NIU leading receiver Trayvon Rudolph out for 2022

Huskies’ top receiver in 2021 sidelined with knee injury

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Courtesy of Nick LoVerde

Then-COVID-freshman wide reciever Trayvon Rudolph rushes past defenders on his way to a 75-yard touchdown run in NIU’s 33-27 victory over Buffalo on Nov. 17. Rudolph led all NIU receivers in 2021 with 51 receptions for 892 receiving yards.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Editor

DeKALB — NIU will be without its top receiving threat this season after sophomore wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph sustained a season-ending non-contact knee injury during preseason practices last week.

News of Rudolph’s injury was first reported Friday in a tweet by Matt Fortuna of The Athletic.

NIU’s wide receiver corps may now look to one of its new arrivals to pick up where Rudolph left off. Junior Kacper Rutkiewicz, a transfer from Illinois State University, has seen increased practice time and taken first-team reps running sweeps — one of Rudolph’s specialties last season.

Senior Shemar Thornton offers experience to the Huskies after spending five years at Florida International University before arriving at NIU this offseason. The Huskies may also elect to bring one of its younger players into the mix as freshman Jalen Johnson has gotten reps with the first-team.

Rudolph played all 14 games in NIU’s run for the Mid-American Conference title in 2021, catching 51 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns. His 2021 campaign included a 309-yard, three touchdown performance in NIU’s 52-47 loss against Kent State University on Nov. 3.

His performance last season earned him MAC honors, being named to the All-MAC second team as a wide receiver and kick returner. The former walk-on was also selected to the preseason watch list for the 2022 Biletnikoff Award. The award recognizes each year’s most outstanding receiver in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

NIU will have just under three weeks to make the proper adjustments before its season opener against Eastern Illinois University Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.