Senior quarterback looks to lead Huskies

By Patrick Smith

DeKALB | Football(1-5, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) has endured its worse five game start to the season since 2007 when they began the season 1-4. This puts the Huskies bowl game bid in jeopardy, but the ray of hope for reaching a bowl game lies in the hands of redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Maddie.

Maddie is from Plainfield and went to Aurora Christian High School where he guided his team to a state title in 2009. When Maddie was a senior in high school, he passed for 3,799 yards and 52 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,117 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, earning him All-State honors and a state title game most valuable player award in 2011.

Maddie’s high school resume earned him a scholarship to play for the Western Michigan University Broncos, but after his freshman year, he decided to transfer to NIU.

“My coaches at Western Michigan were fired after my freshman year,” Maddie said. “So I felt like NIU was the right decision.”

Maddie’s transition to NIU as a quarterback didn’t quite go as planned at first.

In 2013, he had to sit out the first full year because NCAA rules don’t allow a transfer student-athlete to play right away unless there are outlandish circumstances, according to the NCAA website.

Maddie lost the quarterback battle to redshirt senior quarterback Drew Hare, and as a result was asked to switch to a wide receiver by Head Coach Rod Carey.

“[Coach Carey and I] talked, and we wanted to figure out a way to get me on the field, if possible,” Maddie said. “We sat down tried to figure out how we can get me some playing time since this is my last year.”

The transition was difficult at first for Maddie, especially because the training was much different, but the necessary adjustments were made and he felt confident in his athletic ability to succeed at the position.

“It was tough [at first],” Maddie said. “You see the game a lot differently. It’s a lot more running and it’s a different type of shape you have to get into. My first couple of days as a receiver in practice I was dead tired; the receivers and coaching staff really helped me adjust.”

After working the fall camps with the mental preparation of a wide receiver, Maddie got his first career start at quarterback Oct. 1 against Ball State University in a 31-24 victory, the Huskies first on the season. Maddie received the starting nod after Hare went down with a season ending leg and ankle injury Sept. 10 against University of South Florida and redshirt sophomore quarterback Ryan Graham was unable to produce well enough. Maddie played in the second half against in-state rival Western Illinois University.

The Huskies ultimately lost that game, however, Maddie sparked the offense and put the Huskies in position to win the game on two separate occassions at the goal line.

“It was great,” Maddie said. “Obviously we didn’t start off the season the way we wanted it to, but it was great that we pulled through and were able to get that first win. The locker room after a win is one of the greatest feelings.”

The Huskies are 1-5 on the season, but Maddie said they still have a shot at winning the MAC.

“What really matters is your conference,” Maddie said. “We told ourselves coming into the Ball State game ‘it’s a new season,’ and that’s how we look at it week-in and week-out.”