored 25 touchdowns on 150 carries as a senior... Added 150 tackles, eight forced fumbles, four passes defensed, two interceptions, two blocked kicks and a fumble recovery as a linebacker in 2012... Named the Silver Divisions defensive player of the year in 2011... Posted 125 tackles, five forced fumbles and four interceptions in 10 games with the Panthers as a junior... Returned an interception 103 yards for a touchdown in a 2011 matchup with Chicago Hubbard, setting the school record for longest INT return... Ran 120 times for 998 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior... Debuted on the PWHS varsity squad as a sophomore, rushing for 925 yards and 20 touchdowns, while adding 100 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception on defense... Member of PWHS track & field team.

Logo Draco Smith NIU Athletics
DB | 5-9 | 185 | Chicago, Ill. (Mt. Carmel HS)
Four-year starter at running back for Mt. Carmel High School... Named all-state honorable mention as a senior and was named all-area and all-conference... Given the team's leadership award following the 2012 campaign after serving as the team captain... Ran 148 times for 928 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, helping lead the Caravan to the Illinois Class 8A title... Caught six passes for 105 yards out of the backfield... Added 49 tackles, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions on defense in 2012... Gained 129 yards and scored two touchdowns on just seven carries in the state title game against Glenbard North... Also posted a solo tackle and broke up a pass against GBN... Named one of Tom Lemming's top skill position players in Illinois in 2011... Rushed for 740 yards and five touchdowns on 113 carries in 2011... Helped Mt. Carmel to a 34-20 win in the 2011 Prep Bowl against Simeon... Attended the same high school as NIU quarterback and 2012 All-American Jordan Lynch... Staff writer for MCHS' school newspaper... Works with the homeless on Chicago's South Side.

Logo Ryan Stendler NIU Athletics
TE | 6-4 | 250 | Mequon, Wis. (Homestead HS)
Earned all-area and all-conference accolades at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign... Named the team MVP after recording 40 tackles, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery at defensive end... Helped the Highlanders win the Wisconsin Division 2 and North Shore Conference titles in 2012... Recorded five tackles and an interception in the Division 2 title game against Waunakee en route to HHS' 14-0 win... Also booted two extra points and had one punt for 31 yards in the victory... Made 25 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one as a junior, helping Homestead to the 2011 conference crown... Also a member of Homestead's hockey team, who tallied four goals and five assists... Named to the honor roll each of the past three years.

Logo Aregeros Turner NIU Athletics
ATH | 5-11 | 170 | Akron, Ohio (Copley HS)
Four-time all-area and all-conference honoree during his career at Copley High School... Awarded the teams MVP and best offensive back award each of his four seasons... Rated as the 11th-best running back and 37th-best prospect in Ohio by Garnered Army All-American honorable mention accolades following the 2012 campaign... Four-year starter at Copley who played running back, wide receiver and cornerback... Rushed for 4,742 yards and scored 79 total touchdowns in his four seasons with the Indians... Capped off his career at CHS with 1,378 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on 208 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per carry... Added 17 receptions for 249 yards and two scores in 2012... Earned all-state recognition as a junior... Rushed for 1,236 yards on 145 carries with 14 total touchdowns during the 2011 season... Helped lead Copley to the state playoffs and a conference runner-up finish as a sophomore... Gained 1,170 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on 180 carries in 2010... Churned out 958 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman with the Indians... Earned high school letters in basketball and track & field... Known by his nickname, "Ducee."

Logo Shane Wimann NIU Athletics
TE | 6-4 | 225 | Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (Wisconsin Dells HS)
Earned all-state, all-area and all-conference honors following his senior season at Wisconsin Dells High School... Named the MVP of the South Central Conference following the 2012 campaign... Caught 72 passes for 834 yards and 12 touchdowns at wide receiver in 2012, setting the school record for most receptions in a season... Added 20 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown on the ground as a senior... Totaled 107 tackles with 55 solo, five pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks at defensive end in 2012... Also handled kicking duties for Wisconsin Dells, converting on 83 percent of PAT tries and punting 19 times for a 41.0-yard average... Named first team all-conference following his sophomore campaign... Standout forward on the Chiefs' basketball team who earned all-state honors in 2011-12... Two-time basketball player of the year in the South Central Conference... Currently the second leading scorer in WDHS history... Made the school's honor roll every semester.