Golladay making immediate impact

By Thomas Hiley

Junior wide receiver Kenny Golladay took a big risk when he made the decision to redshirt for NIU after two successful years of Division I college football, but he’s already putting up big numbers through just four games with the Huskies.

Golladay is new to the field for NIU, and is the leading receiver this season with 383 yards on 22 receptions and two touchdowns. He was redshirted last season after transferring from the University of North Dakota, and has become an often-targeted receiver for junior quarterback Drew Hare.

Golladay caught 99 passes for 1,313 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons at North Dakota. He broke out for a record-setting performance in 2013, catching a North Dakota-record 16 catches and four touchdowns in a contest against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.

Hailing from Chicago, Golladay said one of his reasons for transferring to NIU was to be closer to home because there’s “no better feeling then having your family watch you play.”

In addition to his desire to be closer to home, Golladay said he felt he wasn’t receiving recognition for his accomplishments at North Dakota.

“I felt like with my talents I could play for a higher division,” Golladay said. “I weighed my options and chose Northern Illinois.”

When Golladay finally made his decision to transfer, he had to sit out for the 2014-15 season because of NCAA rules. The rules state transfer-student-athletes must take a year off in order to perform better in their studies and to better adapt to the environment of being at a new school. Because of those regulations, Golladay had to sit back and watch his team play from the sidelines. Golladay said he looked at having to sit on the bench in a positive way

“I had to stay focused and remember what my ultimate goal was, which is making it to the league,” Golladay said. “I felt with me sitting out that year, it made me better understand the playbook instead of just coming in and learning on the fly.”

Golladay has already shown flashes of what he can bring to the team this season. In just his first game of 2015, he caught nine passes for 213 yards, winning MAC West Player of the Week and gaining more receiving yards than any player in the country. In his very next game, he caught eight balls for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Murray State.

The Huskies look to get back to winning after losing back-to-back games to the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Boston College Eagles. NIU will finish its three-week road stretch this weekend as it begins conference play against Central Michigan (1-3, MAC 0-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Mich.