NIU’s 22 recruits include 10 from the state of Illinois and five from Florida, with nine states represented overall. Offensive linemen and wide receivers made up the largest segment of recruits with . . .
“I am really happy, first with all of our Illinois commitments and the guys from around the Midwest,” Carey said. “Our home is here, that’s where we recruit heavily every year. Then you couple that with what we did down south, picking up a player from Georgia and then five guys from Florida, which has become a real hotbed for us. I couldn’t be happier, not only with the type of athletes in this class, but with the type of young men who will come here and be a valued part of the university and our community.
“The nine states that are represented in our recruiting class speaks to the fact NIU Football is a national brand and we recruit that way. Illinois will always be our home and I think we made that statement today like we do every year.”
With just 13 seniors departing from the 2015 roster, NIU’s 22-man signing class is the smallest class the Huskies have signed during Carey’s tenure. The class includes 20 incoming freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers; three members of the class, quarterback Marcus Childers, safety Lance DeVeaux Jr., and defensive end Alton Meeks, are enrolled at NIU for the spring 2016 semester.
“We had a small senior class (in 2015), so it’s a relatively small class we signed today,” Carey said. “The quality is good, the quantity isn’t there because of scholarship rules.”
Along with the four offensive linemen and four wide receivers, this year’s signing class also includes two quarterbacks, a running back and a tight end. On the other side of the ball, NIU added a trio of defense backs and defensive linemen, along with a pair of linebackers in today’s signing class.
“Positionally this is the year that we had to make up some ground in the offensive line because on Signing Day 2013, we didn’t take any offensive linemen so this is the year we’ve been planning to make up,” Carey explained. “Wide receiver was the same situation, we needed more depth, especially looking to the future where we’ll lose quite a few to graduation.”
NIU is coming off an 8-6 season in 2015 that saw the Huskies win their sixth consecutive MAC West Championship and play in a bowl game for a MAC record eighth consecutive year. The Huskies lost just 13 seniors off the 2015 team and return six All-MAC players from a year ago, including first team All-American cornerback Shawun Lurry and Freshman All-American offensive tackle Max Scharping. The Huskies will open the 2016 season on Saturday, Sept. 3, when they travel to Wyoming.
“We pushed spring ball back to get some people healed and we’re on track that way,” Carey said. “We started back in with offseason workouts with the coaching staff and we will continue to do that through spring break. We’re all looking forward to taking the next step with this brand new team.”