Football signs 22 players for upcoming season

By Tom Burton

DeKALB — The football program announced Wednesday it has brought in 22 recruits to join the 2017-18 roster. Head Coach Rod Carey recruited 20 of 22 players from the Midwest and 10 from Illinois schools.

Wide receiver Cole Tucker, of DeKalb High School, was the first commitment from this recruiting class and among the 10 players from Illinois.

Carey said he was excited to bring in a player with his football skill-set from a local program in DeKalb. Carey said he complimented Tucker and his family for the great people they are and the potential Tucker has.

“[Tucker] really set the tone for this entire [recruiting] class,” Carey said. “We couldn’t be more excited about his abilities and what he brings to the program.”

The Huskies lost two quarterbacks to graduation: Anthony Maddie and Drew Hare. This leaves junior quarterback Ryan Graham and freshman quarterback Daniel Santacaterina to take over, but the Huskies added the top quarterback recruit out of the state of Michigan, Rodney Hall.

If Graham does not perform and Santacaterina cannot replicate his 2016 season, the team now has two-star quarterback Hall, who played at Cass Tech High School in Detroit. Hall went 14-0 as the starting quarterback in his senior season and hopes to develop quickly.

“We couldn’t be happier with [Hall] as a football player and the way he has already asserted himself as a leader,” Carey said. “We are really excited for his future with this program.”

Carey was unsure of Hall’s chances of stepping into the starting quarterback role immediately.

“[Hall] possesses all of the skill-sets that we love our quarterbacks to have,” Carey said. “Players raise [their skill-sets] by need or by ability so I don’t know who is going to be on the field yet.”

One player who will not be on the field for the Huskies is three-star linebacker Nate Wieland, who signed with the University of Iowa after verbally committing to the Huskies.

Wieland posted a statement on his Twitter, @NateWieland, with the decision to de-commit and thanked NIU’s organization for its consideration.

“I really want to say thank you to the whole Northern Illinois coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play for their program,” Wieland said. “After talking it over with my family, I have decided it’s best I de-commit and open up my recruitment. I hope everyone at NIU understands. Thank you.”

With the loss of Wieland, the Huskies were ranked fifth in the Mid-American Conference in their recruiting this year.

Although this is a proud program and the organization aspires to be ranked higher,

Carey spoke highly of his recruiting staff and is satisfied with the job they did this year in recruiting.

“You’re not recruiting stars, you’re recruiting individuals,” Carey said. “I can’t say enough about our recruiting staff and the job that they have done.”

The Huskies will begin their season with non-conference play in September.