NIU football spring camp notebook: Receivers dominate, new injuries popping up and more

By Frank Gogola

Junior wide receiver Aregeros Turner and the receiver corps stole the show during football’s spring practice Friday inside the Chessick Practice Center.

The 5-foot-11, 173-pound wideout caught nearly everything thrown his way during 7-on-7s and the live scrimmage Friday. The team practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

“I’m feeling really good right now,” Turner said after Friday’s practice. “The offense is not playing at the best level, but we’re getting better every day. We’re still a couple receivers down. They really just need somebody to step in and make plays, and I’m just glad they call on me to make those plays.

During 7-on-7s Turner caught a pair of slants – one from lining up on each side of the field – with redshirt senior cornerback Paris Logan draped all over him. Among his other catches that got the offense cheering, he hauled in a 25-yard over-the-shoulder pass down the right sideline from redshirt junior quarterback Drew Hare during 11-on-11s.

Kevin Tennenbaum, redshirt senior tight end, made a pair of catches during the live scrimmage that even got the defense on their feet. He made a diving catch over the middle, and on the next play he caught a deep ball down the left sideline right before going out of bounds.

New injuries and illnesses

Among the players missing from spring practice on Friday were redshirt senior wide receiver Juwan Brescacin, junior tailback Joel Bouagnon, redshirt sophomore tailback Jordan Huff and redshirt senior linebacker Rasheen Lemon.

Brescacin and Bouagnon had knee injuries and had surgery last week, Carey said. Brescacin had surgery on March 19, and Bouagnon underwent surgery on March 20. Carey said the surgeries went well and the doctors told him it would be four to six weeks before Brescacin and Bouagnon could start training.

Huff has been out of spring practice with mono, Carey said. As for when Huff will return, Carey said, “With mono I don’t think anybody knows.”

“You gotta like lay low and get better,” Carey said. “It’s like a big-time deal.”

Lemon has sat out spring practice and has been wearing a walking boot on his left foot for about a month, Carey said. He said Lemon’s wearing the boot as a precautionary measure because of a foot injury and should be out of the boot soon.

Corey Thomas, redshirt junior defensive tackle, was not dressed.

Players returning from injuries

Wide receivers Tommylee Lewis (left foot), Chad Beebe (broken left arm) and Ezra Saffold (shoulder) have been back practicing in a limited capacity with the team. All three of them were wearing green jerseys Friday to avoid contact and re-injuring anything.

Redshirt junior tailback Keith Harris Jr., who’s played in nine games over the last two seasons because of injuries, took reps with the first-team offense.

Carey said he would put Lewis, Beebe and Harris at 95 percent healthy. He said Saffold, who had shoulder surgery in December before the bowl game, wasn’t expected to even practice during spring camp but has looked “really, really well” during practice.


Hare took all the first team snaps during 7-on-7s and the live scrimmage. Redshirt junior Anthony Maddie, redshirt senior Matt McIntosh and redshirt freshman Ryan Graham split the second-team reps throughout the practice.

McIntosh, who moved from quarterback to the secondary last season, has practiced with the quarterbacks during spring camp. Whether he’ll stay with the quarterbacks or move back to defense for the fall is to be determined, Carey said.

Offensive line

The first-team offensive line during Friday practice looked as follows: Left tackle Levon Myers, left guard Aidan Conlon, center Andrew Ness, right guard Josh Ruka and right tackle Lincoln Howard. Conlon and Ness are returning starters from last season. Myers, Ruka and Howard were part of the Huskies’ eight-player rotation last season and look to be the starters for the three linemen lost to graduation.