May 14, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - Former Northern Illinois University football players Sean Progar (Glenview, Ill.) and Jason Schepler (Sycamore, Ill.) have added their names to the list of 2012 Huskie seniors that signed with NFL teams this month.
Invited to try out during the San Francisco 49ers rookie mini-camp last weekend, Schepler nabbed the last spot on the 90-man roster as a fullback,and inked a three-year free agent contract with the team on Tuesday. Progar officially signed a tryout contract with the Jets on Sunday as an outside linebacker.
The addition of Schepler and Progar gives Northern Illinois six rookies in NFL camps this spring as they join previously signed 2012 seniors Perez Ashford (Cleveland Browns), Alan Baxter (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rashaan Melvin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Martel Moore (Atlanta Falcons).
One of the keys to NIU's offensive success in 2012, Schepler was the top blocker on the team with a team-best 64 pancake blocks while playing tight end. A second-team Academic All-American, he made three catches for 65 yards with one touchdown in 2012 and finished his career with 14 receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns in 49 games. He also served as one of the Huskies' team captains last season. Schepler missed the 2011 season with a knee injury.
Progar was a three-year starter at defensive end who garnered All-MAC honors each of his last three seasons. He ranks third all-time at NIU in sacks with 24 and is eighth in tackles for loss with 39.5. Progar made 170 tackles, forced five fumbles and recovered three in 54 games at defensive end. He also served as team captain as a junior and a senior.
Schepler and Progar were part of a record-setting senior class that won a school-record 41 games, played in four bowl games and three Mid-American Conference Championship games. The 2012 seniors concluded their careers by leading NIU to its second straight Mid-American Conference title with a double overtime victory over Kent State. With a 12-2 record, a perfect 8-0 Mid-American Conference record and a 12-game winning streak, NIU earned a spot in the Discover Orange Bowl to become the first MAC team to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game.
Northern Illinois returns 14 starters (8 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist) in 2013, led by dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel), a 2012 second-team All-American who accounted for nearly 5,000 yards of total offense while setting NCAA records for rushing by a quarterback with 12 100-yard rushing games. Leading tackler Jimmie Ward (Mobile, Ala./Davidson HS) and the Huskies' entire offensive line are among the 55 returning letterwinners for 2013.
Season tickets for Northern Illinois' 2013 home schedule are on sale now. The new Huskieland Plan, which includes a ticket to all five home games (sections A and G) and $50 in Doggie Dollars good for parking and/or concessions, is just $50. All remaining season ticket locations for the 2013 Huskie Stadium home slate are just $100 while NIU Alumni Association members, senior citizens (62+), youth (3-13), NIU Varsity Club (former letterwinners) members and faculty and staff can see every game for just $88. Season tickets are available by calling NIU Athletics at 815-753-1923, or go online to www.NIUHuskies.com/tickets for complete information and order forms.
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