March 5, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - Nine seniors from the 2013 Northern Illinois University Football team that won 12 consecutive games, claimed a pair of victories over Big Ten Conference opponents and played in the Mid-American Conference Championship game for the fourth consecutive year will showcase their talents for representatives from National Football League teams Friday at the Chessick Practice Center as NIU conducts its annual "Pro Day."
The Pro Day participants are expected to be on the turf for running, passing and other drills inside the Chessick Center beginning at approximately 12:15 p.m. and the session is expected to conclude by 1:30 p.m.
All-Americans Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel HS) and Jimmie Ward (Mobile, Ala./Davidson HS) headline the list of Huskie players, which also includes 2013 senior receivers Perez Ashford and Martel Moore, who are back on campus this semester to complete their undergraduate degrees. Heisman Trophy finalist Lynch returns to DeKalb for Pro Day after playing in the East-West Shrine Game in January and working out at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis two weeks ago. Ward turned heads during practices at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. and was also invited to the Combine but could not work out.
Six members of the 2013 defense also will attempt to catch the attention of NFL teams Friday as defensive ends Joe Windsor (Kearney, Mo./Kearney HS) and George Rainey (Milwaukee, Wis./South Division HS), interior defensive linemen Anthony Wells (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago HS) and Ken Bishop (Lauderhill, Fla./Piper HS/Ellsworth CC) and cornerbacks Jhony Faustin (Naples, Fla./Lely HS/Ellsworth CC) and Sean Evans (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Ft. Walton Beach HS) will work out for the scouts. Kicker Mathew Sims (Hannibal, Mo./Hannibal HS) also will take part in the Pro Day schedule.
NIU will be able to hold its entire Pro Day on campus in comfort without concern about the weather for the first time thanks to the new Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center. The 80,600 square-foot facility was opened in October 2013 and will provide Pro Day participants with a full practice field, wind-free, FieldTurf surface on which to work.
Over the last four seasons, the NIU football program has enjoyed a run of success rivaled by few teams in the nation. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, only one Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program has won more games than NIU's 46. The Huskies have played in each of the last four Mid-American Conference Championship games as MAC West Division Champions, claimed wins over the likes of Iowa, Purdue and Kansas and are 31-1 in regular season games versus MAC opponents over the last four seasons. The Huskies have played in six straight bowl games, tied for the longest streak in league history. NIU players who have made their way onto NFL rosters in recent years include Chandler Harnish, Nathan Palmer, Chad Spann, Alan Baxter and Rashaan Melvin.
NIU, which returns 46 letterwinners and 14 starters in 2014, opens spring practices Tuesday, March 18 at 7:05 a.m. with the Huskie Bowl Spring Game set for Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. A complete schedule for spring practices and details on the Huskie Bowl will be available in the coming weeks on NIUHuskies.com.
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