National Football Foundation lauds Huskie trio

From top: Chandler Harnish, Adam Kiel and Joe Pawlak
From top: Chandler Harnish, Adam Kiel and Joe Pawlak

A school-record three Northern Illinois University football seniors gained membership in the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame‘s Hampshire Honor Society for 2012, the organization announced Wednesday.

Quarterback Chandler Harnish (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell), a 2011 NFF Scholar-Athlete, tight end Adam Kiel (Wentzville, Mo./St. Dominic) and guard Joe Pawlak (Grayslake, Ill./Grayslake) were honored by the NFF for their excellence in the classroom.

The Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players across all divisions who completed their eligibility in 2011, are starters or significant reserves and maintained a grade point average above 3.2. The NFF honored 721 players from 232 schools in 2012, each of whom will receive a certificate of recognition.

Nine other student-athletes from seven other Mid-American Conference schools joined the three Huskies on the list, with Central Michigan the only other league school with at least three representatives.

Harnish earned his bachelor’s degree in business management prior to the start of his senior season and was pursuing his master’s degree in business during his record-setting 2011 campaign. He holds a 4.0 grade point average in his master’s program.

Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft last Saturday, Harnish won the MAC’s Vern Smith Leadership Award for 2011 and was named the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. The quarterback who led NIU to its first MAC Championship in 28 years set 30 school passing, rushing and total offense records during his career at Northern Illinois University.

Pawlak has maintained a 3.325 GPA in sociology/criminology and will graduate Saturday, May 12, from NIU. Pawlak started every game for the Huskies over the last three years for a total of 41 career starts in 49 games played at NIU.

Kiel, who earned his degree in organization management in the spring of 2011, started 11 games at right tackle for the Huskies as a sophomore. After serving as a back up at both offensive tackle spots in 2010, he made the move to tight end where he played in all 14 games, starting two as a senior. Kiel is pursuing a second undergraduate degree in business where he maintains a 3.25 GPA.

Pawlak and Kiel were members of a Huskie offensive unit that broke 12 single season school records and ranked in the five in the conference in eight different statistical categories in 2011. They were key members of an offensive line that allowed 12 sacks in 14 games to rank 10th in the country for fewest sacks allowed.

All-time, Northern Illinois has had seven football players gain admission into the NFF Hampshire Honor Society.

Defensive linemen Mike Krause and Brandon Bice were selected in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Jon Brost earned the honor in 2009, while Doug Free was the first Huskie admitted in 2007, the first year of the NFF Hampshire Society.

For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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