Following Northern Illinois University’s second consecutive 12-win season and fourth-straight Mid-American Conference West Division title, NIU head coach Rod Carey and his staff announced the names of 31 future Huskies that make up the 2014 recruiting class.
The Huskies’ class includes 15 defensive players, 14 offensive players and two specialists from 11 different states.
NIU added nine recruits from Illinois, seven from Wisconsin and five from Florida to lead the class, in addition to two each from Indiana and Texas. The program also brought in one signee apiece from Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska.
“I feel really good about this 2014 group,” Carey said. “Obviously we didn’t get too far away from our roots with the Midwest dominating the list again. I feel good that every kid on the list will be able to come in and develop and help us. We said we wouldn’t get too far away from who we are, but the national exposure over the last couple of years has definitely helped us reach out to some new areas.
“This class is the product of 13 months of work where we have established a relationship with these guys as a staff, instead of just one or two coaches. There will be good familiarity and good cohesion between the recruits and the coaching staff when they get here in June.”
After inking six defensive backs in last year’s class, the Huskies added seven more in 2014. NIU also signed seven defensive linemen, addressing a position hit hard by graduation the last two seasons. The program signed one linebacker to round out the defensive recruits.
On offense, the Huskies continued to add speed by bringing in five wide receivers. In addition, they brought four offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, two tight ends and a fullback into the fold. The class was rounded out with a kicker and a punter.
“We went (into the year) with three areas that we had to address,” Carey said.
“First was the quarterback position, and I feel very good about the two quarterbacks we signed. Second is the wide receivers and I am ecstatic about that group we have coming in. Third is the defensive backfield and I feel very good about the players we are bringing in at that position. I think several of them have the opportunity to help our team sooner rather than later.”
After posting a 12-2 record and playing in its fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship game and sixth straight bowl game in 2013, NIU enters the 2014 campaign as one of just three FBS programs in the nation with 11 or more wins in each of the last four years.
The Huskies completed the 2013 regular season with a 12-0 record, and have won a nation-leading 26 consecutive games in their home stadium dating back to 2009. In 2013, NIU broke nine school offensive records behind All-America quarterback Jordan Lynch, who finished third in voting for the 2013 Heisman Trophy to record the highest finish ever by a player from the MAC and All-American safety Jimmie Ward.
NIU opens 2014 spring practices Tuesday, March 18, with the Huskie Bowl set for Saturday, April 19, at Huskie Stadium.
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