They say good things come to those who succeed. When it comes to Northern Illinois' recent run of domination on the gridiron, the on-field success certainly paid off in the recruiting process of 2015 Dakota High School (Macomb, Michigan) tight end Daniel Crawford.
"I was familiar with their success," Crawford told Hustle Belt. "I felt it was a perfect fit for me. I feel I can fit into their offense pretty well and I like the coaches a lot. Their facilities were top notch ... They match up with anybody. [NIU has] been having a lot of recent success, so what can be better than a winning program?"
The 6-foot-2, 234 pound tight end is an athletic grab for the Huskies' spread offense. NIU beat out fellow MAC teams Ball State, Buffalo and WMU—all of which offered Crawford before NIU—for his pledge. Crawford, who is receiving interest from a few Big 10 schools and says Cincinnati, Wake Forest and Stanford have shown some interest as well, was a bit surprised when the Huskies' offer came in.
"I was getting a haircut and ... the running backs coach messaged me on Twitter and told me he wanted me to call him as soon as possible," Crawford said. "So after I got out of the chair I called him and he said they had evaluated my film as a staff and saw enough and they wanted to offer me ...".
A big body that can move around and be used from multiple areas of the field, Crawford has the potential to be a big weapon for NIU. He has plus hands, and could actually see some time at the slot, where he'd be a matchup nightmare, with some work on route-running and speed. Crawford said the coaching staff has already expressed the idea of using him in a variety of roles in the Huskies' offense.
As far as an area where Crawford thinks he could stand to improve before his arrival in DeKalb in the fall of 2015, he pinpointed his blocking.
"I feel like blocking would be it, because a lot of people kind of underestimate my blocking, but I haven't really proved what I'm able to do with blocking. I feel like I have to step that game up and just show everybody that I'm able to do it all," he said.
Crawford will get a chance to prove that to scouts when he attends the "Sound Mind, Sound Body" camp this June in Detroit.
Looking for highlights? Check out his Hudl page for his complete junior season reel and more.