NIU adds 24 players, 10 from Illinois - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

NIU adds 24 players, 10 from Illinois

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DeKALB, Ill. – Building on the momentum of Northern Illinois University'ssecond-straight Mid-American Conference championship and its historic berthin the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, NIU first-year head football coach Rod Carey added 24 futureHuskies to his first recruiting classWednesday.

"The success we had last season made a big impact on the quality of recruits we signed," Carey said. "A lot of the class was completedbefore the Orange Bowl and we felt great about those kids no matter what. When youlook at our later commitments, the talent level that they have, is right on parwith what we've been getting. We feel good about that."

NIU's signing dayroster consists of 12 offensive players, 10on the defensive side of the ball, one athlete and one specialist, and hailfrom eight different states. NIU stayed close to home, signing 10 players fromthe state of Illinois and seven from Wisconsin. The Huskiesalso branched out, picking up two recruits from Ohioand one each from Indiana, Florida,Michigan, Georgiaand Alabama.

"It starts with Illinoisand it's never going to stray far from home," Carey said of his recruiting philosophy."This is our home state, this is where we get our guys and this is always wherewe're going to get our guys. Wisconsin,with that state being so close to us, the ties we have there and the successwe've enjoyed there historically, is always going to be a key place for us torecruit.

"Reaching out to places like Indiana,Detroit, Alabama,and Florida,where we've had a lot of success inrecent years, not only with Coach Doeren but with Coach Kill, it is important to keep those ties going. Whenyou branch far out, it's more about the connections and ties you have there.When you're closer to home, it's about a blanket, making sure everyone knowsabout us."

While last year's signing class was heavy on offensive anddefensive linemen, this year's class is loaded with skill position players. Onthe offensive side of the ball, Northern Illinoisadded three wide receivers, three tight ends, two running backs and aquarterback. Two offensive linemen round out the signees on offense.

The Huskie coaching staff shored up a position hit hard by graduation - defensive backs - by signing six DBs.  Northern Illinoisalso added three linebackers and a defensive lineman. One signee, Sean Folliard (Crystal Lake,Ill./Prairie Ridge), a linebacker, is already enrolled at NIU and willparticipate in spring drills.

"Overall, when you look at this class, it's dominated byskill, which it should be," Carey said. "The skill has power and speed andthat's what I love about it. Every guy that's fast is powerful and every guythat's powerful has good speed."

The Huskies completeda 12-2 season by making the Mid-American Conference's first appearance in aBowl Championship Series bowl game and were ranked 22nd in the finalAssociated Press Poll.  NIU has won atleast 11 games in each of the last three seasons and returns second teamAll-American Jordan Lynch, who finished seventh in the Heisman voting a yearago.  Northern Illinois begins 2013 spring practices March 20 at Huskie Stadium and will open the season Aug. 31at Iowa.

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