Players stride toward NFL

By Matt Stacionis

Sports Editor

Justin McCareins and Ryan Diem continue to inch closer to their NFL hopes.

They also have a chance to raise their draft status when the duo travels to Indianapolis, Ind., for the NFL Combine. Diem also will play in the Senior Bowl this Saturday, which will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“That’s tremendous exposure for Ryan and Justin to get invited to the NFL Combine,” said NIU head coach Joe Novak. “First, it’s a reflection of their outstanding abilities, and it probably means that both have a good shot at being drafted. From our program’s standpoint, it demonstrates that a mid-level major program can produce this type of player. With talent and hard work, you can maximize your chances — even at Northern Illinois.”

The Combine tests prospective draftees’ abilities, skills and speed in a set of exercises. Cliff Brady will represent both of the former Huskies in their professional careers. Both Diem and McCareins were named to the Football News All-American Units. Diem was a Third-Team pick, while McCareins was selected as an honorable mention.

The duo also played on the Huskies offense that finished as the highest scoring unit in school history and was ranked No.11 in the country. The NFL Draft will take place April 21-22 in New York, N.Y.