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2023 Northern Illinois Huskies Positional Previews: Special teams

The clutch John Richardson is gone, but there's still some intriguing talent in the specialists room in DeKalb.

2021 Cure Bowl - Northern Illinois v Coastal Carolina Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images


  • John Richardson (graduation)
  • Logan Jacobson (transfer to Missouri S&T [D-II])


  • Danny Vuckovic (incoming recruit)
  • Brian Kolodziejczyk (incoming recruit)
  • Jake Seibert (transfer from Ohio State)


  • Kanon Woodill
  • Tom Foley

NIU will have a tall task ahead to replace the outgoing John Richardson, whose clutch gene came into effect more than a handful of times in his tenure in DeKalb. At current, they have four placekickers who are looking to take the job.

The name to look out for is Jake Seibert, a transfer from Ohio State. The former number-two kicker in the country per 247Sports, Seibert accepted an offer to go to Columbus, finishing 16-of-16 on extra points and 1-of-1 on field goals in 2020 before getting buried on the depth chart over the next two seasons. Seibert will arrive in DeKalb with a point to prove at a job open for the taking. Kanon Woodill is the only other kicker with experience on the roster, going 3-of-3 on field goals and 11-of-11 on extra points in relief duties in 2021. Woodill has served as the backup in DeKalb since 2020, and will likely have the first chance at getting the starter job in fall camps.

The two true freshmen are Brian Kolodziejczyk and Danny Vuckovich. Kolodziejczyk reportedly has range from 55 yards in and 4+ seconds on hangtime on kickoffs, while Vuckovic is understood to be a confident and developing kicker with range from around 50 yards.

(A quick note regarding Kolodziejczyk: as of publication, he does not appear on the 2023 roster. However, he is committed as a Huskie on his Twitter account, which raises the possibility of a greyshirt or redshirt campaign.)

There’s only one punter on the roster, and that’s returnee Tom Foley.

Foley was a steady presence for NIU, averaging 40.9 yards per punt, with a long kick of 61 yards. Foley forced 19 fair catches, 13 inside-the-20 kicks and nine kicks of 50+ yards, compared to one touchback.

There could be some trouble if Foley goes down, as there’s no other established punter on the roster, and the four placekickers on roster have nominal at best punting experience. NIU did execute two pooch punts in 2022, but that’s generally not a plan for success if things go to pot. One wonders if NIU might bring in someone during fall camps in order to ensure there’s a backup option available.

This is the last in a series of NIU football previews. If you missed any of the previous parts, you can catch up on all of our preseason stories here.

Northern Illinois will kick off their season on Saturday, September 2nd at 12 p.m. Eastern time against ACC foe Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.