Northern Illinois Football Adds 26 Players for 2010

GO HUSKIES Northern Illinois Head Coach Jerry Kill and his staff added 24 new Huskies to the fold for 2010 on Wednesday.
Northern Illinois Head Coach Jerry Kill and his staff added 24 new Huskies to the fold for 2010 on Wednesday.

Feb. 3, 2010


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DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois Huskies have added 26 players to their football roster for 2010, NIU head coach Jerry Kill announced on Wednesday, the annual National Letter of Intent Signing Day for college football.

Overall, Kill and his staff were very happy with the class, the second full group inked by this coaching staff. Kill has led the Huskies to bowl games in each of his first two seasons at the school.

"We're excited about the 2010 class," Kill said. "I think we have fulfilled the needs in our recruiting. It's always a need thing where you have to fill roster spots in areas where you're losing people. We feel like we have done that very well. We felt like we had a great class last year, and once we got them here and they performed, we felt like there was no question that it was [a great class]. This one certainly on paper looks good. Hopefully they'll perform as well as they look on paper. Again, I think we've done a great job."

Northern Illinois' 2010 recruiting class is heavy on defensive backs, linebackers and offensive linemen with 15 of the 24 signees listed at those positions. Each of the offensive linemen is at least 6-3 and 265 pounds, while the linebackers bring strength and speed to the middle of the Huskie defense.

"I think there is a great deal of speed in the class without a doubt," Kill said. "There's a lot of athleticism. We feel like we've got some guys that can really run and that was important."

By far the largest group of Huskie newcomers - 11 - are from the state of Illinois, but Huskie coaches fanned out across the country for this class with 10 states represented overall. Northern Illinois added multiple players from Florida (3), Alabama, North Carolina, Michigan and Missouri (2 each). Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Georgia are also represented. The 11 players from Illinois hail from as near as Sycamore with players from Rockford and the Chicagoland area. Again this year, Huskie coaches believe they have unearthed some "diamonds" according to Kill.

"We've always had a knack as a coaching staff, and we've been together for a long time, to find those diamonds in the rough," he said. "Our guys do a heck of a job working and it's a year-around job. We'll go anywhere to find a good player."

The Huskies added 14 players who earned All-State honors in high school and the 2009 National Junior College Offensive Player of the Year in running back Jasmin Hopkins, one of three players who enrolled at Northern Illinois for the spring 2010 semester. Hopkins, true freshman Akeem Daniels (listed as an "athlete") and Demetrius Stone, a defensive back from Coffeyville (Kans.) Community College, will participate in 2010 spring drills.

In addition to the large group of linemen, NIU inked two specialists in kicker Matt Sims and punter/kicker Tyler Anderson, as well as two tight ends, a pair of wide receivers and two defensive linemen. Jamison Wells, Wisconsin's 2008 defensive player of the year, will play receiver for Northern Illinois next season after originally coming to NIU on a baseball scholarship. Junior college quarterback Casey Weston, the top junior college passer in the country last year, rounds out the group.

"I want to thank our administration, which was involved with it, the professors here at the university, and certainly our coaching staff," Kill said. "We had a group effort to bring these youngsters to Northern Illinois University."

Northern Illinois opens spring drills March 23.

-- NIU --

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