Huskies Add 24 on National Signing Day

GO HUSKIES Coach Kill added 24 to his team on National Signing Day, Wednesday.
Coach Kill added 24 to his team on National Signing Day, Wednesday.

Feb. 4, 2009

Quotes from NIU Signing Day Press Conference

Complete Signing Day Information in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Signing Day Press Conference 

DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois head football coach Jerry Kill and his staff welcomed 24 new Huskies to the 2009 NIU football roster on Wednesday, college football's annual National Signing Day.  

Kill's second, and largest class, includes student-athletes from eight different states, led by 10 from Illinois, while nine different position are represented, topped by seven defensive linemen. The signees list features 13 defenders, 10 offensive players, a kicker and a punter.  Fifteen members of the class earned all-state recognition during their prep careers and three of the junior college additions were named J.C. All-Americans last year.  

In addition to the 10 players from Illinois, Northern Illinois inked six recruits from Florida and two each from Wisconsin and Texas. Huskie coaches also mined talent in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana and Arizona.  

After Kill's inaugural campaign ended with a trip to the Independence Bowl as NIU made its fourth postseason appearance in the last five years, he and his coaching staff addressed some specific position needs while also looking to upgrade the team's overall speed with the 2009 signing group.

"The biggest thing is, we recruited some strength, some length and some speed along with good character," Kill said. "What I feel good about as a coach is we have personal connections to these kids. We've seen them, we've had them in camp and that certainly makes you feel good as a coach."  

In addition to Northern Illinois' traditional recruiting focus in Chicagoland, Wisconsin and surrounding states, the NIU staff signed a school-record six Floridians and used its connections to the high school coaching community across the country to nab a pair of receivers out of San Antonio, Texas.  

"Northern Illinois has certainly had kids from Florida and from Texas before, and just like in this situation, it's a matter of personal connections," Kill said. "As far as the two kids from Texas, their coach is a young man that played for me and was close to [NIU Assistant] Coach [Tracy] Claeys so that helped us. The Florida connection is something we've built over the 1ast 10-12 years.  Then we went to the traditional areas where we've had so much success in the past."  

The largest group of newcomers for the Huskies in 2009 - seven - play on defensive line where NIU's losses include two-time MAC Vern Smith Leadership Award winner Larry English and starters Alex Krutsch and Craig Rusch.  Northern Illinois added four recruits at wide receiver after the graduation of five seniors at that position following the 2008 campaign.  Three junior college signees, including Driscoll High School and Harper College product Kyle Jenkins, Arizona punter Josh Wilber and defensive back Chris Smith, are already on campus and will participate in spring drills.

"The big thing we try to do is recruit athletic ability," Kill said. "We tried to replace what we had to fill and then looked a year ahead at what we may need and tried to catch up in the positions we needed. We signed seven defensive linemen, but some of those kids can do other things.  We had to sign four receivers because we lost five, and we lost three senior cornerbacks, so we replaced them.  At linebacker, we were looking for a little different style of player because of the spread offenses we face, so that was a need for us."  

Overall, Kill was pleased with the student-athletes he and his staff were able to attract to Northern Illinois after a full year on the job.

"Last year, Joe [Novak] and his staff left us a great base and the recruits that committed and came here were very good," Kill said.  "This is really our first recruiting class that we worked with throughout the year. We had a lot of people help us - certainly our first full year of selling the Yordon Center was beneficial.  Our administration did a great job during the recruiting weekends - from the professors and deans to [NIU Director of Admissions] Bob Burke, who was here every weekend.  It took a really good team effort to put  this class together and it goes a lot farther than just the coaches."

The Huskies, who are currently going through their winter workout program, return to the practice field on March 24 with the kickoff of spring practice.  The 2009 Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at Huskie Stadium.

2009 Northern Illinois Football Signees

Name Hgt. Wgt. Pos. Cl. Hometown (High School/Junior College)
Zach Andersonvideo camera 6-2 285 DL Fr. Ladysmith, Wis. (Ladysmith HS)
Perez Ashfordvideo camera 5-10 180 WR Fr. Shaker Heights, Ohio (Shaker Heights HS)
Alan Baxtervideo camera 6-0 231 DE Fr. Buffalo Grove, Ill. (Buffalo Grove HS)
Devon Butlervideo camera 5-11 215 LB Fr. Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Everglades HS)
Tyrone Clarkvideo camera 5-11 205 LB Fr. St. Louis, Mo. (Mehlville HS)
Jordan Delegalvideo camera 6-1 200 LB Jr. Miami, Fla. (Chaminade Madonna HS/Joliet JC)
Sean Evansvideo camera 5-11 170 CB Fr. Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. (Ft. Walton Beach HS)
A.J. Hillvideo camera 6-2 205 QB Fr. DuQuoin, Ill. (DuQuoin HS)
Nabal Jeffersonvideo camera 5-11 260 DL Fr. Chicago, Ill. (Marist HS)
Kyle Jenkinsvideo camera 6-4 256 DL Jr. Itasca, Ill. (Driscoll HS/Harper College)
Anthony Johnsonvideo camera 6-3 170 WR Fr. San Antonio, Texas (Earl Warren HS)
Antione Kirklandvideo camera 5-11 190 RB Fr. Boca Raton, Fla. (Olympic Heights HS)
Matt Krempelvideo camera 6-4 290 OL Fr. Columbus, Ind. (Columbus North HS)
Jordan Lynchvideo camera 6-1 195 QB Fr. Chicago, Ill. (Mt. Carmel HS)
Martel Moorevideo camera 6-2 182 WR Fr. San Antonio, Texas (Earl Warren HS)
Stephen O'Nealvideo camera 6-4 215 DE Fr. Park Forest, Ill. (Rich East HS)
Jon Phillipsvideo camera 6-3 260 DL/OL Fr. Dixon, Ill. (Dixon HS)
Daniel Rodriguezvideo camera 5-11 187 WR Fr. Miami, Fla. (Gulliver Prep)
Ryan Salernovideo camera 5-8 155 K Fr. Orland Park, Ill. (Carl Sandburg HS)
Chris Smithvideo camera 5-10 181 DB Jr. Palmetto, Fla. (Palmetto HS/Highland C.C.)
Jared Volkvideo camera 6-3 287 OL Fr. Hartland, Wisc. (Arrowhead HS)
Dominique Warevideo camera 6-0 175 CB Fr. Bolingbrook, Ill. (Plainfield North HS)
Anthony Wellsvideo camera 6-3 229 DE Fr. North Chicago, Ill. (North Chicago HS)
Josh Wilbervideo camera 5-11 215 P Jr. Phoenix, Ariz. (Barry Goldwater HS/Phoenix College)

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