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NIU adds defensive depth in 2014 class

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DeKALB, Ill. – Following Northern IllinoisUniversity's second consecutive 12-win season and fourth-straight Mid-AmericanConference West Division title, NIU head coach Rod Carey and his staffannounced the names of 31 future Huskies that make up the 2014 recruitingclass.

The Huskies' class includes 15 defensive players,14 offensive players and two specialists from 11 different states. NIU addednine recruits from Illinois, seven from Wisconsin and five from Florida to leadthe class, in addition to two each from Indiana and Texas. The program alsobrought in one signee apiece from Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan,Missouri and Nebraska.

"I feel really good about this 2014 group," Careysaid. "Obviously we didn't get too far away from our roots with the Midwestdominating the list again.  I feel goodthat every kid on the list will be able to come in and develop and help us. Wesaid we wouldn't get too far away from who we are, but the national exposureover the last couple of years has definitely helped us reach out to some newareas.

"This class is the product of 13 months of workwhere we have established a relationship with these guys as a staff, instead ofjust one or two coaches. There will be good familiarity and good cohesionbetween the recruits and the coaching staff when they get here in June."

After inking six defensive backs in last year'sclass, the Huskies added seven more in 2014. NIU also signed seven defensivelinemen, addressing a position hit hard by graduation the last two seasons. Theprogram signed one linebacker to round out the defensive recruits.

On offense, the Huskies continued to add speed bybringing in five wide receivers. In addition, they brought four offensivelinemen, two quarterbacks, two tight ends and a fullback into the fold. Theclass was rounded out with a kicker and a punter.

"We went [into the year] with three areas that wehad to address," Carey said. "First was the quarterback position, and I feelvery good about the two quarterbacks we signed. Second is the wide receivers and I am ecstatic about that group we havecoming in. Third is the defensive backfield and I feel very good about theplayers we are bringing in at that position. I think several of them have the opportunity to help our team sooner ratherthan later."

After posting a 12-2 record and playing in itsfourth consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship game and sixth straightbowl game in 2013, NIU enters the 2014 campaign as one of just three FBSprograms in the nation with 11 or more wins in each of the last four years. TheHuskies completed the 2013 regular season with a 12-0 record, and have won anation-leading 26 consecutive games in their home stadium dating back to 2009.In 2013, NIU broke nine school offensive records behind All-Americaquarterback Jordan Lynch,who finished third in voting for the 2013 Heisman Trophy to record the highestfinish ever by a player from the MAC and All-American safety Jimmie Ward

NIU opens 2014 spring practices on Tuesday, March18 with the Huskie Bowl set for Saturday, April 19 at Huskie Stadium.


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