EDGY's Huskies grade: B-
Northern Illinois has made their program a success year in and year out based heavily on in-state recruiting efforts. I love the fact that nearly half of this recruiting class features in-state names. The overall talent of this group could be as high in some spots as any I can remember in several years. The Huskies main focus was reloading on the defensive line and inked five new names.
Headliner of the in-state class?
Homewood-Flossmoor wide receiver Tyrice Richie (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) was a big-time playmaker for the Vikings and head coach Craig Buzea. Richie has great hands, body control and is just a high-level gamer who could break into the Huskies' receiver rotation early. Immaculate Conception three-star ranked running back Jordan Rowell (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) is just a high-level athlete who was a two-way starter and standout for the Class 3A state champion Knights. St. Charles North offensive tackle Isaac Hawn (6-foot-6, 305 pounds) might be one of the meanest on the field/nicest kids off the field in Illinois. Hawn, who is now enrolled at NIU, is already college-sized and has a chance to also challenge the depth chart early.
The one who got away?
NIU was able to get offers out to several top in-state players and missed out on kids who would up in the Big Ten. Northern Illinois offered Deerfield three-star ranked defensive end Josh Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) early on and Maize also showed early interest. However, once Maize started to draw Power 5 looks he seemed to back off the Huskies. Maize wound up signing with Miami (OH).
Final thoughts on the Huskies recruiting efforts:
Overall, I just like the talent level in this in-state class for the Huskies. Northern Illinois was able to sign some pretty talented football players and — in some cases — kids with Power 5 size and ability. NIU has always done a terrific job of finding those slightly under the radar types, and developing them into contributors which should continue to happen with this class.
Despite a 5-7 season in 2016, which began with a bizarre loss at Wyoming and ended with four wins in their last five games, Northern Illinois still has a lot of positives to offer recruits. NIU remains a blue collar, hard-working school and football program that knows how to win. Northern Illinois also offers a solid education, is located close to Chicago and continues its much-needed upgrades to improve overall facilities.
Huskies fans should feel pretty good about the in-state recruiting efforts in the Class of 2017.