Huskies might get Barb place-kicker

By Tom Clegg

Another DeKalb High School kicker might wear the cardinal and black of NIU in 1988.

Like former Barb star Vince Scott before him, all-conference place-kicker Jay Barresi could take the short hike between DeKalb campuses according to DHS coach Tim Holt.

Barresi, a Rockford all-area honoree, made 7 of 8 extra points, 8 of 19 field goals (he had three blocked and three snaps from center mishandled, Holt said) and a 36.9 yard punting average his senior year.

Of Barresi’s eight FG’s, the shortest was 30 yards with a long of 53 yards, fifth-best in state history. Holt said his star pupil also missed a 55-yarder that fell “about a yard short.”

NIU recruiting coordinator Russ Graham said the Huskies are looking for a strong-legged place-kicker. Barressi, whose 12 career FG’s rank him near the top in IHSA record books, seems to fit perfectly with the Huskies’ needs.

“NIU is looking at him for kicking off,” Holt said. “Eight of his first nine kickoffs this year reached the end zone.”

Seven recruits dropped by the Huskie den recently according to Graham. Holt said Baressi visited NIU last weekend and also is planning visits to Indiana and Western Michigan.

Graham said NIU is concentrating mainly on finding a quarterback to run the wishbone offense when Marshall Taylor graduates after next fall. Barresi would not be considered for that position by the Huskies though he played QB for DeKalb, Holt said.

Graham expressed enthusiasm over the NIU recruiting efforts thus far, indicating this year’s crop of freshman could include several more blue-chippers than amounts in the past.

Last year, we got 13 of the top 100 players in the state,” Graham said. “This year we feel we can get 13 of the top 50 players.”

Though NIU scouts have visited high schools as far away as Texas, the Chicago area remains the focus of Huskie recruiting efforts.

“We feel there’s a lot of great skill in Chicago,” Graham said. “Our reception in the city is outstanding now. Playing on national TV helped us. People were shocked to see the kind of football we play.”

The Huskies took advantage of their exposure Nov. 28 on ESPN by jumping to a 31-10 lead against Nevada-Las Vegas. NIU held on for a 34-31 win thanks to John Ivanic’s late field goal.

“Our bread and butter is in Chicago,” Graham said. “We have a good network of people built up who help and trust us.”

Graham said NIU is competing with several Big 10 schools for local talent including Minnesota and Wisconsin, who run option-type offenses similar to the Huskies’ wishbone. Graham said Northwestern also has been after players in whom NIU has shown interest.

“We’re battling head-to-head with Northwestern. Tying them really helped,” Graham said, referring to the 16-16 standoff at NU Sept. 16. “They’re tough competition because we both want good student athletes.”