Two Huskies declare for 2023 NFL Draft

Thornton and Kennedy elect to go pro


DeKALB – The first two players from NIU football’s 2022 squad have announced their intentions to go pro after senior wide receiver Shemar Thornton and redshirt senior defensive end Michael Kennedy declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on Tuesday via social media posts.

Thornton played one season at NIU after transferring in over the offseason. He caught 30 passes as a Huskie, recording 327 receiving yards. Thornton also completed two passes for successful two-point conversion attempts.

Thornton did not catch a touchdown in 2022, but he did pass for one against the then-No. 8 ranked University of Kentucky on Sept. 24. He found redshirt sophomore tight end Tristen Tewes in the end zone for a three-yard connection to tie the game with six seconds before halftime.

Prior to NIU, Thornton spent five seasons with the Florida International University Golden Panthers.

The veteran wideout finished his six-year college playing career, at NIU and FIU, with 102 receptions for 1,303 yards and nine touchdowns.

Kennedy joined NIU in 2017, redshirting his freshman season with the team. He later contributed to NIU’s Mid-American Conference title-winning seasons in 2018 and 2021.

Kennedy ended his collegiate career having played in 52 games over five seasons. He logged 105 total tackles. Kennedy also had 17.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and two passes defensed.

The 2023 NFL Draft will be held from April 27 to April 29 at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.