Huskies By Position: Experienced Cornerbacks Hope to Become Strength of NIU Defense

GO HUSKIES Jhony Faustin is one of two seniors returning to the cornerback ranks
Jhony Faustin is one of two seniors returning to the cornerback ranks

Aug 19, 2013

Over the next two weeks, will preview every position on the 2013 Northern Illinois football team, continuing today with the cornerbacks. In addition, sign up for Huskies All-Access to see a video breakdown of every position with interviews and practice highlights. The video will be available within 24 hours after the article is posted. Tuesday's position group: wide receivers.

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Despite losing one of the top-pass defenders in program history, a deep and talented pool of cornerbacks returns in 2013 to defend the Northern Illinois defense from any aerial threats.

Of the Huskies top-four cornerbacks on last year's depth chart, only Rashaan Melvin does not return to the squad that led the Mid-American Conference last season in pass defense efficiency. Melvin has since moved on to the National Football League where he has appeared in preseason games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The returning NIU cornerbacks include seniors Sean Evans (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Ft. Walton Beach) and Jhony Faustin (Naples, Fla./Lely) and sophomore Marlon Moore (Mobile, Ala./C.F. Vigor), who all played in 10-or-more games on the island against opposing receivers last season. The trio combined for four turnovers, including three interceptions in 2012.

In charge of the group this season is coach Kelvin Sigler, who worked on the defensive staff at Alabama during its run to the 2013 Bowl Championship Series National Championship. Sigler also played at Alabama where he was team captain in 1998.

"I think we have a really good group in camp right now," said Sigler, "the kids come out, they compete and they work hard everyday. When one man goes down, the next one's got to be able to step in and be ready. I like their competitive nature and how they keep each other up (through practice).

Evans appeared in 13 games last season for the Huskies with three starts to his credit. The redshirt senior emerged late in 2012, recording his first career interception in the regular season finale at Eastern Michigan. He also broke up two passes in the MAC Championship game versus Kent State at Ford Field. Evans concluded the season with 24 tackles, seven pass breakups, eight passes deflected and a sack to his credit. He's appeared in 28 games in his career at NIU.

Faustin has the most returning starts to his credit at cornerback, starting 11 over the last two seasons, including 10 in 2011. The Naples, Fla. native has two interceptions in his career and has saved some of his best career performances in the spotlight of ESPN, recording 10 stops against Ohio in the 2011 MAC Championship and recording an interception versus Arkansas State in the Bowl. Recovering from an injury sustained in spring practices of 2012, Faustin made 23 tackles last season in 10 appearances. He has 93 career tackles.

Rounding out the group is Moore, who still has three years of eligibility remaining at Northern Illinois and by the way the then-freshman played at the end of  2012, the Mobile, Ala. native could be a focal point in the Huskie defense for years to come. Moore started six games last season as a true freshman and appeared in 12. In his first career start at Huskie Stadium against Buffalo, he intercepted two passes to earn MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors. Moore recorded 39 tackles, one for loss, four breakups and six pass deflections in his first season.

Throw redshirt junior Marckie Hayes (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) and redshirt sophomore Paris Logan (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge) in the mix, and Northern Illinois has a healthy selection in the cornerback ranks. Hayes finished with 17 tackles in 13 games played last season while Logan accrued nine stops in 13 appearances.

Sigler is confident in his group and the talent he has at his disposal.

"Sean and Marlon did a very good job last year," added Sigler, "Jhony Faustin is really starting to come on again as well and I know he had some good playing time a couple of years ago, but he's really starting to play with confidence. Marckie is big leader for us on and off the field and he brings a lot to the defensive back position because he plays a lot of positions all over the field."

When discussing the groups expectation for the upcoming season, Sigler said "we just want to bring the mentality of we're going to go out and play hard, play physical, play fast, play smart and play (with) technique because we want to show everyone out there that we are the best position on the field this year."

- The Huskies partook in two practices Monday, one beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the other starting at 7:30 p.m.
- In the morning practice, the second team offense with redshirt freshman Drew Hare at quarterback completed three consecutive passes for 10 or more yards at one point during a team passing period. Freshman Chad Beebe and redshirt freshman Clayton Gasper were amongst the receivers with big gains in the series.
- Glasper was a receiver of note during the second team's reps. The 6-4, 202 pound target made several big catches and gains throughout the morning. However, his ability to engage, sustain and finish blocks on short yardage passes stood out. Ask freshman Draco Smith, who was taken out of the play on one of Glapser's impressive plays.
- Defensively, freshman Brandon Mayes recorded an interception with the second team defense during the morning team period. After a tipped pass, Mayes ran after the ball in the air and made the catch with a caravan of Huskies in front of him, which may have led to pick six had the defensive coaches not swarmed him with chest bumps and pats on the back after the big play.
- To close out the evening practice, the NIU offense ran two minute drill. Jordan Lynch hooked up with Angelo Sebastiano twice on one drive, one for a first down that showcased Sebastiano's vertical and ability to step out of bounds and the other for a touchdown.
- The Huskie special teams unit ended the two-minute drill, kicking a field goal to end the practice. After Jimmie Ward came through on the right side to block the first field goal attempt, Mat Sims came through on the second attempt from 40 yards to convert the kick and end the day.

The Huskies open the 2013 season at Iowa Aug. 31 while the home opener against Eastern Illinois is set for Sept. 21. Season and single game 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-PACK (7225), or go online to for complete information and order forms.

Single game tickets are priced at just $15 for seating in the upper rows of sections A and G in Huskie Stadium, while seats in sections B, F and lower A and G are $24 for the general public and $18 for senior citizens (ages 62 and over) and youth (ages 3-13). Seats in section C, D and E, as well as seats on the East Side, are just $30 for the general public and $20 for senior citizens and youth. Single game tickets for the five-game home schedule can be purchased through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center, online via Ticketmaster and and on the phone by calling 815-753-PACK.



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