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.
|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.
- 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)