Scott Walstrom | NIU Athletics
DeKALB — Head football coach Thomas Hammock and COVID-freshman running back Jay Ducker received conference honors from the Mid-American Conference Wednesday for their 2021 efforts.
Hammock was named MAC Coach of the Year after improving the Huskies record from 0-6 last season to 8-4 this year. Hammock led NIU to their eight MAC West title in 12 seasons and his first since taking command of the program in 2019.
Ducker was named MAC Freshman of the Year for his rushing efforts in 2021. Replacing redshirt freshman running back Harrison Waylee midway through the season, Ducker rushed for 892 yards and three touchdowns.
The breakout performance for the Bellevue, Neb. native was against Bowling Green State University on Oct. 16.
Another freshman, safety CJ Brown, was named to the All-MAC First Team after leading the Huskies with 94 tackles.
Three NIU players were named to the All-MAC Second Team, all on the offensive side of the ball. Redshirt senior center Brayden Patton and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Nolan Potter represent the Huskies on the offensive line while COVID-freshman wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph was named to the Second Team as both a receiver and a kick returner.
Redshirt senior running back Clint Ratkovich earned Third Team honors with redshirt freshman offensive lineman Logan Zschernitz on the offense. Ratkovich scored a team leading 13 touchdowns.
Redshirt senior linebacker Lance Deveaux, redshirt freshman defensive tackle James Ester and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jordan Gandy made up the group of three Huskie defenders on the Third Team.
The Huskies look to complete a transformational season at 11 a.m. CT Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit when they face the Kent State University Golden Flashes for the MAC Championship on ESPN.