Three Huskie football starters to enter transfer portal

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Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

View of the East side of Huskie Stadium Sept. 24, 2019 in DeKalb.

James Krause, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — Three redshirt senior football players, all starters last season, left the NIU program Monday in favor of entering the transfer portal.

Tight end Mitchell Brinkman and defensive tackle Jack Heflin declared their entering of the transfer portal via statements on Twitter. Offensive lineman Christopher Perez Jr. was reported to have entered the transfer portal by Rivals.com.

Brinkman’s statement centered around his appreciation for the relationships he fostered in his time with the program.

“I am beyond grateful for all the relationships I’ve built over the last four years here,” Brinkman said in a tweet Monday. “Thank you to all of the coaches I’ve had the pleasure of playing for, as well as the equipment, training and administrative staff. I’ve had some of the best teammates I could’ve ever asked for.”

Brinkman had a series of career-highs last season for the Huskies, playing all 12 games and pulling in 34 catches for 445 yards. Brinkman also added three touchdowns.

Heflin, the native of Prophetstown, Illinois, said in his statement the decision to transfer from NIU was a difficult one.

“To Huskie Nation, you will always hold a special place in my heart and I will cherish that forever,” Heflin said in a tweet Monday. “This has been one of the hardest decisions to make however, I have decided to enter the transfer portal.”

Dealing with a back injury for part of the season, Heflin was still able to manage good numbers in nine games. Heflin finished 2019 with three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Heflin’s efforts earned him an All-Mid-American Conference Second Team honor and honorable mention All-American honors from Pro Football Focus.

Perez transferred to NIU in 2018 from Butler Community College in Kansas. In two seasons, Perez appeared in 21 games, starting all but one.