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2016 National Signing Day Recap: Northern Illinois Huskies

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Meet the future of Northern Illinois football as Coach Carey assembled yet another well-rounded class

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois saw themselves signing yet another well-rounded recruiting class. It seems that NIU has a knack for finding guys who fly under-the-radar for one reason or another. As you will see, the Huskies continued that trend with this 2016 recruiting class. Without any further adieu, here's Northern Illinois' 2016 recruiting class.

The Recruits

POS Name Hometown (HS) Height/Weight 247Sports Rating Highlights
TE Mitchell Brinkman Council Bluffs, IA (Lewis Central) 6'3/235 2-star Yes
DB Jalen Embry* Detroit, MI (Martin Luther King) 6'0/184 NR Yes
S Andrew Gregory Normal, IL (Normal Community) 6'2/197 2-star Yes
OL Ezekial Gueths Shawano, WI (Shawano) 6'5/250 NR Yes
DB Daniel Isom Saint Louis, MO (SLUH) 5'10/173 3-star Yes
WR Karon Keyes Lombard, IL (Glenbard East) 5'7/145 NR Yes
K/P Justin Knauf Rockford, IL (Boylan) 5'10/165 NR Yes
DT Ben LeRoy Wilmette, IL (Loyola Academy) 6'3/260 2-star Yes
LB Cory Lersch McHenry, IL (McHenry) 6'4/210 NR Yes
OL Benn Olson Burnsville, MN (Burnsville Senior) 6'5/265 2-star Yes
WR Andrew Parchment Fort, Lauderdale, FL (Cypress Bay) 6'3/180 3-star Yes
OL Brayden Patton Ellettsville, IN (Edgewood 6'5/240 2-star Yes
WR Jordan Robinson Miami, FL (Norland) 6'3/175 2-star Yes
RB Ivan Smith Homestead, FL (South Dade) 5'11/170 2-star Yes
QB Anthony Thompson Chicago, IL (Mt. Carmel) 6'1/195 2-star Yes
T/DT Austin Warner Oswego, IL (Oswego) 6'4/285 2-star Yes
QB Marcus Childers Adairsville, GA (Adairsville) 6'0/212 2-star Yes
DE Alton Meeks Orlando, FL (Dr. Phillips) 6'2/241 2-star Yes
RB Antonio Cannon Oak Park, IL (OPRF) 5'9/175 NR Yes
DE Jack Heflin Prophetstown, IL (Erie-Prophetstown) 6'3/245 NR Yes
S Lance Deveaux Jr. Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas) 6'0/190 NR Yes
WR Ryan Gibbons Park Ridge, IL (Maine South) 5'11/175 NR Yes

* denotes JUCO player

Impact Offensive Players

Wide receiver Andrew Parchment is a potential impact player out of Florida. Parchment looks to be yet another big-time signee out of the state of Florida, a perennial recruiting hotbed for the Huskies. Parchment was originally committed to Cincinnati before signing with the Huskies.

NIU signed two quarterbacks this recruiting cycle and both are extremely talented. Anthony Thompson is a dual-threat quarterback who is a better rusher than passer. However, Thompson is elusive under pressure and has the ability to throw on the run. The other quarterback in this class is Marcus Childers who was originally a greyshirt at Memphis in 2014. Childers reportedly transferred out once Memphis lost its head coach and is already enrolled in classes at NIU. In an interview with the Daily Tribune, Childers stated that his "first goal is to start next fall."

One under-the-radar player to look out for is 6-foot-3 wide receiver Jordan Robinson. Robinson seems to have an innate ability to catch the ball in the red zone and could develop into a red-zone target sooner rather than later.

RB Ivan Smith is extremely quick and will be a problem for opposing defenses for years to come. With just two other offers, Smith could be yet another steal for the Huskies. With Bouagnon entrenched at starter, it may a year or two before we see Smith get a chance at starting however that doesn't mean he won't make an impact. Smith is so explosive that I wouldn't be surprised to see him return some kick offs as a freshman.

Impact Defensive Players

Defensive back Jalen Embry is one player to watch as he played at Iowa for a season before transferring to Iowa Central CC. Embry's addition could give the Huskies one of the best secondaries in the MAC.

However, Embry was not the only potential impact transfer in this recruiting class. Defensive end Alton Meeks also joins the fold as a mid-year transfer. Meeks originally signed with Iowa State out of high school before transferring after one season. Meeks found himself at Iowa Western CC and will now suit up in DeKalb. He was ranked a 3-star recruit coming out of high school by Rivals and reported offers from P5 programs such as Arizona State, Duke, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, NC State, Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest. NIU could definitely use his talent as top pass rusher Perez Ford has graduated. With that said, the window of opportunity for Meeks to earn immediate playing time is definitely there.

One true freshman to look out for is DT Ben LeRoy. LeRoy led his Loyola Ramblers to a 8A Illinois State title this past season on NIU's home field and was a star in that game. Look for him to continue his winning ways while in DeKalb. LeRoy went pretty under-the-radar throughout the recruiting process which wound up working in NIU's favor as he has a lot of potential.

Fun Facts

  • DB Jalen Embry held 3 B1G offers coming out of high school (Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois)
  • QB Anthony Thompson attends the same high school as 2013 Heisman trophy finalist Jordan Lynch.
  • This is the 2nd straight year that a MAC school has signed a wide receiver who was at one time committed to Cincinnati. (2016: NIU, WR Andrew Parchment. 2015: Miami, WR James Gardner)