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2017 Best Players in the MAC: #6 Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois Huskies

NIU's lead blocker checks in at #6

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois finished 5-7 last season — the first team excluded out of bowl season.

But back to lead the Huskies to MAC contention is redshirt junior offensive tackle Max Scharping. Through only two years of action, or should I say #MACtion, Scharping has already built quite the impressive résumé of accolades.

In 2015, he was the only freshman to start all 14 games for the Huskies, including an appearance in the MAC Championship game. At the season's conclusion, the FWAA rewarded him as a Freshman All-American.

Last season, Scharping's play only went uphill. Rotating between right guard and right tackle, Scharping once again started every game and earned First Team All-MAC honors. He led the Huskies' offensive line to allow an FBS-low eight sacks, including four-straight games without yielding a single one.

With the departure of former left tackle Levon Myers, Scharping is projected to take on the prestigious position anchoring the left side of the offensive line for 2017. The primary running back he will block for is senior Jordan Huff, who bolted for 173 yards and three touchdowns in a road win over Eastern Michigan last season.

Scharping has also shown impressive talent off the field. He currently sports a 3.99 GPA as a kinesiology major at Northern Illinois, a member of the Academic All-MAC team.

Scharping is entering his junior season, so he potentially has two more years left in DeKalb, if he decides to forego the NFL Draft this spring. But if he is a productive blocker for the Huskies this season, he could draw the eyes of scouts and work his way up to a mid-round selection. Scharping is ideally built for a left tackle at 6-feet-6-inches tall and 320 pounds. He adds plenty of power to the Huskies' offensive line and possesses a valuable skill set that can boost Northern Illinois back to December or January for bowl season.