Jay Ducker, Dillon Thomas to transfer from NIU

The MAC Freshman of the Year and a veteran defensive player will seek out other opportunities following successful 2021 campaign.


Scott Walstrom | NIU Athletics

Freshman running back Jay Ducker carries the ball during the first half of NIUs 34-26 victory against the Bowling Green Falcons, Saturday in Dekalb.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Editor

DeKALB — NIU football lost two more players to the NCAA transfer portal following its 2021 campaign that ended in a Mid-American Conference title.

COVID-freshman running back Jay Ducker and redshirt junior defensive back Dillon Thomas have entered the transfer portal this week, just days after NIU’s loss to the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers in the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl on Friday.

Freshman of the Year on the move

After rushing for 146 yards against Coastal Carolina Friday, Ducker has decided to seek other opportunities, according to Max Olson of the Athletic.


Coming in from Bellevue, Nebraska, Ducker spent the entirety of 2020 sidelined with an injury sustained in the preseason. Ducker began a breakout 2021 campaign following an injury to freshman running back Harrison Waylee against Eastern Michigan University on Oct. 3.

Ducker rushed for 1,184 yards and three touchdowns on 218 carries in 2021, earning him Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year honors.

Defensive veteran plans to finish elsewhere

Thomas took to Twitter Saturday to announce his intent to transfer as a graduate transfer.

In five years as a Huskie, Thomas amassed 119 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. The Kansas City native will have one year of eligibility remaining going into the 2022 season.

Ducker and Thomas will join junior running back Erin Collins and sophomore quarterback Ryan Yost in the transfer portal as they look to depart from NIU.