Huskies losing two top defensive backs

NIU’s transfer portal count jumps to seven


Sophomore cornerback Eric Rogers (left) and junior cornerback Jordan Gandy play in NIU’s battle for the Mallory Cup against Miami University on Nov. 16 at Huskie Stadium. Rogers and Gandy announced their plans to leave the football program on Tuesday after spending three seasons at NIU.

DeKALB – Two starting cornerbacks are set to depart NIU football after sophomore Eric Rogers and junior Jordan Gandy announced their plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal on Tuesday.

Rogers and Gandy arrived at NIU before the 2020 season – Rogers as a freshman and Gandy as an incoming transfer. Both players contributed to the Huskies’ Mid-American Conference title-winning run last season.

From New Jersey to a new destination

Rogers joined NIU’s program after playing high school football at Burlington Township High School in Burlington, New Jersey. He redshirted his freshman season, playing in one game.  Rogers stepped into the starting role for the first five games of 2021 before going down with a season-ending injury against Eastern Michigan University on Oct. 2, 2021.

Sophomore cornerback Eric Rogers (12) intercepts a pass from Eastern Illinois University redshirt sophomore quarterback Jonah O’Brien in the second quarter of NIU’s season-opening game against the EIU Panthers on Sept. 1. (Ivan Meza)

Rogers made a splash in his first game action back from injury. He intercepted two passes from redshirt sophomore quarterback Jonah O’Brien during NIU’s season opener against Eastern Illinois University on Sept. 1. Rogers’ performance that week earned him MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors.

No interceptions went Rogers’ way after that game, ending his 2022 outing with a pair of interceptions, four pass breakups and 17 total tackles. Rogers started six of the 10 games he played in and did not see action during NIU’s back-to-back losses against the University of Kentucky on Sept. 24 and Ball State University on Oct. 1.

Rogers announced his plans to transfer out via posts on Twitter and Instagram on Tuesday.

DeKalb native taking talents elsewhere

Gandy, once a standout at DeKalb High School, transferred into NIU after spending his true freshman season playing for the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits.

Gandy quickly emerged as a rising performer in his first season at NIU. He led the Huskie defense with 41 tackles and eight passes defensed in 2020. Gandy logged his first interception as a Huskie during the second game of the season on Nov. 11, 2020, picking off Central Michigan University’s then-sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson.

Despite NIU’s unwinning record (0-6) that year, Gandy was named to the All-MAC Second Team.

Gandy’s 2021 season saw him start all of NIU’s 14 games, including the 2021 MAC Championship Game and the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl. He led NIU with ten pass breakups and also recovered two fumbles. One of those fumble recoveries was a botched snap Central Michigan during a late field goal attempt in a game on Oct. 23, 2021, sealing NIU’s 39-38 win.

Gandy started nine of the ten games he played in during the 2022 campaign. Like Rogers, Gandy did not play in the games against Kentucky and Ball State.

Gandy recorded his lone interception of the season during NIU’s season finale against the University of Akron Zips on Saturday.

NIU went on to suffer a blowout defeat to Akron, a team previously winless in MAC play. Gandy announced his intention to enter the NCAA transfer portal on Tuesday via posts on Twitter and Instagram.

With the departure of Gandy and the looming graduation of redshirt senior wide receiver Cole Tucker, freshman wide receiver Dane Pardridge will be the lone DeKalb native on NIU’s roster heading into the offseason.

Rogers and Gandy’s departures brings the number of NIU players to enter the transfer portal to seven. Sophomore running back Mason Blakemore was the first to do so, entering the portal on Sunday – one day after NIU ended its season at 3-9.

The transfer portal window will officially open on Dec. 5, the day after the championship teams are selected. The window will last for 45 days. Another transfer window will open from May 1 to May 15 after the conclusion of spring camps.